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BT is exclusive Onlive bundler in UK

BT is exclusive Onlive bundler in UK

BT will be the exclusive supplier for Onlive in the UK, offering it as part of new broadband packages.

BT has won the rights to bundle Onlive, the new Cloud-based gaming system, with some broadband packages it was announced today.

Onlive, which was unveiled in March 2009, lets users play games on any internet capable device regardless of hardware. It works by running the games in server farms and then relaying information between the farm and your device over the internet.

The new deal will see BT package Onlive as part of new broadband offers within the UK, according to GI.biz. BT has also netted a 2.6 percent shareholding in the company as part of the arrangement, but won't be announcing further details until later in the year.

"Entertainment is going to be at the heart of what we offer customers in the future," said Gavin Patterson, CEO of BT Retail.

"The partnership with OnLive complements our existing BT Vision service. It's great for our customers - they'll have access to a huge catalogue of games, available instantly on their TV or PC without expensive hardware...it's great for BT - it will enhance our premium broadband position and we'll be entering into a market that's worth more than £2 billion."

Sceptics have expressed doubt over whether Onlive will run well on current broadband infrastructure and whether users will approve of the pricing model, which includes a subscription and game rental on top of the cost of a broadband package. The system is set to come out of beta in the US later this year.

Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

This article has been corrected to address an error in the original news story that indicated BT was the exclusive supplier of Onlive in the UK, when in actual fact BT merely has the exclusive rights to bundle Onlive with some broadband packages.

45 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
13eightyfour 13th May 2010, 11:30 Quote
The pricing model is still going to be a sticking point imo, service subscription, game rental, and BB is just too many things to pay for.

On the plus side with BT having a stake in the company does that mean they might start pulling their fingers out and give decent BB speeds to everybody!!
Phalanx 13th May 2010, 11:30 Quote
I have doubts over how this is going to work with the antiquated broadband infrastructure in the UK. I guess we'll see.
pimlicosound 13th May 2010, 11:42 Quote
This might have worked well on Virgin's cable service, which tends to deliver consistently high speeds, but on BT? Let's just say I'm not thrilled about being an early adopter.
julianmartin 13th May 2010, 11:42 Quote
Well OnLive will be able to thank BT for the commercial failure in the UK.

Not a hope in hell that BT's connections will be upto the job.
mikeuk2004 13th May 2010, 11:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by julianmartin
Well OnLive will be able to thank BT for the commercial failure in the UK.

Not a hope in hell that BT's connections will be upto the job.

Bt will limit all players and class them as high usage users lol

Fair usage policy's are criminal.
Bindibadgi 13th May 2010, 11:49 Quote
Wait - does that mean you have a to have a BT broadband account to get Onlive then? Not "if I buy Onlive it'll be through BTs servers and I just pay BT?"

Fail in 3.. 2.. 1..
mi1ez 13th May 2010, 11:57 Quote
Well that's that up sh!t creek then!
flaming_goat 13th May 2010, 12:00 Quote
i thought a major feature of onlive was that it used all broadband suppliers to find the fastest route in order to reduce lag.
K.I.T.T. 13th May 2010, 12:10 Quote
BT can dress up their connections as much as they like but a company that watches, throttles and filters their connections as much as they do I'm staying as far as is possible away from.

...Not that i was ever going to go with OnLive to be perfectly honest.
blood69 13th May 2010, 12:15 Quote
I am going be an old guy when onLive hits Portugal, they have that agreement with the ISPs to interchange TCP/IP information between gateways to acheeve a constant fast connection with their servers. I think they will have a hard time trying an agreement here.
alick 13th May 2010, 12:22 Quote
do u get eney thing for ur $15 subscription shorly u must get heeps of small indi games and stuff uther wise it be like paying 15$ a muth for steam or for sky but having to pay extr for evry thing not just new moves
Fizzl 13th May 2010, 12:23 Quote
From the price point of few.. lets say you spend £500 more on a gaming PC rather than a PC good enough for onlive. £500/£15 = about 33 months. Can you honestly say your gaming hardware is going to last that long?

How this pans out will depend on game pricing, integrity and availability of the service.
Can you access your steam games via it?
How well will it stand up to 4 players on a home network? 12 players? an i-series? :P
And with BT in mind, will it get effected by the network management policies that kick in at about 17:00 to 01:00?
AshT 13th May 2010, 12:28 Quote
You'll be able to play poker and backgammon but I can't imagine we'll see a demanding game for many years. Also none of the main ISPs would be too happy with peak-time gaming with OnLive ...
sotu1 13th May 2010, 12:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fizzl
From the price point of few.. lets say you spend £500 more on a gaming PC rather than a PC good enough for onlive. £500/£15 = about 33 months. Can you honestly say your gaming hardware is going to last that long?

I thought the idea of OnLive was that the games would run on just about any PC, including netbooks and the like. All it needs to be able to do (in theory) is connect to a high speed internet.

And yeah, BT = FAIL
13eightyfour 13th May 2010, 13:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fizzl
From the price point of few.. lets say you spend £500 more on a gaming PC rather than a PC good enough for onlive. £500/£15 = about 33 months. Can you honestly say your gaming hardware is going to last that long?

Your forgetting that you have to 'rent' the games aswell.

Im not 100% sure how the games will be kept but even if they charge £1 per game per month
and you play 5-10 different games in a month you'd be adding £5-£10 to your monthly bill.

I can see it costing almost what sky costs per month tbh, not only that but at least after 33 months you'd have a computer thats still useful, Will onlive last nearly 3 years? i doubt it.
Paddy 13th May 2010, 13:15 Quote
Does anyone know how the US Beta is progressing? Is the system proving to be feasible for the majority or only those sitting next to their exchange?

I think the idea is promising, but as mentioned earlier the subscription, game cost & poor uk internet infrastructure will make it make it difficult to succeed. But I'm watching this space to see how it does progress.
javaman 13th May 2010, 13:15 Quote
I can see BT charging a fortune for this then lowering the speed and usage of anyone on lower packets. Thees no way the UK can handle the traffic either if this takes off.As much as I want this to work and love the inovation in their data transmission, they're still up against it. The biggest problem is gonna be cost and it looks like cloud gaming could flop at that hurdle even if they clear the crappy broadband speeds here.

They set up beta testing in a small area of America a few months ago, anyone know how that went?
msm722 13th May 2010, 13:56 Quote
Oh dear god ...

Say hello to worst customer service in existence.
Fizzl 13th May 2010, 14:32 Quote
Hmm also what about MMO's?

I'm sure there is a market for people who can only take a netbook on holiday and don't want to miss there WoW fix. :P
pimlicosound 13th May 2010, 14:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by flaming_goat
i thought a major feature of onlive was that it used all broadband suppliers to find the fastest route in order to reduce lag.

Turns out that this is in fact true. Any ISP will work with OnLive in the UK. Check out the Joystiq article, in which Perlman states:

"UK gamers will also be able to order the OnLive Game Service directly from OnLive to run over any UK ISP".

http://www.joystiq.com/2010/05/13/onlive-headed-to-the-uk-through-bt-partnership/
xaser04 13th May 2010, 14:37 Quote
Given that BT moan constantly to us about monthly usage despite the fact we are on 'option 3 - unlimited' I don't see this working too well.

On top of this you have the poor link speeds in certain areas of the country (e.g. Street gives us ~8mb whereas Yeovil only manages ~4mb on the same package).

Oh and then we have the issue of whether onlive actually works or not outside of optimum conditions.
JCBeastie 13th May 2010, 14:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by xaser04
Given that BT moan constantly to us about monthly usage despite the fact we are on 'option 3 - unlimited' I don't see this working too well.

I have the same issue, paying for their 'unlimited' package, which is apparently 'ideal' for heavy use and I got myself peak time limited to 1Mb/s even though my usage was early morning! Essentially their Fair Use of roughly 3.3Gb a day is nowhere close to near sufficient for streaming videos and online gaming like they claim.

Recently I found out BT Vision customers can use all the bandwidth they please, if I watch too much iPlayer in a week I get punished! Now they want to stream games too!? Will Onlive get truely unlimited bandwidth that Broadband customers will have to lose out for to support.

Disgusted.
hurrakan 13th May 2010, 15:01 Quote
If you can't get cable then the best ISP in the UK is Zen Internet. It can be expensive if you are a very heavy user but it's worth it.

- 1 month rolling contract
- no traffic shaping
- no fair use policy
Quote:
"We never have, and never will, traffic shape a connection ensuring customers experience these faster speeds all day, every day."

http://www.zen.co.uk

lacuna 13th May 2010, 15:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fizzl
From the price point of few... let's say you spend £500 more on a gaming PC rather than a PC good enough for onlive. £500/£15 = about 33 months. Can you honestly say your gaming hardware is going to last that long?

Yes. PS3 and 360 have both been around longer than that. Also, my pc is now coming up to being 7 years old (with the exception of the 7950GT) and with some overclocking it can still play Crysis with acceptable frame rates
Joeymac 13th May 2010, 16:16 Quote
Call to BT customer service.... circa 2013

Customer: "I'm trying to play COD12 and am getting slide-show frame rates and huge lag in the evenings"

BT Chimp: "Please unplug your BT vision box for 10 minutes and then plug it back in. Thank you for calling BT"

Customer: "I've tried that. I'm paying £20 a month for your unlimited 2 games a month (1 hour per day peak time) service. It's not ****ing working!"

BT Chimp: "Well you need to upgrade to our £30 '3 games, full unlimited, 2 hour peak time" service to receive 25+fps. You can also get our bolt-on "QOS" 100ms lag 'pro-gamer' sub-package for additional £4.99 per month"

Customer: "Nah screw that I want to cancel"

BT Chimp "Okay that'll mean a £120 early termination fee"

Customer: "Gahhhh, okay whatever, but I won't lose my full game purchases will I? I'll still be able to access those on my PC?"

BT Chimp: "Your profile data will be suspended and your purchases stored until such time as you recommence your monthly subscription, in accordance with the BT/Onlive early termination agreement you entered. This profile retention is limited to 180 days after cancellation for privacy reasons. Thank you for using BT/Onlive, we thank you for your custom and hope to welcome you back shortly.


.......... welcome to the future.
DarrenH 13th May 2010, 16:51 Quote
BT still uses the telephone wires which I thought only can handle 8Mbps in pure form and 20Mbps with software. My Virgin Media cable is 50Mbps and will go up to 100Mbps soon. Now a deal with Virgin would be great news instead of using old technology.
Joeymac 13th May 2010, 17:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarrenH
BT still uses the telephone wires which I thought only can handle 8Mbps in pure form and 20Mbps with software. My Virgin Media cable is 50Mbps and will go up to 100Mbps soon. Now a deal with Virgin would be great news instead of using old technology.

The bit-tech news post didn't mention it, but in the press release with the Onlive exclusivity announcement, BT also said they had profits last year (£1.5 billion.. the year before was -£250 million) so they are using £1 billion of those profits to increase investment in their Fibre service. They expect 40% coverage by 2012 (100Mbit down and 30Mbit up for Home Fibre, 40Mbit down for cabinet Fibre) and 60% coverage by 2015. They are evenly distributing the upgrades over the country.

It will probably be the case that Onlive is only available to the Fibre customers.

Also at some point, since Virgin have a monopoly as a Cable provider, things are going to get finalised and they are going to get the same treatment that BT did a decade ago. They are going to have to offer other companies access to their customer wholesale. So that means you will be able to switch cable ISP providers much like you can currently switch ADSL ISP's on BT's phone network. It's pointless for BT to provide a second Fibre line if you already have Cable.

So in theory you would be able to switch to BT Cable from Virgin Cable in the not too distant future.... but only if you are a moron.
pimlicosound 13th May 2010, 18:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joeymac
Also at some point, since Virgin have a monopoly as a Cable provider, things are going to get finalised and they are going to get the same treatment that BT did a decade ago. They are going to have to offer other companies access to their customer wholesale.

Why would Virgin be forced to share their Cable network? Unlike BT, they've built their network privately with private capital. There was a compelling case for BT to share their network, because most of it was built during the time of public ownership. I don't think Ofcom has the right to demand that Virgin share their network.
TheUn4seen 13th May 2010, 18:08 Quote
Wait, what? Network heavy service in a country where you pay for 20Mb/s that works as 4Mb/s and gets throttled to 50kb/s after you download 1 kilobyte (because using bandwith you pay for is somehow unfair to other users!), not to mention that your every connection is checked by police and if you dare to encrypt anything you land in jail for alleged crimes (that actually almost happened to me)? I wouldn't like to be an early adopter of that.
Joeymac 13th May 2010, 18:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by pimlicosound
Why would Virgin be forced to share their Cable network? Unlike BT, they've built their network privately with private capital. There was a compelling case for BT to share their network, because most of it was built during the time of public ownership. I don't think Ofcom has the right to demand that Virgin share their network.

They don't own the ground which the cables run through. When cable started in the 80's, cable cabinets could only be installed in the country's streets under government licence. There were hundred of Cable companies in the 80's and 90's and they just happened to be brought up by Virgin Media. It's not right for customers to be locked into a service with a particular company, and it would be a huge cost to the public, in terms of traffic disruption, if other providers had to install redundant equipment and cabinets on our public footpaths.

Virgin have considered offering it themselves and Ofcom have left them alone for the time being because they are upgrading, increasing speeds and gradually offering customers more for the money. But they'll do it eventually.
Star*Dagger 13th May 2010, 20:33 Quote
I figured people would roll out their anti-OnLive cyber-luddite doubts.

OnLive is a tidal wave that will change Gaming forever.
steveo_mcg 13th May 2010, 21:16 Quote
I think i'll remain firmly in the "... when i see it" camp but since its now BT only that may be a long time.
julianmartin 13th May 2010, 23:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by alick
do u get eney thing for ur $15 subscription shorly u must get heeps of small indi games and stuff uther wise it be like paying 15$ a muth for steam or for sky but having to pay extr for evry thing not just new moves

Are you serious? www.dictionary.com
rickysio 14th May 2010, 08:35 Quote
I read it as Bit Tech is exclusive online supplier in UK.

Then my brain did an about turn.
Pete J 14th May 2010, 09:25 Quote
Hmm.

As far as I'm concerned, the visual quality of the games will be shite. I'd rather be able to have all the bells and whistles engaged - at a decent resolution :p
_Metal_Guitar_ 14th May 2010, 10:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Star*Dagger
I figured people would roll out their anti-OnLive cyber-luddite doubts.

OnLive is a tidal wave that will change Gaming forever.

Tidal waves destroy things. Ubis DRM is bad enough...I don't even want to think about this.
javaman 14th May 2010, 13:17 Quote
Seems Onlive isn't too hard. Was lisening to an old presentation they gave last year and they recon 5mbps is needed for high def (worse case senario in reality they say 4mbps is plenty). For standard def they want 1mbps (again worse case senario). Pressing buttons doesn't creat alot of upstream traffic so that isn't a problem. Under questioning at the end they claimed that distance is still the biggest killer and stated about 3 servers to cover america (optimistic IMO) before dropping down to 1. They design their own hardware and the servers in house and outsource them for some company to house them. Onlive should still run with any high speed connection other than BT (again according to the presentation). If thats from the initial beta remains to be seen but going exclusive will only hurt uptake in the long run.
DarrenH 14th May 2010, 13:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCBeastie
Essentially their Fair Use of roughly 3.3Gb a day is nowhere close to near sufficient for streaming videos and online gaming like they claim.

Recently I found out BT Vision customers can use all the bandwidth they please, if I watch too much iPlayer in a week I get punished! Now they want to stream games too!?


What a sham. They had such a monopoly but did nothing with the infrastructure when they had the chance. With Virgin I have downloaded 10-12GBs on any given day without any issues. The only restriction is during peak times, then once you've reached 3-4 GB they will slow down your speed for a few hours. That's all.

I can't believe that people still use the telephone lines for their broadband in this day and age. It's a joke.

I know that Gordon Brown wanted to encourage high speed fibre for the next ten years to keep Britain high-tech. Who knows what will happen now we are promised cuts by the new Govt. due to economic reasons.
Anfield 15th May 2010, 19:47 Quote
+45635 on all the Uk internet can't handle streaming of games to start with comments.

Anyway, i don't expect Onlive to be a success for anything beyond casual games.
Star*Dagger 15th May 2010, 21:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anfield
+45635 on all the Uk internet can't handle streaming of games to start with comments.

Anyway, i don't expect Onlive to be a success for anything beyond casual games.

"Those horseless carriages will never catch on! What are you going to do when you run out of petrol?! With horses they can eat any grass and rest and be right as rain the next day, no Horseless carriage can do that!"

"If the human body is subjected to speed above the speed of sound they will die!"
GiantStickMan 16th May 2010, 02:43 Quote
Star*Dagger - not having a go at you mate but keen to hear what reasons you have for believing that an unproven new distribution system will be the future?
From everything I see and read about it there seems to be so many hurdles that will hold it back, not just technologically but entering an extremely competitive marketplace already dominated by some industry giants with a huge user base. I'm not doubting that the industry is heading to digital distribution, I just doubt that this console from a comparatively small company can make any sort of impact at the moment.
Devices that have set out to achieve a similar purpose have never even made it to the market (I believe that Phantom was one of them).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Phantom_(game_system)
EdwardTeach 16th May 2010, 04:42 Quote
I really doubt this is going to be successful.
Somatic 16th May 2010, 12:01 Quote
I think the service will be more about performance for me. I don't get impressive speeds from my local exchange, so that'll likely be the main point. The subscription price looks reasonable if you actually make use of playing games nearly every day, but it depends what the minimum requirement for broadband speed is.
javaman 16th May 2010, 14:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Somatic
I think the service will be more about performance for me. I don't get impressive speeds from my local exchange, so that'll likely be the main point. The subscription price looks reasonable if you actually make use of playing games nearly every day, but it depends what the minimum requirement for broadband speed is.

Get the faster speed to download games faster from steam =p
Anfield 16th May 2010, 16:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Star*Dagger
"Those horseless carriages will never catch on! What are you going to do when you run out of petrol?! With horses they can eat any grass and rest and be right as rain the next day, no Horseless carriage can do that!"

"If the human body is subjected to speed above the speed of sound they will die!"

:)

You really had me laughing for a good moment with that reply, doesn't change my opinion though that I don't expect serious gamers to trust in cloud gaming.
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