The OnLive game console is one of the first ever to utilize "cloud computing" technology which is basically the storage and access of applications on the internet rather than on local computer storage. In the case of the OnLive gaming system, neither the required games nor hardware are stored in the system itself; rather, the games are stored and played on powerful remote servers. The primary purpose of the game console is to connect to the remote servers. When the game console connects to server via broadband (and ONLY broadband) internet, a video feed is streamed back to the gamer's television and user input from the game controller are relayed back to the server in real-time. In order to ward off the obvious potential for lag, the OnLive internet service uses five data centers spread throughout the U.S so that OnLive gamers will connect to the data center nearest to them thereby delivering optimal latency performance.
Despite the fact that the OnLive MicroConsole will not ship for about a week or so (Dec. 2nd), Intrigued readers may be delighted to learn that the OnLive gaming service has been up and running for quite some time now; in fact, the service has been operating since July 2010 for gamers with a PC or Mac. That's right! You can try out the service on your computer as well as a number of mobile devices including the ipad and smart phones. Currently, their catalog of games is comprised of some 40 titles such as FEAR 2, Tom Clancey's Splinter Cell Conviction, Assasins Creed II, Dirt 2, and Unreal Tournament III. According to the system requirements listed on thier website, the most you'll need is a computer capable of playing video and a 3mb/sec internet connection (5mb/sec for 720p HD video) to play. There is no charge to create an account and play demos on the OnLive service, but in order to play the full version of games users can either opt to pay for a "playpass" per game or pay a flat subscription rate for an all-you-can-play type deal. Pre-orders for the game system can only be placed via their webstore. As a side-note, WiFi is currently supported on PC's and Mac's; however, their will not be a WiFi feature on the OnLive Game System when it is released so an Ethernet connection will be required or at least one with some kind of bridge attached. Also, the OnLive Game System only supports HDTV connections such as HDMI, DVI, and component.
Despite initial restrictions on membership during the service's launch, OnLive is now open to all broadband internet subscribers including those subscribed to any southwest Florida ISP.