The MacBook Air isn’t billed as a gaming notebook, and most users who purchased the Air did so for the portability, but with OnLive gaming you can actually game on the MacBook Air. We’ve been testing out the OnLive gaming system recently and in addition to the Micro Console that connects to the HDTV you can game on Mac and PC without the need for a powerful graphics card and processor.
We put this to the test, using the MacBook Air to pick up where we left on Just Cause 2 and Dirt 2, both fairly demanding games which have the potential to look great. After teaching at the local university, I stole an office and plugged my MacBook Air into the speedy campus network to see how well the MacBook Air could handle these games.
What does it take to play Just Cause 2 or Dirt 2 on your notebook? For a Just Cause 2 experience that isn’t painful you’re looking at a 2.6GHz Dual Core Intel processor and a dedicated graphics card, oh and 10GB hard drive space and Windows since you can’t play Just Cause 2 on the Mac. Dirt 2 also recommends a beefy processor, nice graphics card and plenty of hard drive space.
While our MacBook Air has a discrete graphics card, it’s not up to snuff with gaming laptops. Let’s see how it performs.
Gaming on the MacBook Air – Just Cause 2 and Dirt 2 Video Demo:
In the testing we’ve done, the gaming experience is pretty amazing, especially considering the fact that we are playing on a MacBook Air. A few things we like include features that make OnLive almost like the Kindle.
- Buy Once, Play Anywhere – Buy the game you can play it on your console, Mac or PC without extra fees.
- Synced Game Saves – Your game saves are available wherever you are, no more playing old missions on a new console.
- Free Samples – Most games come with at least 30 minutes of free gameplay, enough to test it out and see if it suits you.
- All Your Games With You – When you purchase your games, they travel with you wherever, but don’t take up hard drive space.
But, OnLive isn’t perfect. You do need a fast internet connection, and if you are playing on your Mac or PC a Wired connection is recommended. This means you won’t be playing while in flight or even at your local coffee shop. It’s a small sacrifice for bringing gaming on the go with a computer like the MacBook Air.
Stay tuned for our full review of the OnLive Gaming Service and the OnLive Micro Console.