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114 Comments

OnLive On For June

Pricing and availability announced for streaming game service.

 Users will be able to exchange video of their gameplay exploits and browse video user profiles.
 Users will be able to exchange video of their gameplay exploits and browse video user profiles.
In a talk given at GDC this morning, OnLive's Steve Perlman announced that the OnLive Game Service will go live on June 17, provided you live in the continental US. The base level of subscription service will run $14.95, with potential discounts for people willing to sign up for a multi-month subscription. That subscription doesn't include the actual rental or purchase of games, which will cost extra.

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.
Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
114 CommentsRefresh

Avatar image for djtann3r
Posted By DjTann3r

at this point the thing is just an addition... everyone that knows about it already has consoles.

Avatar image for gozertc
Posted By GozerTC

Personally I'm interested in this depending on how well it works.  I want a free trial and such to try it out and see if I'd even use it.  Also will depend on what games and and systems it will emulate.  I am on FIOS so I think it'll have a lot less lag than it could have so maybe it'd be worth it fo rme, not sure.   
 
Avatar image for cornonthecobbe
Posted By CornontheCobbe

This looks so interesting, and frankly I'm surprised and didn't think it would actually happen!

Avatar image for twoonefive
Posted By TwoOneFive

shit, if they can build more databases around the country this will work great.  
one thing i love is how amazingly user-friendly it is. video feeds everywhere, being able to instantly watch a friend and chat with him.  
its everything xbox live and psn wants to be, its just the whole lag thing is scaring people, but the idea that i can play Crysis on max setting in my living room is still pretty fucking intriguing. 

Avatar image for pop
Posted By Pop

im thinking the same thing as Jeff if it works like they said and you can't notice the difference then this will be the greatest thing ever, if not i'll give it a year of surviving but it will open doors to other companies to try and develope a better version.

Avatar image for psytek
Posted By Psytek

Come to my restaurant, where you have to pay 20 bucks to get in, and obviously you have to pay for your food too. 
 
What a bargain.

Avatar image for ryshe
Posted By RyShe

I have a five year old laptop if I onlive lets me play PC games less then ten years old I will pay anything for it, but if I'm honost I don't think it will work, so I'm stuck with the 360 and enviously looking at steam daily.

Avatar image for woltkezero
Posted By woltkezero

Instant Books, Music, Movies, and now Video Games..... 
 
Hell I even order pizza thru the internet..... 
 
I can only imagin what the VPH will do later (for the uninformed...that would be Virtual Personal Holograms).....shudder.....
Avatar image for woltkezero
Posted By woltkezero

YES my dear G-Bomers ONLIVE is not Vaporware.....HEheHAhaHOho... 
 
Dam I already signed up :-D cant wait to try it out. 
 
Remember Folks the ISP internet Speeds will only go up in the Future (I've already hurred of people with 100+mb now that is sic..) it will not slow down.  Remember all that BullShit in all those '80s movies that take place in the future...PEOPLE THE FUTURE STARTS IN JUNE..... OH SHIT...
Avatar image for septim
Posted By septim

Paying $15 a month + fees to stream 2-3 year old EA games you could have grabbed off Steam for $5-15 is laughable. 
 
Fundamentally it's a cool idea. The balance of content to price ratio is too out of whack as it stands.

Avatar image for dfsvegas
Posted By DFSVegas

I read a headline a few hours ago that mentioned a $14.99 subscription fee... My interest went through the roof. 
 
I come on here for some details, and I learn that the actual games will not be included in that fee, and will have to be purchased separately... And my interest came plummeting back through my roof, burrowed through the earth's crust, and is now floating down the river styx...  
 
At least I now know definitively that I no longer have to follow news about this product.

Avatar image for endrzgame
Posted By EndrzGame

"....it's hard to imagine OnLive appealing to anyone other that less-discerning player who wouldn't know any better."
 
That's the market that I'm sure these guys are going after. I know my self and my circle of gaming friends have no use for a service like this and have said as much in conversations. It'll be interesting to see what kind of market penetration OnLive achieves in it's first year, if any.

Avatar image for habibangel
Edited By habibangel

They should of brought this out when the next generation of consoles comes out.

Avatar image for killawogg
Posted By killawogg

im surprised that they did go the steam route with some miner changes.... instead of charging monthly why not sell the consoles out right and then sell the games like steam does? it just seems like thats more money to play games that i dont physically own and if the internet is down then im totally boned. good  idea but i think they are implementing it wrong.

Avatar image for dante_the_jedi
Posted By Dante_the_Jedi

What is going to happen the there severs are down...no games for you! I can very easily see there severs getting DDOS. But for me this is nothing as i live in the UK so we will not be getting this so on well.

Avatar image for fur1ousapollo
Posted By Fur1ousApollo

I think what I would have said has already been said above.
 
I think latency, the possibility of this going out of business and the subscription plus expense of games purchases that they might actually remove from the service at some point all make this sound hellishly unattractive.

Avatar image for bybeach
Posted By bybeach
@Renegade:  
 
Because of your first sentence-"I don't see why this complaint of paying for games and not having them is consistently being brought up. "  
 
The break in logic smacks one in the face, although yes there are variations of this model, sort of. With steam, I have forgone the packaging and hard disc that represents and is the game. This saves the publishers tons of money. But it is my choice and at least as I understand it, Steam will not deny you the game, again even if they fail. So it was my choice to pay the same price, but  have the game in digital form. After all, it is downloaded to my HDD. Steam does do the service of storing games for me, and eases dl'ing, mostly. They act as the material disc. Still of course there may be limited downloads by the company itself, and that is a point of contention. But with On live, it`s all on their side, your 50 bucks plus monthly charge and the very game you suppossedly bought. And thats exactly the cynical bs thats as bad as pirating. From my point of view, they deserve the pirates, not me who remembers that owning something mean`t i bought possesion and at least the personal liberty to use my copy, whenever. Like a book. like a cd. Even if virtual without the pages or plastic. 
 
I do have sympathy, but hell, somebody will always hustle you for need. Thats how they do it.
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Avatar image for angelkanarias
Posted By angelkanarias

now prepare for uninformed news reports all over this on summer.

Avatar image for cube
Posted By Cube

People who complain about not actually owning a game - I hope you've never bought a game on Steam.

Avatar image for regal
Posted By Regal

It's kind of sad seeing several people saying that they would want to see this fail horribly and how they would laugh if it did. I've been following Onlive for a while and and it's incredible what these guys are doing from an engineering perspective. It's interesting hearing about all the patents they've filed about things like compression algorithms and server routing that could have neat tech implications for more than just gaming in the future.  
 
I don't know why but I thought the GB community was more open minded. Had a more - healthy - skepticism that isn't expressed by scorn at people who are putting it on the line for something cool which they believe in. In my book you can respect that even if you obviously have no respect for the idea itself (but apparently literal-minded hate, strangely enough.)   

Avatar image for ptys
Posted By ptys

They're too late!.. This was announced last GDC... we now all own both console's so they're just not going to have a market to sell to in my opinion.

Avatar image for bd_mr_bubbles
Posted By BD_Mr_Bubbles

The inevitable lag will make this service useless for most games I see this failing rather quickly.

Avatar image for raikoh05
Edited By raikoh05

no ones isp is fast enough to make this better than using a real ass pc or console. when internet gets faster, it might be a worthy alternative for people without the hardware, maybe. 
but at the price it costs to get that service, if you really care about games you will buy your own hardware anyway. who is this for again?

Avatar image for kimparnage
Posted By KimParnage
@addictedtopinescent said:
" Neat idea, but I'm skeptical  "
What he said.. 
Avatar image for wwfundertaker
Posted By wwfundertaker

So its costs monthly and thats not for the game, whatever.

Avatar image for crusnchill
Edited By crusnchill

I don't like having to pay monthly fees for MMO's let alone anything else, so unfortunately this is a fail for me. :-(
 
Besides, I Iive in the UK so yes it dosn't affect me in any real way yet, but I'm still put off by the continual monthly fee. Especially so if it came over the pond to my country.

Avatar image for metiphis
Posted By Metiphis

Is there a chance the track could bend?

Avatar image for brunchies
Posted By Brunchies

15 dollars a month not including the games, I have a feeling this will bomb. 

Avatar image for fuzzylemon
Posted By FuzzYLemoN

Lies!
LIES!

Avatar image for addictedtopinescent
Posted By addictedtopinescent

Neat idea, but I'm skeptical 

Avatar image for lhaymehr
Posted By lhaymehr

The latency problem simply CANNOT be solved in the near future. Only solution is to convince users this is the shit so they eventually become numb to OnLive's shortcomings. We've seen Microsoft pull that off in pretty much anything they do. This, unfortunately, will probably be no different.
 
Fuck all.

Avatar image for mcxci
Posted By MCXCI

This sounded like a longshot last year and it doesn't sound any better today. I don't even think enough of the world has the online infrastructure to support OnLive enough for it to be profitable (awkward sentence, sorry).

Avatar image for renegade
Edited By Renegade
@bybeach said:

" No. I can see a few advantages, niche and perhaps main. But besides that monthly whatever being so high, or in conjunction with it, paying for games and not having them is a big no-no. Consumers are setting themselves up for Publishers paradise, where so much money flows on literally virtual products. I barely accept steam, but i am riding on their insistance that they are going to be honest and good, none will lose their games even if they fall.  This company On-Live has no pretense it sounds like, you are only buying the right to play the game, and we are  jammed against that wall, already. I understand how piracy has screwed things up, but this just sounds like a blatant rip the other way.  Not doing it, even if it benefieted me. which it doesn`t, So thats easy. "

I don't see why this complaint of paying for games and not having them is consistently being brought up. This is not taking over the world of gaming, this won't be the only way to get your games ever. This is simply a solution for people who don't have enough money to afford a high end PC, but still want to play anticipated games at a nice framerate without worrying about system specs.
 
People, please, get off your anti-corporate horses and take a breather.
Avatar image for ebritt
Posted By ebritt

Great idea, i sort of have faith that latency wont be too much of an issue, but at that price, i dont understand who would buy it. Casual gamers wont want to front the price and all those harcore enough for it to be worth the money, will believe they need a in house console for true gaming experience.
 
Maybe in a year or two it will come down in price as the technology gets cheaper but I dont think it will survive that long in the market at a price like this. If they have the money they should defiantly be taking the hit early on like MS and Sony do to reap the rewards later.  
 
We will soon see the price of new games and how they reduce over time and I understand the technology behind this must be very expensive but the average consumer doesn't care about that. They care about the product they receive at the end and the price they pay.

Avatar image for mracoon
Posted By mracoon

$14.95 a month is a bit of a hefty price just for the ability to rent more games. I'm still very sceptical about OnLive but I guess I'll have to see how it fares out in the wild before I totally dismiss it.

Moderator
Avatar image for spacekatgal
Posted By spacekatgal

I'm going to take a different position than the majority here. I'm a Mac girl. I have definitely spent my time PC gaming, but have had my fill. I will never go back to Windows, and even find Boot Camp irritating. I am really interested to see if this pans out. I'd really love to be able to play Crysis on my Macbook Air! I'm definitely going to try it when it comes out. 
 
I'm a lot more enthusiastic about Steam coming to Mac, though.  
 
Bri

Avatar image for takua108
Posted By takua108

I will definitely give it a try, if only because I'm curious as to how well this is going to work!

Avatar image for spazmaster666
Edited By spazmaster666

For me the appeal of OnLive has always been the technology and its potential in other fields such as video conferencing, rather than streaming games. So while I doubt it will catch on with most people (I mean its target audience is decidedly small to begin with) the tech may end up being more remarkable than the actual intended application.

Avatar image for kahi
Posted By kahi
@DarkGamerOO7:  If it means I can play Crysis on my Alienware M11x then I am all for it. Oh wait TEEHEE! ... in all seriousness though I would pay $15 a month if it meant I can play games without downloading/installing on my work PC and/or laptop for when I'm out and about bored at an airport/coffee shop/class/convention/etc...
Avatar image for DrSwank
Edited By DrSwank

Yea, some very interesting points were brought up. The resell is a huge issue. Say you do pay $360 dollars for two years of subscription, and say you spent about $200 on games, when you're done, you can't resell anything! Even an old PS3/Xbox 360 with a lot of good games will resell for $200 at least. 
  
So keeping that in mind, the monthly cost of subscription is more like 20-30$ when considering the exorbitant cost of depreciation with OnLive. The fact that you CAN'T sell your games, OR the console that you've spent $360 + on.  This is a LOSE LOSE situation for OnLive.  
 
This is more expensive than hardcore PC GAMING!!!

Avatar image for darkgameroo7
Posted By DarkGamerOO7

Oh OnLive yeah that sounds cool, oh wait I have to pay $15 a month just to get access to the service and then pay more to actually play games? Yeah no thanks.

Avatar image for hamz
Posted By Hamz

Conceptually it seems like a great idea but put into practice I can't see this working all too well.

Avatar image for juggaloacidman
Posted By JuggaloAcidman

This is a great concept, but I'm not willing to pay a membership fee and pay to rent games! We live in the world of Gamefly, RedBox, and Blockbuster... Then you get an actual disk that doesn't lag. Quite frankly, this is stupid business. OnLive is shooting themselves in the foot. People want a service like this to be simple, like Netflix. Thats why Netflix and Gamefly are doing so well... One monthly charge, keep it as long as you want. Simple! I'm not interested in micromanaging an account I use for FUN! I micromanage my bank account cause I have too... Not cause I want too. Anyway, if they want to make a service I'll use, 3 things have to happen. 1: One monthly fee  2: Save games have to be stored on MY device, not they're server... In case I want to purchase the game for-real-zees and use that save game  3: No lag from the servers... Flawless online play! Borderlands is laggy enough without streaming it from a remote location first!     Until then....... PASS!!!!
Avatar image for jayzilla
Edited By Jayzilla

I like all this talk of, "I want a hard copy of my games", "not paying a monthly fee+ price of games". Am I the only guy with a steam account and a gold membership that buys arcade games on xbox live  all the time? I think the thing that is gonna hurt them is the fact that it ISN'T coming in HD resolution until next year. But hey, if you're a Mac user you are stoked on this and Steam.

Avatar image for bybeach
Posted By bybeach

No. I can see a few advantages, niche and perhaps main. But besides that monthly whatever being so high, or in conjunction with it, paying for games and not having them is a big no-no. Consumers are setting themselves up for Publishers paradise, where so much money flows on literally virtual products. I barely accept steam, but i am riding on their insistance that they are going to be honest and good, none will lose their games even if they fall.  This company On-Live has no pretense it sounds like, you are only buying the right to play the game, and we are  jammed against that wall, already. I understand how piracy has screwed things up, but this just sounds like a blatant rip the other way. 
 
Not doing it, even if it benefieted me. which it doesn`t, So thats easy.
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Avatar image for demonstride
Posted By Demonstride

Good idea that probably won't work. I t would be nice if it worked well but still, paying monthly then paying for games it doesn't sound like a good deal to me.

Avatar image for fluxwavez
Posted By FluxWaveZ
@dcpc10 said:
" It's not gonna be available here in Canada? Fuuck. Well I doubt it'll be around long anyways xD "
@CL60 said:
" Bring this to Canada >.< "
You guys can't possibly want this...  Although, I am slightly dissapointed it's not coming to our country.
Avatar image for bubahula
Posted By Bubahula

eh, no thank you. none of your crazy cloud talk just yet.

Avatar image for lambert
Posted By Lambert

OnLIve is going to fail, and is going to fail hard. I hope it does. The only reason publishers are on board is so they can take even more control away from us gamers. This overpriced piece of shit needs to fail miserably. If my internet goes down, I lose all access to my games? Fuck that. 
 
OnLive is a terrible idea, and the infrastructure can not support this. It is worse than digital distribution on consoles. The console that has the worst online connectivity, the Wii, is the most popular system. I doubt people would want to try out this service. If the hardcore doesn't want it, who does?

Avatar image for brackynews
Posted By Brackynews

These box-attachment services don't have a great history of success *coughSegaChannel* in that, while nifty, there is never enough momentum to displace the established products. Namely retail games.
Inevitably network bandwidth will cease to be an issue, but server technology won't.  We're hearing this announcement on the heels of Ubi-server downtime.  You bet your ass that a constant internet connection is required for OnLive to work, but if their servers quit, then the entire catalog is inaccessible.  I don't think even Steam is so limiting, not that I'm aware if Steam's "launch check" servers have ever gone down....?
This is why I'm also leery about multiplayer-only console games.  Eventually that sucker goes next to your Matrix Online box.  Nothing to resell or trade in.  Just memories and screenshots, and some "feeling" of value extracted.  I think it's Yahtzee that refers to it as the "muh-more-pegging" (MMORPG) of the player experience.  Will what amounts to $15 per month and $1 per play make me feel the same way?
 
Despite that OnLive is in no way targeted to me, I am very interested to watch what effect it has on the industry.  Becoming the Netflix Instant-On of gaming may not happen, but it will make publishers rethink everything about their pricing structures, pay-to-play models, episodic delivery... even instruction manual design.  This compact physical product called a "boxed retail game", that has a beginning, middle, and end.. a contained experience... that containment no longer has to exist in order to bring a product of any size or scope to market.
 
And let's not forget that David Perry has his sights set on this space too.  I would call Perry a smart man.  It's going to be an interesting year.