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OnLive On For June
by Jeff Gerstmann on
Pricing and availability announced for streaming game service.
In case you forgot, OnLive is designed to be a streaming game service. Rather than running games on your local PC hardware, OnLive runs them on some server farm somewhere and streams video of the game directly to your device. The demos keep showing Crysis running on an iPhone, which is a funny little proof of concept, but not an especially useful one. You'll be able to stream it to "virtually any device," according to the announcement, but at launch this really means "PCs and Macs through a small browser plug-in." Last year, the company showed off a tiny video decoder device that'll let you stream out to a TV, as well. This "MicroConsole TV adapter" will be discussed later this year.
As for publisher support, OnLive is set to have games from THQ, 2K, Ubisoft, EA, and WBIE. The service is expecting to have somewhere between 12 and 25 games available at launch, and some of the included titles are Mass Effect 2, Assassin's Creed II, and Borderlands.
I'll be interested to give this another shot at some point, but I remain very skeptical. Last time I was able to actually play a game via OnLive, it seemed like a neat idea that would never work for action games that value split-second timing, such as Burnout Paradise, which is what I played when I saw it. But paying a monthly fee, then paying additional rental/purchase fees, just so I can play a latent version of a game doesn't replace having actual hardware in your home. If that problem hasn't been solved, then it's hard to imagine OnLive appealing to anyone other than less-discerning players who wouldn't know any better.