Are mobile social games in trouble as OnLive comes to HTC phones?

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And you thought the retailers were scared? The server-based games service OnLive just sealed a $40 million funding deal with smartphone manufacturer HTC, VentureBeat reports. The OnLive subscription service streams graphically intense, HD video games through your wired or wireless broadband Internet connection to your computer or through its $99 mini console. What this does is essentially eliminate the need for a pricey gaming computer or even an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 in replace for a subscription fee, and now that power will be on your HTC smartphone.

HTC EVOAnd while no official statements have been made, this could be scaring the bejeezus out of social game creators like Zynga and Playdom who have just broken into the mobile scene. While their efforts have certainly been impressive, making effective use of Facebook Connect and the HTML5 format, they don't hold up very well to full-blown HD games. Sure, social games have their own unique qualities. But the runaway success of high-caliber mobile games like Infinity Blade for iPhone is a sign that there's a large audience for this type of game. Some of which who might have once been social gamers.

Not to mention HTC is on nearly every major cellular carrier in the nation from AT&T to Verizon and Sprint. Of course, Apple and other smartphone manufacturers like Motorola, Samsung and LG haven't made any public offers to OnLive yet. But what if HTC's deal with the company is non-exclusive? OnLive could potentially spread like wildfire. Movie fans already pay for mobile Netflix, so why wouldn't gamers pay for mobile OnLive too? Worse even, imagine if OnLive could implement Facebook Connect into its service, adding a social layer to all of its games.

Of course, this is all speculation. But OnLive on mobile phones--like this HTC EVO 4G rumored as the first to get OnLive, according to VentureBeat--poses a serious threat to the mobile social gaming movement. Could hardcore and social gamers coexist on mobile? Sure, but I'm willing to bet OnLive is after a good amount of the audience thatjust happens to dabble in both worlds.

[Image Credits: Amazon and Platform Nation]

Would you be interested in playing full-blown HD video games on your HTC phone? Which would you prefer more: mobile hardcore games or mobile social games? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
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