OnLive review

Cloud gaming has arrived in the UK, but can our infrastructure make the most of it?

Onlive - running on a pc

The thing that really impresses us about OnLive most is not its ability to magically put Prince Of Persia on our iPads, but its exciting interface and platform, which includes some features that the big console manufacturers could really do with nicking – if they have the technology to even implement them.

The first is simple but incredibly impressive: when you start up your little box, a flashy boot-up screen will illuminate your telly, depicting a giant globe built entirely out of little video screens, eventually settling on the same gameplay windows that make up the backdrop of OnLive's menus.

OnLive spectating

Those squares of video aren't just placeholders – they're real-world users playing away in real time. The Arena is the showcase for this baffling and brilliant innovation, enabling you to browse a wall of live gaming, picking any box you like to stretch the video to full screen and watch another OnLive user playing a game live from their living room.

It's very, very impressive stuff and from here you can leave your spy victim a thumbs up message, add them as a friend, or simply enjoy their half-pipe skills in Skate.

OnLive spectating

The Arena has more practical benefits for the game-playing experience too. If you're considering handing over your hard-earned cash for a title you're perhaps not too sure about, you can highlight the Arena tab and bring up every user with open privacy options who's playing that game right now. (You can also trial the title for 30 full minutes, as is possible with almost all OnLive games.)

You don't have to own the title as you would on an Xbox or PlayStation in order to spectate, of course – the hardware doing all the work is in some warehouse God knows how far away.

OnLive profile page

Another head-spinning feature comes via those video input buttons on the bottom of the Wireless Controller. Press the tiny record button on your pad and OnLive will instantly record your last 10 seconds of gameplay, attach it to your profile and upload it to the service's YouTube equivalent, Brag Clips.

That means the next time you pull off a mental Virtua Tennis shot or expose a game-breaking glitch in Batman: Arkham Asylum, you can record it on video and share it with the world.

Facebook sharing for onlive

The Brag Clips interface looks identical to the Arena – basically, a giant wall of video all playing at once, like the end scene from The Matrix Reloaded. From here, you can arrange the clips by highest rated, most viewed or most recent.

Brag clips

It's no surprise that at the moment a lot of the popular Brag Clips are saucy scenes from Duke Nukem Forever, but there are some hilarious Homefront kills and Red Faction glitches to be discovered.