OnLive, the streaming game service that seeks to answer if the all-powerful cloud can run Crysis, is letting PC and Mac users test the system for themselves. The company has opened a public beta for the service today, seeking a wide range hardware configurations and broadband situations to apply.
Those signing up are prompted to give general information about their box and ISP, such as operating system and connection speed. From there, the company will request a selected few to run a more detailed performance check before it sends out an OnLive web browser plug-in.
The service works by streaming a video of a game that's being run on a server somewhere far away. OnLive claims its algorithm and video compression voodoo will compensate for lag and sluggishness that's detrimental to twitch-based gaming, but that's yet to be seen in the wild.
OnLive attracted a fair amount of attention at GDC09, and most hands-on testers have been positive. But anyone who's used the service has been under the company's own conditions. It will be interesting to see if the hype can possibly live up to the realities of a run-of-the-mill broadband connection. ®