OnLive & Instant Action : Take your gaming to the cloud

Video Gaming Group

Soon, you may not need these in order to game. Image from Flickr.

Gamers have long been very attached to their consoles, computers, and disks – but OnLive and competitor Instant Action are aiming to change that. Both video-gaming platforms based entirely on “cloud computing,” InstantAction and OnLive promise a video game experience comparable with console or disk games, but without the set-up expense that sometimes require installment payday loans just to cover.

How OnLive & Instant Action are alike

Both OnLive and Instant Action are video gaming systems that are missing most of what we have come to associate with video games. There is no separate console (unless you want there to be). There is also no disk to buy, unwrap, and install. Subscribers simply “dial in” to the company’s servers, choose the game they would like to play. This platform means that players can use any internet-connected computer to log into their favorite obsession, at any time.

How OnLive is different

Announced at the GameBeat conference this week, OnLive plans to roll out its offerings by June 17th. OnLive has been working with video game designers since its early days, and will be offering the blockbuster games Assassin’s Creed 2 and Mass Effect 2. This big-name games have already proven themselves as hits with gamers. OnLive is also going to offer a deck of cards sized “MicroConsole” that hooks up to any TV free with it’s $15 subscription. OnLive will use a “walled garden” approach that will keep their games secure and running only on their proprietary system.

How Instant Action is different

Instant Action approaches cloud gaming slightly differently, and they intend to release their first game at the end of this month. Instant Action intends to make gaming an integrated experience. With Instant Action, players will be able to play games in web browsers, share them across networks, and email them to friends. Instant Action will also be offering the option of purchasing a full game or paying for “all you can eat” monthly subscriptions. The biggest-name game they will be offering soon is The Secret of Monkey Island : Special Edition.

Instant Action & OnLive both cut out retailers

The goal of both OnLive and Instant Action is to do something that sounds like it should be simple – cut the disks out of gaming. If game creators are able to provide their product to customers without having to print disks, they would cut costs by half or more. However, many big-name games are now huge files that take days to download on even the fastest of internet connections. Both OnLive and Instant Action claim to have solved this problem – though their software is proprietary, and how they have solved it remains a mystery. However it is done, most retailers are not very happy that they will be cut out of the cycle of gamers getting a small personal loan just to purchase the newest video game.

Time to dump your console?

Both OnLive and Instant Action are gaming platforms that have set their sights on existing gamers as well as new gamers. OnLive will definitely be offering game titles and TV interactivity that users of the XBox 360 and Playstation 3 have come to love. Instant Action has not yet made plans to work with the makers of games for these consoles. However, neither Instant Action nor GoLive will be able to yet offer cross-platform gaming. In other words, if you’ve already got your friends all on XBox Live, don’t expect to switch your platform and keep your connections. At least, not yet.

Is there room for both OnLive & Instant Action?

In a market already glutted with consoles, games, and playing options, is there really room in the market for both OnLive and Instant Action? I believe there is. OnLive seems to be focusing its sights on the hardcore gamers that enjoy fully immersive gaming experiences. These are the guys (and girls) that are willing to pay $15 a month to not have to buy $60 games they may or may not enjoy. Instant Action, on the other hand, seems to be focusing more for the “causal gamer” that doesn’t consider instant payday loans to feed their gaming fix. Instead, these will most likely be the people that enjoy a game now and again, but more for the social aspects. Two different types of gamers, and two different services that cater to them.

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