OnLive gets mobile investor, adds 5.1 Surround Sound to its service

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So we know that Sony Ericsson's Xperia Play is coming soon. This is the Android phone with the slider that reveals a set of gaming controls similar to those found on dedicated gaming systems. And we've heard that OnLive, the streaming game service, wants to move into the mobile space. That sounds like a match made in heaven, right? OnLive needs a platform with gaming controls, Sony Ericsson needs some great gaming content.

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Yesterday OnLive got a mobile partner, sure enough, but surprisingly it wasn't Sony Ericsson. It was HTC Corp. who bought a $40 million stake in OnLive, according to an article at the Wall Street Journal. HTC spokeswoman Maggie Cheng said the investment will "will strengthen its gaming capabilities and help HTC tap into increasing demand for games on smartphones"

Before we jump to any conclusions about future HTC handsets having game controls it's important to remember that OnLive is working on bringing streaming games to a variety of touchscreen devices, and in order to do so they intend to modify games to work with touch controls. Obviously it is in their best interests to work on as wide a variety of devices as possible.

OnLive isn't sharing their timeline for putting its service on smartphones and tablets yet, but it did have some news of its own yesterday. It announced the addition of SRS 5.1 Surround Sound to its catalog. The specific titles mentioned include Borderlands, Mafia II, Assassin’s Creed II and Batman: Arkham Asylum but in the FAQ it says "At the present time, the surround sound feature applies to all games and Brag Clips, and no individual adjustments are available." which implies it's available for all games, or at least for all games that themselves offer 5.1 sound.

You'll have to go into your settings and turn on 5.1 (assuming your hardware supports it) according to the support page. It sounds like it's time to do some "research" into this new feature. Hmm, I bought Mafia II from OnLive and haven't really played it very much. Good test material. Ah, the work I do for this blog... :)

Peter Smith writes about personal technology for ITworld. Follow him on Twitter @pasmith.

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