updated 02:55 pm EDT, Tue March 24, 2009
OnLive cloud games console
The OnLive gaming console concept has been billed today by its founders, former Atari employee Steve Perlmann and one-time Eidos worker Mike McGarvey, as the future of gaming. The idea focuses on a very small gaming console that has no built-in hardware processing and would be less costly than Nintendo's Wii. What's more, it would be future-proof, letting users play newer games without requiring any upgrades. Instead, the OnLive console would need to connect to the Internet and access gaming data from a remote server via the OnLive service.
The console would have no optical drive, and simply need to receive the streamed gaming images and commands from the controller. If new games required added software or hardware, OnLive would make the necessary changes on its own infrastructure. Whether the cost of such upgrades will be passed on to the end consumer is unknown.
The idea is said to appeal to game developers as well, as it would both eliminate the need for a reseller as well as prevent piracy and reduce the amount of games being resold.
OnLive faces multiple challenges, particularly in delivering content quickly enough to gamers so that they don't endure long load times. OnLive says it will use the latest compression codecs to minimize lag, though the end quality hasn't been explained.
There are no immediate mentions of particular release dates or prices; OnLive's website is itself still under construction. However, the design is now in an internal beta phase with plans to introduce it in the US later this year. [via T3]