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OnLive Unveils Parental Controls, New Social Features

OnLive review

Despite GameStop's best efforts, OnLive is still a thing. On Wednesday, OnLive Founder, CEO and President Steve Perlman revealed to GamePro a new set of features for his cloud-based streaming gaming service-- including new parental controls and social functioning.

OnLive's latest venture is to make the service more appealing to families, and that starts with parental controls. Now that the library of games has grown on the service, "Quite a few are great for kids," Perlman believes. OnLive's parental control system will be web-based and allows parents the ability to set what ESRB-rated games their children can play, for how long, and whether or not they're allowed to chat or have spectators. Finally, since some indie titles don't have ESRB ratings, parents are allowed to check out a game for themselves and decide whether or not they want to authorize their child to play it.

OnLive review

In addition to its ability to be played on even dated PCs and Macs, OnLive's other major asset is its robust social features. To that end, OnLive is going to further augment is group voice chat capabilities. Right now, OnLive supports in game voice chat and spectator voice chat that lets you talk to the eople who are watching you. But the new group voice chat feature will break down the barriers between in game, spectating, and online. It doesn't matter where they are on OnLive's service, they can chat: "They could be playing, they could be spectating, they could be in user interface," explains Perlman. Effectively the group voice chat feature allows for players to be in "multiple chat rooms at once."

OnLive is also beefing up its already robust social networking features. While you can already post HD brag clips to Facebook, the latest update to OnLive will allow players to post achievements to Facebook as well. These achievements will be posted on your wall. If you hit an achievement, not only will the text appear on the wall, but a video that shows the last ten seconds prior to the achievement.

OnLive has already been in the news a great deal recently due to GameStop's decision to remove OnLive's coupons from PC copies of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The game has since been pulled from shelves at GameStop and recalled by publisher Square Enix. Clearly, GameStop's decision to pull the coupons reflects the belief that OnLive is a threat to their ventures. After acquiring Spawn Labs, GameStop is hoping to build their own gaming service to stay relevant in an industry that is increasingly distancing itself from conventional retail. To view OnLive as a threat has to at least be flattering to Perlman, who launched his cloud-based service in 2010 to both praise and condemnation.

Now the service is in its second year of service and has grown both its user-base and its library of games. "Before we only had 19 games at launch," explains Perlman. "Now OnLive has over 130 games." While OnLive's game library and power in the marketplace grow, it's not surprising that the number of competitors and aggression towards the service is growing as well.

This article originally appeared on GamePro.com as OnLive Unveils Parental Controls, New Social Features


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