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Can OnLive’s Gaming Service Ever Find Success?

There hasn’t been a new contender in the gaming console market in a long time. It’s a tough market to break into with the likes of Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony dominating the market for years. But recently a new company has emerged with a home console that takes a vastly different approach than the big three.

This company is OnLive and they made a pretty big splash with their idea back at the 2009 Game Developer Conference. They have already released their gaming service on the PC and Mac, but does their home console strategy have what it takes to succeed? Click the link to read what I think OnLive needs to do in order for their home console to be a success.

First, a little bit of background

OnLive is actually a gaming service more than it is any kind of hardware platform. Some have referred to it as a cloud gaming service or gaming on demand. The reason why is because OnLive actually performs all of the game processing on their remote servers scattered across the country. These servers perform all the processing and then compress the video and audio and stream it to a users machine.

The user has OnLive’s software loaded onto their machine that then decodes the video and audio stream into a high definition video. All the user needs is a PC or Mac that is able to process HD video and an Internet connection that is higher than 3 MBits/sec.

Onlive’s selling point to the user is that they will never have to worry about buying new hardware or upgrading hardware again. If they want to play the latest game all they have to do is sign into the software and purchase the game from OnLive’s game store.

This service launched on the PC and Mac back in June 2010 and OnLive has also just released a home micro console that sells for $99. The console is a small box that is able to decode the audio and video stream, and also comes with a wireless controller.

OnLive’s biggest problem

OnLive has a couple of issues. Many folks have already pointed out that a lot of people do not have 3 Mbit/sec internet connections, let alone the 5 MBit/sec connection that OnLive recommends. Also their current game library is pretty sparse. As of today OnLive’s game library is only showing 40 titles, and 7 of those are different Borderlands editions and downloadable content.

But OnLive’s biggest problem is the model it uses for purchasing games. User’s can either purchase games for a little bit under PC retail price or rent the game for 3 or 5 days for $5.99 and $8.99 respectively. This pricing does not apply to every single game, but it does represent the majority and highest price points someone will pay for the games listed.

Those prices are pretty high for purchasing something you never truly own. Even when you purchase the full game, your copy of the game resides on OnLive’s servers. OnLive hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with details of what happens to a user’s purchased games should they stop using OnLive or if they go out of business. But the general consensus is that you will not be able to get a digital or physical copy of the games you have purchased.

This purchase method never sits well with consumers. People just don’t like paying close to full price for something that they never truly own. In order for OnLive to make any sort of headway they are going to have to ditch this model.

Someone has already figured out the solution

The good news for OnLive is that a company has already figured out a solution to this problem. All OnLive has to do is follow Netflix.

OnLive needs to move to a subscription based streaming model like Netflix. By setting up a tiered subscription model for OnLive, they will be able to attract more users. Users as a whole are already used to a model like this thanks to Netflix, and many folks are begging Apple to move to this kind of model with iTunes music and video content.

Here is what I think OnLive’s subscription based model should look like:

  • $4.99 – 1 game a month
  • $9.99 – 3 games a month
  • $14.99 – unlimited games a month

I think those a pretty good price points for OnLive to start reaching mass market penetration. I also think that the price point is low enough that it will quell the fear of the consumer with the whole never actually owning the game problem.

Also, ditch the hardware

Another thing that OnLive can lift from Netflix is to stick with software and forget about hardware. Instead of Netflix making their own media streaming box, they decided to partner with folks like Roku, Sony, Samsung, Boxee, Google, Apple and others.

Netflix makes a media streaming app that they can install on a variety of hardware platforms from various vendors. This enables Netflix to get more of the market then they ever could if they decided to make their own hardware and sell it.

OnLive should do the same thing. They should get their software installed on the same type of hardware platforms as Netflix. Their software already has built in support for the Xbox 360 controller for Windows and if they really wanted to they could still produce their own controller as an accessory.

By doing this users will be able to play their games on their TVs and PCs/Macs without having to buy any extra hardware besides a controller. The great thing about this for gamers is they will be able to access and play their games across multiple types of hardware.

Imagine starting to play a game at home on your TV, but then finishing the game later in the week on your laptop while you are on a business trip. That is a service I could see myself subscribing to for a very long time.

Guide For Selecting an Arcade Video Classics Multi Game Multicade

Hi! Ready to get lots more bang for your video game buck? Then, start thinking about the latest trend — multiple arcade video games in one cabinet, generically known as a multicade.

That is right. Now, you can have several, not just one, classic games in a video game cabinet.

Instead of only, for example, Ms Pac-Man in a Ms Pac-Man game cabinet – now, you can have Ms Pac-Man, plus Galaga, Frogger, Donkey Kong, and dozens more classics all in one cabinet.

There are lots of possibilities for multiple game play available in the marketplace. Here is a brief description of a few common ones:

1. Multicade. The original Multicade system consists of a computer and game discs. However, the manufacturer is no longer in business. But, the system is still around, and there may be a new company that has taken over the brand.

The name multicade is now commonly used to describe almost all multi game setups.

2. Ultracade. Ultracade is another multi-game platform featuring multiple classic arcade games emulated on PC hardware running proprietary operating system and emulation code. The company is no longer in business. And, the name Ultracade is also sometimes used generically.

3. Arcade Classics 60-in-1. This is a JAMMA printed circuit board (PCB) offering 60 classic arcade video games.

4. Capcom 18-in-1. Are you a Head-to-Head fighting fan? Then check out the Capcom multicade.

5. PlayChoice 10. The Nintendo PlayChoice 10 system can be upgraded to play dozens of classic games.

6. NeoGeo. SNK’s multi video system (MVS) NeoGeo is a widely available cartridge based multi-game system. They are celebrating their 20th anniversary.

7. Games Family 1940-in-1 Multigame JAMMA System. Yep, that is right – 1,940 games, and many of the best ones, too. It is a monster.

8. MAME. The MAME (multiple arcade machine emulator) is a computer system with the capability to emulate practically every arcade video game. This multicade setup is typically undertaken only by the very dedicated hobbyists.

9. Williams Classics. Several of the classic Williams games (Joust, Defender, Stargate) are available in one dedicated cabinet.

10. Ms Pac-Man Galaga Reunion. This is a great dedicated game featuring two great classics. The game’s PCB (printed circuit board) could be installed into any cabinet, including a Ms Pac-Man cabinet, or a Galaga.

11. Multiple JAMMA PCBs. It is possible to install multiple JAMMA game pcbs into one cabinet, and switch between them.

12. Modified Ms Pac-Man. It is possible to modify a Ms Pac-Man PCB to be able to also play Pac-Man, and in either the fast or slow version of both.

13. Galaga Ms Pac-Man Switcher. It is possible to add either game PCB to the other game cabinet, and be able to switch between the two.

These are some of the more common solutions for multi game play, but there are many others.

An important distinction between cabinets:

There is an important distinction to understand about arcade game cabinets.

The classic games like Ms Pac-Man and Galaga are played using a vertically mounted monitor. While there are some classics like Joust, almost all the modern fighting games like Street Fighter use a horizontally mounted monitor.

Most importantly, the game types are not immediately interchangeable between the cabinet types. It is possible, for example, to modify a horizontal cabinet to accept a vertical mount monitor, but the reverse is usually not possible. This is because the cabinets for the two monitor types are built differently. The horizontal cabinet will be a few inches wider than the vertical cabinet.

The point is that the style (horizontal or vertical) of a cabinet matters – some will work for a classics multicade upgrade, and some will not.

My Favorite Multi Game Solution – The 60-in-1 Classics Multicade:

Today, the most nostalgic multicade experience is obtained with the 60-in-1 JAMMA PCB.

It is possible to take any vertical mount monitor cabinet (Ms Pac-Man, Galaga, etc.), and install the hardware that will allow the play of 60 great classic games in one cabinet (see exceptions noted below).

And, since the game would be a JAMMA standard installation, the hardware is easily serviceable and will be around for a long time. Furthermore, a JAMMA cabinet is versatile in that it can accept many of the other of 100′s of JAMMA game PCBs.

Here are the 60-in-1 classic arcade video games:

  1. Ms Pac-Man
  2. Galaga
  3. Frogger
  4. Donkey Kong
  5. Donkey Kong Junior
  6. Donkey Kong 3
  7. Galaxian
  8. Dig Dug
  9. Crush
  10. Mr. Do
  11. Space Invaders
  12. Pac-Man
  13. Galaga 3
  14. Gyruss
  15. Tank Battalion
  16. Ladybug
  17. Millipede**
  18. Burger Time
  19. JR Pacman
  20. Mappy
  21. Pengo
  22. 1942***
  23. Centipede**
  24. Phoenix***
  25. Time Pilot
  26. Super Cobra***
  27. Hustler
  28. Space Panic***
  29. Super Breakout**
  30. New Rally X
  31. Arkanoid**
  32. Qix
  33. Juno First
  34. Xevious***
  35. Mr. Do’s Castle
  36. Moon Cresta
  37. Pinball Action
  38. Scramble***
  39. Super Pac-Man
  40. Bomb Jack
  41. Shao-Lin’s Road***
  42. King & Balloon
  43. 1943****
  44. Van-Van Car
  45. Pac-Man Plus
  46. Dig Dug 2
  47. Amidar
  48. Zaxxon
  49. Pooyan
  50. Pleiads
  51. Gun Smoke***3-buttons
  52. The End
  53. 1943 Kai****
  54. Congo Bongo
  55. Jumping Jack
  56. Ms. Pac-Man (Fast Mode)
  57. Pac-Man (Fast Mode)
  58. Galaga (Fast Fire Mode)
  59. Jr. Pac-Man (Fast Mode)
  60. Pac-Man Plus (Fast Mode)

Exceptions:

**Indicates a game that requires a trackball to play (#’s 17, 23, 29, and 31). Installation, or not, of a trackball would be determined by the size and configuration of the control panel.

So, the 4 games that require a trackball might not be feasible for some cabinet types with smaller control panels.

However, the 4 games can still be played with the joystick. Although, the play is not the same as with a trackball, many people learned to play Centipede, for example, with a joystick.

If the control panel will permit, a trackball can be installed.

***Indicates a game that requires 2 (or more) buttons to play – for example, both a fire and jump button. Most of the classic games, however, only require 1 button – such as, a Galaga with only a fire button.

So, the approximate 8 games that require installation of additional buttons (7 require 2 buttons, and 1 requires 3 buttons) will also be determined by the size of the control panel.

When the control panel size permits (and it usually does), installation of up to 2 buttons (fire and jump) is often standard.

****Indicates a game (there are 2) that requires 2 sets of player controls to allow two-player simultaneous play. There is usually not room on a classic game’s control panel for comfortable play with two sets of controls (2 joysticks with two buttons each).

One set of controls is usually standard, since most of the classics are played with two players taking turns. If two sets of controls were desired and possible, they could be added. But, that would likely preclude the addition of a trackball.

Any of the 60 games can be individually turned off, so that they would not appear on screen in the menu selection. Meaning, for example, that you could feature only the three games with left-right controller action – Galaga, Galaxian, and Space Invaders.

Use the information in this article to help evaluate the many styles of available multicades. Multicades may seem complicated, but they are well worth any extra effort. Simply because, they are economical to own, save space, and offer a great variety of arcade video game play.

Tips to Build Your Own Gaming PC

If you are into PC games but hesitant to spend much on improving the tech specifications of your existing PC, then you should consider these tips to build gaming computer. In fact, you can get very good, high-performance, value-for-money PC if you invest in the right parts. To build your own PC, all you need is a budget, basic computer knowledge, and some free time. This can also be a fun and satisfying project to do.

Firstly, you got to choose the components that you need. To do this, you need some computer hardware knowledge. For example, you need to know the difference between basic hardware and those meant for gaming. For gaming purposes, some components are especially important; CPU, motherboard, video card, hard, drive, and memory. Besides that, PC for game should be equipped with good monitor, gaming keyboard, and gaming mouse. You can also opt to boost the sound card and you may want to consider an extra CPU cooler (PC heats up very quickly when playing games).

You can buy these parts at the local PC hardware shops or online. Usually, they are sold second hand but you can always buy brand new parts for optimal performance. Of course, the cost for brand new parts can be costly. When you build gaming computer, also consider the options of being able to upgrade your current PC performance. There are always new technology coming up and you may need faster performance for future games. Bear in mind also that different games have different system requirements. Make sure that you researched the component options thoroughly before choosing.

Basically, you save money and gain invaluable experience when you build gaming computer. Not to mention you’ll have a PC catered specifically to meet your gaming needs. Before you start, remember to do thorough research on the different component options to secure the best deal. You can also find many tips to build gaming computer online.