D8 provides look at streaming-game service OnLive

The game service, which launches in two weeks, allows users to stream games over the Internet to a TV or computer. But gaming is just its first application, says CEO.

RANCHO PALOS VERDES, Calif.--Streaming-game service OnLive, which launches in two weeks, gave attendees at D: All Things Digital a look at both its initial service as well as some things that might be possible down the road.

OnLive CEO Steve Perlman said that, although gaming is its first application , the service is really aimed to tap the power of cloud computing.

OnLive, which streams games to TVs or computers, will launch in two weeks. Ina Fried/CNET

"If we can make gaming work, we can make anything work," said Perlman, a WebTV founder who also spent time at Apple and Microsoft.

In addition to playing games on televisions or computers that couldn't normally play them, the service lets users quickly launch a game, take "brag clip" video highlights as well as watch friends play games.

To use a TV with OnLive, you need a tiny console that will be available later this year. The small set-top box consists of an Ethernet jack, power supply, and HDMI port. The electronics cost less than the connectors and case, Perlman said.

He also showed a technology demo of OnLive running on an iPad, but Perlman stressed that this was just a demo and might never be available.

Originally announced as a $14.95-a-month service, Perlman said the company now expects to charge less when it announces pricing next week because costs have come down. "We have some surprises," he said, without detailing the new pricing plan.

Perlman said that, with additional servers, the service is designed to handle millions of gamers, although those wanting to use the service have to be within 1,000 miles of a data center. The company currently has three such centers--one near Washington, D.C., one near Dallas, and one in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Asked by Walt Mossberg what other applications might someday be possible, Perlman said the sky's the limit, noting that the service is backed by a huge graphics chip-powered supercomputer.

"We can deliver anything," he said.

About the author

    During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried has changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley. These days, most of her attention is focused on Microsoft. E-mail Ina.


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