Yesterday at GDC the OnLive service was announced. Basically, this service takes input from your controller be it a gamepad or keyboard/mouse renders the next frame of the game on the OnLive servers and sends the video back to you of you playing. According to CEO Steve Perlman (creator of Quicktime) the new video compression system they’ve developed has a delay of only 1 millisecond so to the user the inputs feel instant. The user will connect to OnLive either by downloading a browser plugin on their PC or Mac, or hooking up the micro-console (pictured above) to their TV. With a required connection speed of 1.5MB for SD and 5MB for HD the service should already be doable with today’s cable providers, though for those of us with bandwidth caps it sounds like this will be able to chew through those with ease.
On Gizmodo today they have a video of the press conference as well as examples of it in action. By action I mean a Dell mini 9 notebook playing Crysis. If this OnLive thing actually works like it says it will the landscape of videogames is going to change forever. I can’t imagine that hardware manufacturers will like this.