LGC 2011: OnLive repositions itself as a dev platform
Tom Paquin, CTO of OnLive, last night highlighted the game development possibilties of the company's cloud gaming service and appealed to creators to use the platform to make games that will "really knock our socks off."
During his talk at the London Game Conference last night, Paquin focused not on the subscription-based streaming service that launched in the UK in September, but on the potential of OnLive as a development platform.
After highlighting one of the service's unique selling points to developers – its immunity to piracy – Paquin explained that the technology used in OnLive's Brag Clips, where users press a button to save the last ten seconds of gameplay, could be used for realtime monitoring of QA and beta tests.
"When a game dumps core in our environment," he said, "not only do you get the dump but you also get the 30 seconds of video leading up to it. You can see how it happened.
"It's an opportunity for changing release models, changing development models. Do episodic releases; do trial releases. We're convinced there are numerous pay-as-you-something opportunities here, but it's up to you. We're OS engineers; we'd only get it wrong."
Paquin went on to explain that the fact that all of OnLive's processing occurs server-side, delivered to users over a broadband connection, meant graphical advances could be made without requiring customers to have powerful hardware. After showing a video of a highly detailed facial model, made in the Batman: Arkham Asylum engine with a greatly increased polygon count, he said: "We're not happy with faces in games. They need to get past the uncanny valley.
"We'd like a company to have a library of [assets] they can share across the industry with as many polygons as they need. It's totally deliverable right now. The really creative companies could come up with a game that could only run in this type of environment and really knock our socks off."
Paquin's insisted his talk wasn't a pitch, or an advert. In fact it was more like an appeal. In an earlier session, consultant Nicholas Lovell had backed rival cloud service Gaikai over OnLive, saying the former had a better business model because it was a platform that companies were able to work out how to use on their own terms.
Paquin did much to show that OnLive has the potential to be both: an opportunity for developers to push boundaries, backed up by subscription revenue. Candid throughout, he admitted the company could not do it without the help of the several hundred developers in the room.
"The coolest things to happen on OnLive won't come from OnLive, or people like us," he said, calling on the audience to "make the entire gaming industry go to places that I currently haven't thought of. We want the best minds in this space to be thinking this way."