25 games including LA Noire, Batman: Arkham City, and Assassin’s Creed:Revelations are coming first to Android and later to Apple mobile devices.
The games are being released through the OnLive service that is already available on PCs, Macs, and a dedicated $100 set-top box. It’s a cloud-based service in which all the processing is handled remotely, meaning all that’s transmitted is the graphics and sound to the player’s device, and the player’s control commands back to the service.
The service can work with as little as a 3Mbps connection and the cloud concept is designed to mean even high-end games can work on low-spec machines. The company is now taking advantage of that with support for mobile devices working on either Wi-Fi or a cellphone connection, though it’ll probably take a 4G service for the latter to work properly.
Because the service is cloud-based, you can use a single account and switch between different devices, picking up wherever you left off. There’s also support for cross-platform multiplayer gaming.
There are two options for controls on mobile devices. The first is a wireless controller that is free if you buy the set-top box, but can also be purchased separately from this week for $50. The second is to use touchscreen controls, though this will only be available on some games; there’s a mix of custom-designed controls (including for LA Noire), virtual controllers, and a mouse/keyboard emulation. Early reviews suggest the wireless controller is great, but the touchscreen is passable at best,.
Pricing of the games remains the same as before at around $50 for high-profile games, and most other games priced about the same as their current list price. Some are also available for rental at six or seven bucks for three days and $9 for five days.
To use the games on mobile devices you’ll need a free app that is currently in the Android Market store. The app includes access to a free copy of LEGO Batman, a move designed to allow players to test their compatibility and connection before investing in more games or getting the controller.
An iOS version is in the works and, although the company hasn’t explicitly said so, there’s an implication it’s simply awaiting Apple Store approval before launching.