updated 10:20 pm EST, Wed December 7, 2011
OnLive switches on tablet, phone apps and gamepad
Acting on promises from E3, OnLive late Wednesday launched its mobile gameplay apps. The iPad, iPhone, and Android apps are gradually rolling out and should let gamers play, not just watch, titles either using the touchscreen or with the Universal Wireless Controller. It normally needs Wi-Fi, but the shipping version now works with any LTE-equipped tablet, including the HTC Jetstream, Motorola Xoom, and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 LTE.
About 25 recognizable games have been newly optimized for touch in the OnLive versions, including Assassin's Creed: Revelations, LA Noire, Lego Batman, and the Lego Harry Potter series. Anyone who downloads the OnLive apps gets Lego Batman for free, although it's not apparent whether users need to sign up.
Every regular OnLive feature, such as live spectating and short video recording (Brag Clips), is accessible from the mobile interface. The service's distinctive feature remains its ability to give the full visual detail of a game in a 720p stream without having to cache locally and while still keeping the lag low enough to play action titles.
Downloads on both platforms should be available within the next several hours as countries cross into Thursday. Gamers can either pay by the title at prices comparable to retail or subscribe at a flat rate.
The Universal Wireless Controller is unchanged from what we tried at E3 and brings the MicroConsole's dual analog controls both to mobile devices over Bluetooth as well as to Macs and Windows PCs through a USB adapter. Along with giving a better experience for games that don't work as well with touch, they have media controls between the grips to control OnLive's video features.
The Universal Wireless Controller should ship December 9 for $50.