The last few days have been amazing for iPhone and iPad gamers: iCloud savegame syncing and AirPlay streaming introduced great new features to the iOS ecosystem. Now OnLive has made an announcement that’s going to significantly change gaming on your iPad. The service is going to fully support the iPad to play games offered on OnLive. But not only that, OnLive will also offer a physical controller that will connect to your iPad over Bluetooth.
In case you are unfamiliar with OnLive: It’s a service that streams games to your device. Think of it as playing online, just that OnLive takes it one step further and the game itself is running on the server. That step eliminates any hardware requirements – you only need to have a fast and reliable internet connection to play all the latest high quality games. You can rent the games for a few bucks or buy unlimited access to your favorite titles.
Now, what does this mean? Basically, the iPad just became a very capable gaming device. Think about what an incredible match OnLive’s gaming service is going to be with the recently announced wireless AirPlay streaming feature: If you own an iPad and Apple TV, you can fire up the OnLive player, stream the gameplay to your HDTV and play some Duke Nukem Forever with the Bluetooth controller. Sure, this is a pretty expensive setup and you’ll need to own all three devices. But if you already own an iPad, an additional Apple TV and the OnLive controller will be cheaper than getting a PS3 or Xbox 360. Have in mind though that OnLive’s games catalog is limited and might not always offer the newest game you are interested in.
OnLive is also offering on-screen touch controls that can be optimized by the developers of each game, in case you don’t want to get the Bluetooth controller. The service will launch “a little bit later this year”. There’s no word yet on how much the controller will cost you, and no info if this service will ever be available for iPhone. One thing is sure though: I’m psyched.