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OnLive: 'Do gamers want to pay $500 for a PS4, or get the same games with us?'

VP John Spinale on the future of cloud gaming

Ambitious cloud gaming service OnLive launches in the UK today, potentially transforming the way many gamers consume their games.

UK pricing details were also released this morning and the surprising news that retailer GAME will stock OnLive in its UK stores.

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We've attempted to answer all of your burning questions in our OnLive UK FAQ, but there are of course some queries that are better put to the men behind the tech.

In part two of our interview (hit the link for part one) OnLive's VP of games & media John Spinale discusses the future of the platform and how it's going to win over UK consumers.

Are you confident OnLive can keep up with the market as demand increases?

It's a high-class problem to have. Right now we've built a lot of capacity because we think the demand is pretty high. So far we've been able to keep building ahead of demand. We have a really well developed supply chain between us and our fulfilment partners, we have big relationships with people who own data centers so we have lots of space and network connectivity. It's a big, expensive business to build.

For the servers that power this we have a programme where they're manufactured in one country, assembled in another and then boat or trucked shipped to data centers, installed one rack at a time and it all just comes online. That's 80 new simultaneous players coming on in a click.

The business has been built to scale. We spent seven years in R&D mode before we went live which was a long slog building the tech to support what we're doing. This is the fun part where we get to worry about all the games, the Facebook connect and the stuff that gamers care about. All the other stuff was pushing a boulder up a hill to make sure this is possible.

How long do you think it will be before cloud gaming becomes the dominant way the public plays games?

I don't think consoles are going away any time soon and I don't think existing PCs are going away either. I think the opportunity is that over time this architecture makes sense. As my PC dies the question I have is 'do I want to buy another one with a higher end system, or is it time for me to upgrade my graphics card or not?' Those are the times when we start to come into play as a real meaningful decision and take market share.


Right now from a convenience perspective this is easy, frictionless and we're getting lots and lots of people that appreciate the value of immediate supportability. For us to get a majority as a genre of gaming platform it's going to take one whole cycle for that to happen. Whether that's everyone retiring their existing consoles or having their PCs be really underpowered... it'll be at least five years before we see this as a majority.

What problems do you think you still have left to overcome?

It's a whole lot of small problems; rolling out in a new territory, having the right promotions for that territory... we're rolling out in the UK and thus far we have amazing games but we don't have a football game. That's something that we'll certainly be fixing.

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