OnLive makes a lot of headlines for its cloud gaming service. For the unitiated...get on the internet. For crying out loud, where have you been? OnLive renders games on cloud-based servers and streams the game video to your device and your control inputs back to the servers. The result: you can play games on your phone, tablet, or old computer you never would've been able to play before. Now NVIDIA is getting in on the action with the GeForce GRID, a cloud gaming server solution that the company is opening up to game developers.
Unlike OnLive, NVIDIA isn't opening a store front to end users,
but rather offering a service to game developers to integrate directly into their games. The benefits are obvious: games can offload high or impossible system requirements to the cloud without submitting to a new business model and virtual store like OnLive. On the other hand, this will mean a new cost for game developers, and it's unclear how much a service like this would cost, or how a game developer might offset this.
Mobile games are historically very casual and very cheap. If it were suddenly possible to play something like SkyRim or Mass Effect 3 on an Android tablet, but the method required an additional server cost...well, there's no existing model for this on an individual game-by-game basis. To say nothing of the additional peripherals that might come into existence and add costs to gaming on Android.
On the other hand, the optionally high cost of gaming in the PC world did nothing but help the platform grow into a veritable hotbed of hardware innovation. So hopefully, NVIDIA's (and OnLive's, for that matter) attempt to bring more powerful games to Android will pay off.
No word yet on what games might utilize the GeForce GRID, but NVIDIA says it's already working with several gaming companies including Gaikai, Playcast, Ubitus, EPIC, Capcom, and THQ. So now we play the waiting game.
It looks like we fundamentally misunderstood the concept behind the GeForce GRID. It looks more like NVIDIA is simply creating some new hardware that services like OnLive would use in their cloud-based gaming services. The wording in NVIDIA's press packages are a little unclear, but it looks like NVIDIA will simply be selling hardware to manufacturers and working with game developers to get their titles compatible, then game developers are free to sell streaming rights to service providers like OnLive.