The iPad, and previously the iPhone, have fast become the biggest mobile gaming platform in the world, with millions of people downloading simple apps like Angry Birds to their devices to play on the move. Now, though, there is a new kid on the block, and it’s going to blow Angry Birds out of the metaphorical water.
The OnLive service launched in both the US and UK for Macs and PCs a few months ago, and it has changed the way a lot of people play games completely. The system allows you to play a high-definition game on any machine, whether it’s a £200 netbook running Windows Vista or a high-end gaming PC designed specifically for producing the best the graphics. What computer you use won’t actually make any difference to how the game looks, because the entire game is streamed to you from the OnLive servers.
When you input controls, they are beamed to the server farm, which works out what you want to do and instantly beams back the visual reaction to what you have done, with every part of the computing taking place in the server. All your computer needs is an internet connection and you can play any kind of game you want at the highest quality available. And it works. Exciting, eh?
Now, though, things are getting even more interesting. While you can already play OnLive on your Mac, and buy a wireless controller for the device if you want a more traditional gaming experience, you could previously only observe games if you use the free OnLive app for iPad. Flicking between the games that other users are play and watching their progress live was increidbly impressive, but what we really wanted was to be able to play these games on the iPad, right?
Right – and the OnLive people have finally managed to do it. Check out this video, taken at E3 this year, shows an early demo of Batman: Arkham Asylum being played on an iPad, using a wireless controller. The app will be launching as soon as Apple approve it to the app store, and will include a whole selection of games that are playable with taps and swipes on the screen. At launch, there are three titles with Native Touch controls (one of which is the recent Rockstar title, LA Noire), which have been specifically designed to work with the iPad as if the game was built for Apple’s tablet.
There will be a controller launching for the service very soon (£39.99 and $49.99 in the UK and US respectively) that will allow you to connect not only to your iPad but also to your Mac through bluetooth. You can play around 25 titles using touch controls on your iPad, but connecting a controller will unlock the full library of over 200 games currently available through OnLive. What’s really exciting is the potential here – with a MicroConsole and an iPad, you could display two different views of the same game, which could add a whole new dimension to gaming in the same way that AirPlay mirroring has with Apple TV and some iOS titles.
There’s also some great news for those in the US – OnLive have also been working on the service over 4G LTE networks with AT&T and Verizon, so you can play anywhere. Those who download the free OnLive Player app from the app store when it goes live will get a free copy of Lego Batman to test out the controls, and can test out other games for 30 minutes at no cost. So what are you waiting for – go get it now!
If you’re in the UK, you might also be interested to hear that BT is offering its home broadband customers an exclusive opportunity to get the OnLive PlayPack free for three months when they register online at bt.com/onlive before January 31 2012.