So Onlive has finally arrived in the UK and I was lucky enough to have been at Eurogamer last weekend and received a Micro Console for free, which retails at Onlive UK for £69.99.
So what do you get in the box? Well, a controller, Micro Console, USB Charging Cable, Ethernet Cable, Duracell Batteries, Rechargeable Battery Pack and an HDMI cable.
The console itself has two USB ports, Ethernet port, HDMI, Optical out, AV out and an earphone socket.
So my first impressions were very positive. Although it is a small box, it has everything you need, it will also support WiFi via the use of a Bridge if needed.
Once everything was plugged in it booted up pretty quickly, I signed in and waited with baited breath to log on, it took maybe 30 seconds to 1 minute to log into the servers, once it got a connection it was onto the dashboard.
The interface is pretty slick, everything is accessed via a central menu, which is easy to navigate and is pretty quick moving from one menu to another, the next question was what to try?
I decided that a first person shooter was the order of the day, so the first game I tried out was Metro 2033, it looked fine and as I have a 30 meg internet connection it was running in 1080p, having said that, it still didn’t look totally sharp, nothing too terrible but noticeable, there was also a small amount of lag, I tested it by turning the camera in place and there was a little bit of catch up, again though it was fine to play with no major issues.
Next up I fired up Bioshock, this was a better experience, it looked shaper and I noticed very little if any lag, it played fine, so maybe the connection improved.
The following evening I decided to purchase Amnesia and meet the challenge set on the show, the first thing that happened was that it would not connect to the servers, it gave me a message that there were issues due to the servers being too busy, Onlive have reported that they have had numbers in the UK far exceeding any expectations that they had and I assume that they are increasing the servers as I write this.
Now I did manage to get on later and the next thing everyone needs to be aware of is that a lot of the games available only support a keyboard and mouse Amnesia included, again it worked fine, both mouse and keyboard were responsive and connected with no issues.
There are some cool features, if you highlight a friend from your list and they are playing a game, you can instantly spectate them, the brag clips feature works well and the fact it can now be played on Mac, PC, TV or iPad and that you can access your games and saves from any of these devices in another room or house, is pretty impressive, the 30 minute demos available on almost every game on the service excluding new releases is not too shabby either.
There are some negatives though, for instance tonight I had connection issues yet again and one of their servers crashed whilst I was browsing the store, leaving me with the Windows Blue Screen of Death, although it did reconnect straight away, I did wonder had I been playing a game, would I have lost all of my progress.
As I have a speedy internet, it’s hard to know how it would run at the minimum 5 meg for HD, in addition there are only about 150 games available, but this is set to increase as Dead Island and The Witcher 2 are confirmed. The final thing to consider is that PC gamers will probably turn their nose up due to the slight lag and not quite sharp graphics and console gamers may struggle with a keyboard and mouse. That being said, it is a mainly positive start and possibly is the future of gaming, but there is a long road ahead before Microsoft or Sony have anything to worry about.