OnLive launches, but for who?

[Update: My membership became active Friday evening. I'll be putting the service through its paces over the weekend.] Remember OnLive, the video game streaming service that was first announced back at the 2009 Game Developers Conference? In March of this year, they announced a launch date of June 17th and according to a few sources (Engadget, Kotaku) they hit that launch date and are now live. I pre-registered for the service back on May 30th, when pre-reg first opened up, but I haven’t heard anything about my account being open. Nor have I managed to find anyone in my circle of gamer friends who have an active account. Their signup page says this:

Subject to availability, Founding Members will be selected from this Waiting List on a first-come, first-serve basis starting June 17th, 2010. Limited-time, limited-availability offer. See information below for additional terms of this program.

I suppose launching is pretty easy if you don’t allow anyone to actually use your service.

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OnLive is waiving the first year’s membership fees, and offering a second year at $4.95/month (the ‘regular’ cost is $14.95/month). This is a smart move, considering their terms. The deal is, you pay full-price or nearly full price for a game, plus the cost of your membership. If you cancel the service, you lose access to any content you’ve paid. This last bit makes sense; if the service streams the game to you and isn’t stored locally, so obviously you’d need a membership to access it. But one would think that since you’re essentially leasing the game, not owning it, that it’d come at a sharply discounted price. Even though OnLive is launched, there are still plenty of questions surrounding the service and the company certainly hasn’t been transparent about who gets in and how. I’m still skeptical of how well it’ll work and I’m skeptical of their business model. If and when their “micro-console” (which will let you access the service without a personal computer) launches if could open up the service of a new community of users, but I find it hard to imagine many PC gamers using the service as it stands today. Has anyone reading this gotten in, and if so, what has your experience been like?

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