The last six months or so have been huge for the game streaming service OnLive, recently we heard how Batman Arkham City set new records in terms of how many times a demo was played in a single day, which got us thinking about Sony and Microsoft’s next-generation consoles.
Currently when a demo hits the PlayStation Network or Xbox Live you have to wait for it to download, which can often take a while, however demos on OnLive are instantly streamed, meaning that you don’t have to sit there waiting whilst your download progresses from 1% to 100% – would a similar feature be a success when the PS4 and Xbox 720 arrive?
Firstly we don’t have a clue how much such a service would cost to implement, but in the long run we think a demo streaming service could prove popular with the fans, here’s why:
People hate waiting for downloads to complete, so that is one major perk of streaming, however that’s not all, OnLive allows you to play a full game for up to 30 minutes and then when you buy the full game you can continue from where you left off, this is great for games which have annoyingly long introductions where you are introduced to characters and taught the game basics etc.
There are two disadvantages when it comes to streaming demos, firstly it is reliant on an internet connection, but let’s face it if you are used to downloading demos you already have an internet connection, secondly no-matter what anyone says streaming is no as pleasing in terms of visuals, don’t get me wrong OnLive looks great on my HDTV, but my 360 looks better.
We think that a simple warning message stating that demo visuals are not necessarily on par with the full game would be acceptable, in my experience I have played a demo to get an idea of gameplay and see how a game compares to its rivals and/or predecessors, streaming a demo should allow for this without the inconvenience of eating up local storage space and waiting for large downloads (which are only going to get larger when next-gen consoles arrive).
One thing to remember is that internet connections are ever-increasing in terms of speeds, yes this will allow for quicker downloads, but it will also allow for smoother, more reliable streaming. We really think that the advantages to streaming demos outweigh the advantages of downloading them, do you agree?