OnLive app brings streaming to smartphones and tablets
Rockstar creates exclusive touchscreen version of L.A. Noire; new controller to go on sale to market of 500m mobile devices
Cloud gaming service OnLive is releasing a new app for iOS and Android over the next 24 hours that will stream playable PC games to smartphones and tablets.
Rockstar Games has been enlisted to create a specific touchscreen interface for its hit title L.A. Noire as part of a collection of 25 games with reconfigured controls ready for the launch window.
While some games will have tailor made controls to support tablets from the likes of Apple, Samsung, Motorola and HTC, others will have a simple virtual pad added to the screen by OnLive to make them playable.
OnLive will also begin selling a new controller which works with portable devices, priced $49.99 / £39.99, and designed for more complex games that have already been released on PC and console.
CEO Steve Perlman admitted that although the new controller is ready for the US market, OnLive has been unable to manufacture enough for the UK and a release is expected at a later date - although he did state that the new controller will be future proof to work with multiple hardware.
Rockstar said it wanted to do something really special for tablets and the interface is completely new. They've made it very specific. It's a native touch interface
"The new controller works with tablets and phones, but it will also work with new TV interfaces and Blu-ray players that are coming out," Perlman told GamesIndustry.biz. "It's been approved for the UK. It sounds ridiculous but we've run into demand [problems] just from developers getting these," he added.
Developers and publishers have the option of deploying the three different control types across titles for OnLive, said Perlman, with the touchscreen implementation adding an exclusive element to the service.
"This is where there's a redesign of the game entirely. Rockstar said it wanted to do something really special for tablets and the interface is completely new. It's context sensitive, players can reach in and flip a gun over with their fingers to see the serial number. They've made it very specific. It's a native touch interface."
"With Virtual Pad interfaces we usually do it ourselves and see that we can take some of the buttons and map them onto the screen with a translucent overlay. We can do that for some, but some games have so many buttons in use so that would be like putting a piano keyboard on screen.
"Then there are the games that are only supported through the OnLive games controller and those are like anything you would play with a wireless controller on PC or console, the difference is you can play them on your phone or tablet."
The app is free, and comes with a free copy of LEGO Batman. All games purchased via OnLive can be played instantly over a compatible device and shared between hardware with data saved over the cloud, as well as allowing cross-platform play.
Perlman would not commit to projected download numbers for the app, or for those players OnLive hopes to convert into paying users, only stating that the company is entering a huge market of smartphones and tablets.
"We have a very difficult time predicting," he said. "We tried to predict what the demand would be in the UK and we very much underestimated that, so we're trying to be as conservative as we can. We're dropping this into a sea of 500 million devices but not everyone is going to be interested in OnLive."
In the US, the company has also signed with AT&T and Verizon's 4G LTE services for full HD-resolution, low latency gaming.
The new app follows the release of OnLive's previous software for iOS, which only allowed users to view games being played by other people via the home MicroConsole.