As Time Warner Cable (TWC) tests new new monthly bandwidth caps and overage charges on home Internet service, we wondered: Will new limits on Internet consumption throw a wrench in the works of gaming startups like OnLive, which promise to stream entire games in 720p hi-def to home TVs?
Nope, says OnLive founder Steve Perlman, in an interview with MTV.
Users will run into bandwidth caps on streaming video far before OnLive registers on anyone’s radar. “It will be a very long time before OnLive comes anywhere near the broadband penetration of YouTube, Hulu, iTunes, Amazon, mtv, abc/nbc/cbs/fox/hbo.com, etc., if ever. So, we won’t be the ones testing this issue,” Steve says.
Good point. And OnLive may eat less bandwidth than we thought. Steve says the service will consume about 350 MB per hour in play on a standard-def TV, or 950 MB per hour in hi-def. That’s a fair bit less than the 2 GB per hour of Internet usage we estimated. (Though 950 MB per hour is still about $1 per hour in overage fees if you pass your cap.)
Both Microsoft (MSFT) and Sony (SNE) say they’re not worried by bandwidth caps, but we never exepected them to be. Only services that stream entire games are heavy bandwidth consumers. Shooters like Halo 3 or Killzone 2 only have to exchange tiny packets of information — like where players are on the map. World of Warcraft (ATVI), for instance, maxes out at an insignificant 30 MB per hour of bandwidth burn.
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