OnLive brings console video games to Android, iOS


OnLive NOOK Tablet

OnLive is a service that lets you play video games by streaming them over the internet. We’re not talking about dinky Flash-based games here though. We’re talking about console-quality games that you’d normally need a Playstation 3 or Xbox 360 to play.

The company offers a box that you can connect to your TV to turn it into a game console, as well as a wireless remote control. This week the company launched new apps for iOS and Android that also turn your phone or tablet into a portable console-quality gaming system.

OnLive has been showing off the service since this summer, but now the company’s mobile apps are finally available for download from the App Store or the Android Market.

I took the service for a spin on my NOOK Tablet, and there’s a lot to like. The selection of games may not be all-inclusive, but it’s pretty good. And the games felt snappy and responsive even though I was basically using the tablet to control a game running on a remote server.

But video quality is inconsistent. I have a very fast internet connection, but from time to time the picture became pixelated. If you’ve ever tried watching satellite TV during a bad storm, you’ll have an idea of what OnLive looks like when your internet connection falters.

The mobile apps are available as free downloads, and once you sign up for an OnLive account you can stream free trials of many games, visit the “Arena” to watch other gamers play, or pay to play games.

You can rent some titles for up to 3 days for just a few dollars or purchase some games for around $20 so that you can play them at any time. New releases have prices closer to $50.

There’s also a PlayPack option which is sort of a Netflix-for-games bundle which allows you to play a large number of older titles for just $10 per month.

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since 2006. Brad has also worked with NPR, WHYY, PRI, and AOL.

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