Online game streaming service OnLive will launch in the US on June 17th, representing a significant potential threat to the current gaming hardware and software market.
The game content streams directly to the PC or Mac, removing the need for a box product or a full download. Crucially for the PC hardware market, it also doesn’t require the type of high-end hardware the games would otherwise need on-board the users machine, as the actual processing is done at the other end.
The service is also going to be available on TVs through the OnLive MicroConsole –which parks the firm’s tanks firmly on the lawns of Xbox 360 and PS3.
The games can be bought outright or rented. Key games publishers such as EA, Ubisoft and Take-Two have backed the programme, presumably attracted by the extra revenue opportunities a digital rental service offers.
The technology has the potential to significantly widen the amount of PC and Mac users able to play the latest games – though hardware vendors, which make a lot of money out of the PC gaming community, may be less enthusiastic about any technology which reduces the need for high-end graphics cards and CPUs.
"The OnLive Game Service creates a new opportunity for consumers to play the latest games without spending hundreds of dollars on a hardware system to make it happen," said Mike McGarvey, COO of OnLive. "As a Mac user myself, I’m excited about the opportunity to help bring high-end gaming to this new and significant market."