OnLive: The 4th Major Console?
The OnLive service has been around for a while now, but this week the company unveiled a major overhaul of their service and hardware that should entice players in ways that can no longer be ignored.
OnLive brings PC games to your television, essentially bridging the gap between PC games and TV-based consoles. Until now, the service has been offered as a monthly subscription, but the introduction of new hardware has changed everything.
Perhaps taking a page from the new, more compact and affordable Apple TV, the OnLive “MicroConsole” is coming on December 2nd (pre-orders are being taken now), for just $99. Subscription fees have been eliminated, so that now you simply purchase a streaming game from OnLive, and it’s yours to play for life. For now, the MicroConsole is only available from OnLive’s website, but it’ll be coming to brick-and-mortar retailers next year.
The biggest news is the MicroConsole itself, which is tiny. I mean, crazy tiny. Check out this comparison photo from Joystiq that shows the hardware to be roughly the same size and footprint of a folded-up Nintendo DS. The $99 package comes with this, an HDMI cord, a wireless OnLive controller, and a free game of your choice (regularly $49.99). OnLive likes to brag that with their system, you never have to worry about discs, game updates, or hardware upgrades, because everything is handled via super-fast streaming software in the cloud. Thirty-five games are currently available, but lots more are on the way.
So what do you think? $99 is very affordable, and you get instant access to some great back titles — many of which are priced at less than twenty or even ten dollars. Plus, with forthcoming access to brand new blockbuster titles like Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and Duke Nukem Forever at $10 less per game than the console versions, Onlive is looking like a pretty attractive alternative to traditional console gaming.