As with music and journalism, the multi-billion dollar video games industry is facing changes due to the spread of high-speed Internet. Already, Sony has started making the shift to download-only games with its new handheld device the PSP Go, and now OnLive, a new service that kicks traditional game discs to the curb in favor of “cloud gaming” has received a jolt in funding from the likes of Warner Bros. entertainment and AT&T. Reports the Wall Street Journal:
OnLive has developed technology that it says will allow consumers to play graphically rich videogames without owning high-end PCs or consoles like the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 that are normally required for such titles. Instead OnLive plans to run games on powerful remote servers in data centers and pipe high-definition game graphics over the Internet to consumers, who can play them on low-end PCs and Macs or through an inexpensive OnLive device connected to their televisions.
Questions remain about whether OnLive will be crippled by bandwidth issues—certainly a concern, given the amount of data-intensive services already challenging Internet providers. But traditional video game stores such as Gamestop, which count on the used games industry for a substantial amount of their revenue, are surely paying close attention to OnLive’s progress.