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OnLive Turned On

June 15, 2010 Article Start Previous Page 2 of 4 Next

You guys had a recent announcement with BT.

SP: Yes.

Now you have a new partnership with AT&T. Are you currently in talks with companies like AT&T, Comcast, Verizon about bundling OnLive with their services [to get OnLive in more homes]?

SP: In the U.S., we have all different kinds of discussions with U.S. operators as well. I think you can take the fact that AT&T decided to partner with us in launch and offering this promotion, and the promotion works across with any connection, needless to say... What they're demonstrating so far is in addition to being an investor, they are also a strategic partner.

That's part of why they wanted to be with us as we roll out from the very beginning. Their brand is associated with OnLive on the consumer side.

And Verizon and Comcast... Bigger providers might be taking a wait-and-see approach and see how it goes?

SP: Well, we haven't announced anything with those providers. What I can say is the following, that in our data centers, we have about a dozen different connections coming in from different providers. They're called T1 providers. The reason we do this... I'm giving you a little bit of the ingredients.

When we connect to your home, if we just go through the internet, we might get a route that is very, very roundabout, right. You know, it might not be direct from our data center to your home. So, what we do is we actually go and connect you through a number of different providers in order to find a route that is minimal latency, minimal congestion, and best throughput.

So, what we've ended up doing is partnering with I think most -- I guess at this point, yeah -- most of the major ISPs in the United States. So, we actually have relationships with all these ISPs in addition to AT&T. AT&T is one of them. We're able to go and make direct routes to people's homes.

So, again, it's not a consumer announcement. If we were to make an announcement about that, it'd be more like our Dell announcement, you know what I mean. It's a business announcement because it's on the data center side. But the impact it has on the consumer is that we're able to find better routes and get into your home.

And frankly, we can't get to every ISP. There's a lot of little ISPs out there, you know. But we can certainly get into, at this point, the majority of broadband connections in the U.S. with a direct route.

I see that you guys are partnering with Dell. The quality of the service kind of relies on how close the data center is, right?

SP: The biggest issue is actually not how close the data center is. The biggest issue is what sort of latency you are having in what we call the last mile, the connection between your ISP's either central office, in the case of a telephone operator, or the head end in the case of a cable operator.

We have a data center in Silicon Valley in Santa Clara. At this point, we've overflowed the data center, so we have multiple data centers. But anyway, so we have this cluster of data centers -- that's a better way to describe it -- in the Bay Area. So, suppose you're in, I don't know, in Sunnyvale, which is extremely close to these data centers. You might have a 20 millisecond lag if you have sort of a worst case ISP in that last mile.

And somebody else, who is, for example, in Las Vegas is hundreds of miles away from a data center. If they have an ISP that only has a five or ten millisecond delay... The delay in the internet is probably less than 10 milliseconds or less from Las Vegas to Silicon Valley. So, that person would actually have a lower latency connection than somebody who is closer and has a higher latency last mile.

So, a lot of people don't realize that. A thousand miles on the internet, using the techniques that OnLive is using to find an optimal route... I mean, obviously, that's as the crows fly a thousand miles, right. If you're routed a roundabout way, then you much further than a thousand miles. But a thousand miles on the internet is about 21 milliseconds, okay. The worse case we see pretty much is around 25 milliseconds.

Are you getting tired yet about people asking you about lag and OnLive? [laughs]

SP: I am. So, the other thing is we're going to be putting out facts. There's a lot of misconceptions about latency. It's a brand new technology, and it's fair for people to ask. We're going to need to understand this, right.

For example, we've measured monitors that have 80 milliseconds of latency. The monitor. [laughs] In fact, we spoke to that monitor manufacturer, who will remain nameless [laughs], and they understood what we were doing. They got excited about it, and they came out with a new line of monitors that have 9 milliseconds of latency. They're some of the best monitors out there now, okay.

So, people just don't think about it. But you know, if you have an 80 millisecond monitor, anything you're playing on it, a local game, you're going to see some lag in a local game. But people don't think about it because they figure, "Okay, it's local, so lag is not on my agenda to thing about."

Some of the mice you can get that are 15 milliseconds of latency, or you can get mice with 1 millisecond of latency, you know what I mean. It's a huge swing. So, what we're going to do is put the facts. We're going to say, "Look. Here are the kind of things that introduce latency. Please let us know. If you're going to be on a lagging experience, come tell us. Tell us what your system is so we can go and try to test that equipment."

Then what we're going to try to do is put up a list of different equipment and how we've measured it. Not every laptop, but most laptops have pretty low latency screens. So, you know, again, not every trackpad, but trackpads are probably not the best thing to use for gaming. But nonetheless, at least it's built in, and there's a good chance the latency is not too bad on it, right. So, give that a go before you kind of condemn the whole system. [laughs]

These are things that we need to educate people on. The bottom line is this: if you have a good connection to OnLive and your gear is low latency, you have a low latency experience. It works. It really does. It's never going to be low latency as having the exact same computer capability locally, right. I think that's an obvious thing, right. There's a load of latency introduced by the internet.

But the thing that we need to get across to people is that the latency is not exactly what you expected. Sometimes the latency is actually not the internet. Most of the latency is in the last mile. Actually, most of the latency, if you don't have optimal equipment, is in your gear, your monitor, and your mouse. And then the next place you look is in the last mile. And actually, the third place you look is in the internet.

Article Start Previous Page 2 of 4 Next

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