Speaking of streaming games, OnLive wants to implement that cloud gaming solution. 720p resolution at 60 FPS — hey, that’s really similar to what Dyack was saying would be possible, huh? I think some people are going to be disappointed, since there’s not much OnLive can do about intermediary network problems, but we’ll see.
This leaves the question of cost. I’m wondering about the cloud computing resources OnLive plans on using. Barring substantial rewrites, the cloud would need to have either high end video cards or something capable of a really good emulation, right? Maybe some custom hardware to provide banks of nVidia/ATI processors? You wouldn’t run this on a standard cloud, because a standard cloud doesn’t provide really good DirectX capacity.
I can’t really speculate honestly because they don’t talk about their pricing model at all. If they charge a buck an hour, then they’re making enough per year ($8,760) to pay for a single desktop-class computer outright. Assume hosting is another couple hundred bucks a month? I don’t know, because I don’t know what their hardware is. Add on headcount for ops, headcount for everything else, a percentage for the game publishers. I don’t think that really adds up well even if you amortize it out over three years. I’m also simplifying, because the majority of computer equivalents won’t be in use 24/7.
$20/month for an all you can eat subscription? There are 720 hours in a month. Say we’re targeting an average of $2/hour for hours played. The average usage for this ought to be higher than 10 hours a month. You’re selling convenience, after all.
$10 for 24 hours in realtime with one game? That’s not going to fly with consumers.
Whoops, I speculated after all. It’s an intriguing question. Steve Perlman has a decent track record, so I can’t assume this is just a publicity bubble. He does seem to be the kind of guy who’ll spend as long as it takes to polish a product. We may be waiting longer than Winter 2009 to see this sucker.