MediaFile

Cloud gaming service OnLive coming to the TV

US-REARDEN-ONLIVEOnLive, the closely-watched startup that is aiming to change the way people buy and play video games, officially launched last June. But the company says that was a mere warmup for the main event, which begins in a few weeks.

OnLive emerged from years of stealth development in 2009 with a somewhat audacious plan to offer so-called “cloud gaming”:¬† instant, on-demand and lag-free access to video games stored remotely on servers in data centers.

The service started last June but was only accessible through a PC. But starting Thursday, OnLive began taking orders for its $99 “microconsole,” which connects easily to a TV and which will be delivered starting Dec. 2. Using the console, users can access a catalog of games that will grow to 50 by the end of the year, including big-name titles such as “Borderlands” and “NBA 2K11″

OnLive poses a threat to traditional home consoles such as Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PS3, but only if it works as advertised and there are no stutters or hiccups in the game stream.

OnLive Chief Executive Steve Perlman said the carefully managed launch for PCs last June was to ensure that the company’s network could indeed handle the demand. But he said PC gaming only represents around 10 percent of the market, and that TVs are where the real action is. He won’t divulge OnLive’s user base, but said it has already hosted more than than 2 million game sessions.

PluggedIn: Gesture tech eyes growth

wii

By Unnikrishnan Nair and Mansi Dutta, in Bangalore

Gesture-recognition technology is set to motion in a new level of interactivity in everything from games to phones, and poses a serious challenge to the ubiquitous mouse and remote controls.

The technology works by tracking and interpreting hand and body movements of users, and is viewed by many as the next game changer in consumer electronics. Users can just wave their hands in front of a screen to bring up control menus and select the relevant option by pointing a finger. They can zoom pictures, raise and lower volume, switch on and off devices, or do just about anything they can with a mouse or a remote, all with different gestures.

Video game consoles are leading the way. Like Sony’s motion-sensing game console for its PlayStation 3, its answer to Nintendo’s popular Wii.

Black Friday sprint begins for video game industry

Black Friday marks the beginning of the most critical time of the year for video game makers, as customers jam stores on the day after Thanksgiving to pick up games and consoles as gifts.

As a brutal 2009 winds to a close, the gaming industry is hoping that a strong six weeks of sales in the United States, the largest market, could help them salvage something from the year.

Nintendo said Monday its Wii home console — the long-time U.S. champ that has been struggling lately — sold more than 550,000 units in the U.S. during Thanksgiving week. To put that in perspective, the company sold around 500,000 Wiis in all of October, according to industry tracker NPD.

Cloud-gaming service OnLive opens up

OnLive, the “cloud-based” gaming service that generated plenty of interest when it was announced in May, is opening itself up.

The company is aiming to challenge game console makers Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony with a bold and ambitious service: on-demand, lag-free access to graphically rich games, which can be played on any TV and nearly any PC, even budget netbooks.

Analysts say such a product could fundamentally change the economics of the multibillion dollar video game industry. The only question is how well OnLive works, and some have expressed skepticism. Since its splashy introduction, little has been heard from the company, which was busy testing its service internally and installing servers in its data centers to handle traffic. OnLive delivers games run on servers in the cloud, rather than locally on a PC or a console.

Gamescom lands on gamers’ map

Two days ago, Sony finally announced it would cut the price for its flagship
PlayStation 3, reacting to slumping sales which have lagged
behind those of Nintendo’s Wii and Microsoft’s Xbox 360.

But industry experts, who had long expected such a move,
were more surprised about the location Sony chose for its
announcement than about the decision itself.

“The fact that Sony decided to announce the PS3 price cut at
Gamescom shows the importance they attach to it. This has been
one of the most important decisions they’ve made in the
segment,” said Ed Barton, analyst at London-based media research
company Screen Digest.

Sony cuts PS3 price, sounds confident about holidays

The long-anticipated price cut on Sony’s PlayStation 3 video game console might have come just in the nick of time, as industry sales continue to wilt in the heat of summer. Both game hardware and software sales have been flagging, but console price cuts typically spur game sales.

Sony took the PS3′s price to $299 from $399, and the company sounded bullish on its prospects for the holiday selling season.

“With this price move, we’re extremely confident,” said Jack Tretton, CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America, in a interview. “I don’t think there’s anything more that we could realistically ask for in terms of putting us in a position to be successful this holiday, I really feel like everything’s lined up for us.”

No recession for solitaire on PCs

Forget the bells and whistles, realistic graphics, complex story lines and cinematic soundtracks. When it comes to video games, solitaire still rules.

According to Nielsen’s fourth-quarter “State of the Video Gamer” report, the most played PC video game in the United States is solitaire, the free, easily accessible and familiar time-waster adored by cubicle dwellers. The game, which is pre-installed on most Windows PCs, had more than 17 million players in December. Solitaire players aged 25 to 54 are apt to play it five times a week for about 30 minutes at a stretch

Females older than 25 made up the largest chunk of PC gamers in December, accounting for 46.2 percent of all players, Nielsen said.

Video games defy economic gloom

U.S. shoppers are still spending in a big way — they are just not buying cars, plane tickets, clothing, etc. But they are buying video games.

While most media segments try to maintain stability during today’s economic turmoil, the video game industry keeps on growing, with U.S. video game hardware and software sales up 10 percent last month according to NPD, fueled by record sales of Nintendo’s Wii console and DS hand-held system.

Nintendo’s Wii console sold over 2 million units in November, up from over 800,000 in the previous month.

$60 video games? Do the math, says Zelnick

How do entertainment retailers come up with the prices they charge? Why is a movie theater ticket $10, a music CD $15, a rental DVD $3-$5 and a top video game $60?

We asked Strauss Zelnick, executive chairman of game publisher Take-Two. He says it’s simple math, based upon the value of that experience.

Prices are determined by the marketplace — if folks stopped buying stuff, prices would fall, etc. (Think gasoline). Balance that with cost. A game like Halo or Grand Theft Auto takes years to develop and costs as much to make as a Hollywood film.

Sony offers big PS3 price cut, if you can get the credit

With Black Friday only a few days away and projections for the holiday shopping season bleak, it’s not surprising that Sony is making a price cut move on its PlayStation 3 video game console to lure cash-strapped shoppers.

Now, you can get a hearty $150 price cut on the PlayStation 3 console. The caveat: you’ve got to sign up for a shiny new PlayStation credit card first.

There’s two ways to take advantage of the deal, it just depends how badly you want the PS3.