Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tom's Hardware review of OnLive

Tom's Hardware review: OnLive Cloud-Based Gaming: Is This the End of High-End PCs?
Interesting review, but the assumption in the article's title is already fundamentally flawed: high end PC gaming is already nearing it's end and it has nothing to do with cloud gaming, but everything with consoles. The article's conclusion is that OnLive doesn't come close to displace a high-end PC in gaming, but what the author seems to forget is that game publishers - not PC gamers - will ultimately decide if cloud gaming will succeed and they also have the power to kill off high-end PC gaming in no time (as they have been doing for the last 5 years).

Gone are the days when I was eagerly anticipating cutting-edge PC games like Doom III (before the name change to Doom 3), Half-Life 2 and Unreal 2. That was about 8 years ago. The last PC game worthy of being called cutting-edge was Crysis and that came out 3 years ago. Consoles have become the main focus of id Software, Epic games and now also Crytek. For a graphics enthusiast like myself, this is a very unfortunate trend, all dictated by economical laws.

So in essence, high-end PC gaming is already dead. Crysis still beats every other PC game (ported from consoles) in advanced effects. Cranking up resolution, AA, and AF settings in Modern Warfare 2 will not change the poor lighting and shadowing. I can't wait until the consoles, aka the high-end PC gaming killers, will be made obsolete themselves by cloud gaming. Considering the enthusiasm of game publishers and developers for the cloud (e.g. Crytek is a big proponent of server side rendering cfr. Yerli's presentation at HPG 2010), this might happen much sooner than thought, just like stereoscopic 3D is taking console gaming by storm.

UPDATE: CNET also has an excellent review of OnLive up, with an analysis of the benefits of cloud gaming for all actors in the playing field http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20009033-1.html

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