HTC and OnLive link up for mobile game-streaming fun times

HTC has invested $40m in game-streaming firm Onlive. Do we expect to see HTC phones offering cloud-based gaming to take on the might of Apple? Of course we do!

Andrew Lanxon Editor At Large, Lead Photographer, Europe
Andrew is CNET's go-to guy for product coverage and lead photographer for Europe. When not testing the latest phones, he can normally be found with his camera in hand, behind his drums or eating his stash of home-cooked food. Sometimes all at once.
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Andrew Lanxon
2 min read

HTC, mercurial maker of the magnificent Desire HD and marvellous Wildfire, has invested in game-streaming firm OnLive to the mighty tune of $40m, the Wall Street Journal reports.

OnLive is a simple idea, powered by some complicated tech -- it houses farms of powerful gaming machines that stream the latest games to users, who only need an Internet connection, a little box, a controller and a computer or TV screen. With HTC on board, its service could well expand to mobile phones.

When OnLive first announced its plans for gaming world domination back in 2009 it caused quite a stir from the public, who dreamed of playing high-end games with the best graphics, but without the expense of building and upgrading powerful gaming machines. The press was a little more sceptical, wondering how fast a connection you would need to not notice the lag between pressing a button and seeing that action on screen. That seems to have been borne out in hands-on tests since.

We can only speculate as to HTC's plans with OnLive, but it seems a good bet that it wants to add a string to its gaming bow. The constraints of mobile data and touchscreen controls would likely mean a severely cut-down version of the OnLive service, but top-notch graphics on relatively low-powered handsets is still a mouth-watering prospect.

The handheld gaming market is already quite the war zone with Apple's iPhone 4 doing battle with Android devices over who can get the most London commuters playing Angry Birds, while the imminent Sony Ericsson Xperia Play will certainly increase the bloodshed on all sides. Let's not forget, too, that the Sony NGP and Nintendo 3DS will be wading into the stramash later this year.

If HTC steps up wielding a mighty sword of streaming games, it might just be able to dole out some hit points. OnLive, meanwhile, is set to launch in the UK by the end of this year. What do you think? Is this an exciting prospect? Or totally baffling?