VentureBeat brings word from GDC that OnLive will launch on June 17th, providing us with the ability to play modern video games through a web browser for $14.95/month. Apparently Mass Effect 2 and Borderlands will be among their launch titles, though the full catalogue is still a mystery:
Speaking at the GamesBeat@GDC conference today, OnLive chief executive Steve Perlman said gamers will be able to subscribe to the PC or Mac games-on-demand service for $14.95 a month, and get access to a wide variety of current titles from major publishers. It is partnering in this launch with publishers including Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, 2K Games, THQ and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. The games will also include new releases like Mass Effect 2, Borderlands, Assassin's Creed II, as well as a bunch of other titles. Perlman anticipates anywhere from a dozen to 25 titles to be available at launch time, and more after that, depending on how negotiations with other publishers proceed. If we can really play Mass Effect 2 with advanced graphical settings enabled and at high resolutions without experiencing any lag, this would be worth every penny. Something tells me there are going to be some hiccups with this whole "cloud gaming" technology, though.
(This isn't just older catalog games in our library,) Perlman said in an interview. (We're going to have a lot of fresh games.)
OnLive's basic technology is compression, which squeezes game data into a compact form so that it can be transferred over a broadband connection to a server, where the data is computed. Then a video is sent back over the broadband line to the user's computer. OnLive tries to make this round-trip happen so fast that the user doesn't notice that the computing is happening in the cloud, rather than on the user's own computer.