Ah, OnLive. This company is trying to bring streaming gaming to the mainstream, and has has just announced a pretty significant partnership with Vizio, the US’ largest LCD TV seller. Vizo TVs, smartphones, tablets, and Blu-Ray players will all come equipped, out of the box, with OnLive’s streaming service.
I have (old-photo alert) a Vizio LCD TV (one of the few in Europe, probably), and despite all the fancy new stuff I see in stores these days, this TV from 2007 still beats many of the cheaper TVs sold today. Especially its sharpness and upscaling performance is something I simply don’t see in other TVs these days, except, of course, when you plonk down some hard cash. Vizio offers very good quality for its price range, and I must say, I can’t wait until these American guys come shake up the European market. I’m holding off on a TV purchase just in case (I want a bigger one than my current 32″ Vizio) – I’m too satisfied with Vizio to switch to another brand.
Still, the company wants more than just the low-end of LCD TVs, and has been expanding rather aggressively. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, they announced a 4″ smartphone and a 8″ tablet, both running Android. These devices of course integrate nicely with Vizio’s other hardware, in including things like a remote control for your A/V-equipment.
Vizio TVs, Blu-Ray players, smartphones, and tablets will also come with something called VIA Plus, which is powered by Google Tv, and allows for seamless integration between all your Vizio devices, including pausing something on your TV, only to resume it on your tablet of smartphone later on. Part of VIA Plus will be OnLive’s streaming gaming service.
“Just as you can enjoy services such as Netflix and Pandora across virtually all consumer electronic devices, you’ll also be able to enjoy OnLive everywhere,” the OnLive blog states, “The OnLive game experience is generated in the cloud, so as a device ages, the OnLive experience remains state-of-the-art. This is extremely important for long life-cycle devices like TVs: For example, in 5 years, your OnLive-integrated VIZIO TV will still be compatible with the latest, highest-performance games.”
The first reviews of the OnLive micro console were rather positive, noting, obviously, that you do need a decent internet connection. Having technology like this integrated into all your devices – no matter their size – is a major boon for OnLive, and of course, a validation of their concept.
As a gamer myself, I’ll probably stick with old-fashioned consoles for now, but it’s good to see new technology like this getting an honest chance in the market place. Even if OnLive gets games a few months after ‘real’ consoles, more casual gamers, or gamers with a tighter wallet, will still benefit greatly from the service. And the more people playing games, the better games we’ll get.