Will you play streaming video games on your phone?Evan Selleck - Contributing Editor
For as long as I can remember, I’ve considered myself a gamer. I’ve loved to play video games since the Atari, and I don’t imagine it will ever stop. They’re a great way to experience entertainment, and most of them (okay, some of them) have the greatest storylines I’ve ever experienced outside of books. I remember around the time that Apple launched their App Store, and gaming started to really take off on the iOS platform –and subsequently every other platform-- I was sure that gaming on a mobile device would be the next big thing. I remember thinking that I would be able to enjoy gaming on a mobile device just as much as I enjoy it on my console. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case so far. But, after using the video game streaming service OnLive, I think I know why that is. And more importantly, why that may be changing very soon.
First and foremost, playing video games on a mobile device takes a different state of mind versus playing them on a console. You need to be perfectly aware that you’re not going to spend hours playing on your mobile phone, mostly due to the battery inside that thin frame. Sure, you could plug your phone in and sit down for a few hours to play your favorite game, but that battery will fight you all the way through. And no one wants to ruin their batteries. Because of this, gamers that choose a mobile device to appease their needs are considered “casual gamers,” where they will pick up a title for a few minutes, play a couple of levels or what have you, and then go about their business. There’s nothing wrong with this, not by a longshot. But, it is different.
For me, though, that’s never been the problem. I don’t mind playing games like Infinity Blade (or its sequel) for a few minutes, and then stopping to do whatever else. The same can be said for pretty much every other game on a mobile phone. That’s just the way they are built, and that’s the way we’re supposed to think about them, due to the fact that they are built for our phones. Quick gaming sessions are the norm, even if you’re playing a multiplayer game.
The problem for me, truthfully, has been graphics and depth. There’s obviously quality in some of these games, and there are titles that promote graphics just as much as anything else. Like the aforementioned Infinity Blade and its sequel, or the game RAGE HD. Both of these titles promote graphics. New titles like Shadowgun, for instance, are all about the prowess of their graphics, while also promoting a game that boasts hours of gameplay and quality.
But, while I’m sure there are more out there, that’s only four games. And, while the story behind the likes of RAGE HD and Shadowgun are great in essence, you’ll never really unlock the full potential of those stories, especially in the case of RAGE. If you play the console version, then you know the game is massive, and you just don’t get that in the mobile version. Again, this makes perfect sense due to the size and scale of the platform you’re playing it on. But, these are games made specifically for the phone, and OnLive is looking to change that.
OnLive is a video game streaming service that allows you to stream games, like LEGO: Batman for instance, to your phone. The big “drawback” of this service is that not all games are compatible with your phone, but I believe that list will continue to grow. And since the service is available for tablets (where you can use game controllers too), there’s really no stopping it. And that’s exactly why I think OnLive is in a position to change mobile gaming forever. Because I want that full experience on my phone, even in short bursts and I can’t get that from games made for the phone. Of course, your battery is still a big deal, and for those of you not on an unlimited data plan, you’ll have to be connected to a WiFi hotspot. But, the sheer fact that I can play the full game of LEGO: Batman on my phone, or connect to other gamers on Homefront on an ASUS Transformer Prime is a pretty big deal, I think.
Will you use OnLive to play games on your phone? Or are you perfectly happy with the made-for-your-phone games? Let me know.