Sunday, 12 April 2009

Second Life Standalone and OnLive

Second Life behind the Firewall
Mark Kingdon, the CEO of Linden Lab, dropped a hint last October that LL were working on a stand-alone, behind the firewall version of Second Life.

Recently, LL confirmed via their blog that the standalone version of Second Life is currently in the alpha phase, and they plan to take it into a limited closed beta phase this summer with general availability later in the year.

This has got to impact the efforts of the OpenSimulator community, as one of the key benefits that OpenSimulator was going to provide was the ability for corporations and educational establishments to have their own SL-like region/grid, but not connected to the SL grid, (SL being tarnished as it has been by salacious stories in the tabloid media), and have a sanitized, independent region/grid that was fully under their own control.

Of course, OpenSimulator will still have the benefit of being free, but when server costs and maintenance costs are taken into account it will be interesting to see just how big or narrow the gap is when LL finally announce their standalone fees.

OnLive was announced in March at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Heading up OnLive as CEO is Steve Perlman, whose inventions include QuickTime and WebTV.

So, what is OnLive?

OnLive aims to provide, via a cloud gaming service, game data in fractions of a second, so even high-end games can be played on low-end computers.

I was never more astounded in avatar generation when I saw Emily, in the Image Metrics Tech Demo, but now see this example of Perlman's genius brought to life by Geni4 (pronounced Jennifer) on the Mova website (look for the Geni4 videos).

Using the latest techniques in video compression, OnLive works by hosting the high-end games, then compressing and streaming them to the home PC with almost no latency or losses.

OnLive have already teamed with major games providers, such as Electronic Arts, Epic Games, and Warner Bros.

Full story here.