The world of cloud gaming is now no longer exclusively available to US consumers as OnLive is hitting the UK this month.

Onlive Logo - Cloud Gaming

OnLive was one of the first firms of its kind to provide consumers with the opportunity to play the latest games without having to have top of the line hardware. Rather than installing games locally on the user`s PC or running them straight from the disc as consoles do, OnLive has server farms which offer all the number-crunching might to play such titles as Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Assassin`s Creed: Brotherhood while the end user just interacts with the game over a broadband connection.

All you need to access online is a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone which meets the minimum system requirements and an internet connection which is at least running at 2 megabits per second, although a 5Mbps connection is recommended. Because OnLive works regardless of whether your graphics card has vast amounts of RAM or pixel pipelines it means that you can enjoy the same HD visual fidelity whether you are using a four year old laptop or a cutting edge gaming PC.

Of course, there are some obvious drawbacks to the service, with the primary concern being one of lag. Lag is the interval between the gamer pressing a button or moving a mouse and that translating into onscreen action. Even consoles running the game locally have some lag, but since each key stroke registered by OnLive needs to be sent from the user`s location to the server and back over their connection there is a more noticeable dislocation of action from reaction in-game.

What works in favour of OnLive in the UK is the fact that it has worked in partnership with BT to iron out any kinks in the service and test it thoroughly before launching. BT is responsible for a majority of the nation`s broadband infrastructure and so getting its seal of approval and support is vital.

If you do not have a PC or a laptop which you want to use with OnLive then there is the firm`s own Game System which might catch your eye. This unassuming black box comes with its own controller and will sit below your HDTV acting as a streaming hub that gets you straight into the action.

What OnLive really does is level the playing field when it comes to gaming. You need not splash out hundreds of pounds on a new graphics card or the latest games console if you still want to play the best games currently available. You can use your tablet computer or BlackBerry phone to log on, live out your digital fantasises and then log out fulfilled. It does exclude people who do not have decent broadband services, which means you will either have to invest in a faster internet connection or save that cash up to buy a better PC for gaming. However, in the long term cloud gaming can only get better.

This is a guest post written by Erica Muhanji.

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