OnLive launching in June, starts at $14.95 per month

By on March 10, 2010, 3:12 PM
It's been almost a year since OnLive first unveiled its ambitious games-on-demand service at the 2009 Game Developers Conference. Now, after going through a rather limited "public" beta stage and facing both praise and skepticism, the company is getting ready for a commercial roll out on June 17. According to an official announcement today, OnLive will launch in the 48 contiguous United States and will cost $14.95 per month.

That fee, however, only includes playing demos, several social features, and watching other people's games in real time. If you want to play a game yourself, they are offering the option to buy or rent for an additional lower-than-retail price. OnLive's games library will include between one and two dozen titles from the likes of Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, 2K Games, THQ, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

There have been some concerns regarding the service's quality but the company is promising a fluid and lag-free experience -- clearly they have a lot to live up to. Standard-definition games will reportedly require a 1.5Mb/s connection, while 1080p high-definition gaming at 60 frames should be available sometime in 2011 and will require 5Mb/s. OnLive will initially be available on Windows and Mac OS X systems through a small browser plug-in, with a MicroConsole that can be attached directly to HDTVs arriving later this year.

User Comments: 35

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levar said:

So regardless Mac users would've still had games, but Steam is would be the better way to go. This thing really isn't doing it for me, I like the idea and the whole concept Onlive is trying to bring but there really isn't no difference point, even though I don;t know much about this for; lets say users are playing MW2 online is this just limit to just playing with other Onlive users...? Or PC aswell? But put all that aside I'm looking forward to the retail services, I do like the fact they're bringing out games that you can for just ~$15 where'as games are like $50-60 bucks (cost of new games). I also would like to know more about the system itself, going to the site after this to check it out and see if I can find anything.... do we have to register again even if I did years ago?

pgbsamurai said:

I'm still pretty skeptical of the whole thing. Even with a very highspeed connection, if you are physically too far from the server your ping is going to be very noticeable. You might have beautify graphics on a weak system, but your controls are always going to be sluggish. It is bad enough when just positional data is being transferred in modern multiplayer games without having to worry about video and sound transmission as well. Not to mention the fact that they are requiring you to buy the games even though you have to pay a subscription. That's going to kill it too.

Sketchy Meister said:

Just as I was sort of excited to try this out, too. $15 seems like way to big of a cost to switch over from Live at less than $5, and PSN and PC for free. Very disappointing.

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

Well that's better priced than I thought it was going to be.

MrAnderson said:

They might be hard pressed to get people to pay approx 15 dollars just to play Demos, watch their asociates play, and for social features.

Unless Demos are similar to the old sharewares it is not worth much given the price point. Granted watching a live stream of a friend play could be cool and this immediate info is unique, but again the price is too high. Okay, I have no idea what social features they are going to implement, but Twitter and Facebook, Xbox live, and even Steam is available at far less an up front cost. The main thing is that broadband in most areas is not reliable and and Onlive will be blamed if the ISPs are the ones at fault. To much to pay on such a gamble I say.

Finally games and rentals would have to be dirt cheap for me to even be bothered. I suppose eventually this business model will be more prevailent. Thus I give credit to the pioneers. But I'm not ready to put all that control in someone elses hands. This would have been a great service to sample games. But I rather just get gamefly considering the price.

In the end it is a wait and see for me. Nothing is jumping out at me yet as the best thing since Super Ninitendo.

Docnoq said:

This whole OnLive service still seems a bit hazy to me. What exactly is meant with the option to "buy" games? Does that mean you can purchase the game once, then play it for as long as you want through OnLive without paying a monthly subscription fee? Or does their rental service normally limit the amount of time you can play a certain title without purchasing it?

I am quite positive this service will not be good enough to lure me away from my PS3 or PC gaming, but if I currently did not own a gaming PC or console it might be tempting; as long as the details do not kill its potential.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

While I'm sure this is eventually the future...I can't see it happening at the moment. I just don't see everyone subscribed to the service experiencing lag and sluggish free game play. And what's with the pricing? $15 subscription fee to have access to the network on top of game purchases/rentals? That's a bit pricey for just demos and friends list I can get elsewhere. If new games aren't steeply discounted this might cost you more in the long run for less. Guess we'll see once it's OnLive .

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

"..clearly they have a lot to live up to." Boy, you can say that again. As others have mentioned this looks to be a good idea, I'm just not convinced it's a feasible financial model. $14.95 a month to give you what you can already get for free with any Internet connection. And then to incrementally add on as you "rent" games. Lastly, the whole connection speed thing, especially with 1080p.

Think I'll keep my investment dollars in my pocket on this one. Just too many potential negatives.

DryIce said:

I don't think this will be an effective way to game.

fwilliams said:

I know the company needs to make money, but 14.95 per month plus monthly high speed access just to play demos. I think 4.95 would be the sweet spot for most users. Besides you still have to purchase the games and you will only be able to play them using the OnLive service. I do hope it works out for them though.

Wolfanoz Wolfanoz said:

Pay $15 a month and for each game whether to rent or buy on top of it? Fail!

UT66 said:

pay for demos? no sir it gets better! pay for input lag ridden lagy, compressed, noisy demos! YES, I CANT WAIT!

Timonius Timonius said:

This is definitely one idea that is going to need more than just a 'proof of concept'. The limited beta needs to be greatly expanded to test its true potential. And you're going to have to do a lot of advertising and convincing for this to take off. Good luck!

mrtraver said:

I would like to see this work, as it would be cheaper than buying a gaming laptop, but i agree with others that $15 appears pretty steep for the features you get. But maybe the games themselves are only $.99! (OK, one can dream, can't he?) I still have my doubts about how well it will work on a wide scale implementation, but again, hoping for the best for them!

pipopaz said:

So wait, you are paying 15 monthly to do exactly what? Play demos, I don't want to play part of the game I want to play it complete. Social networking, isn't that already online and free? Also, why would i pay to watch someone else playing. It just seems to me the 15 dollar membership is just a way to reap of gamers, unless they truly stated the rental/ownership of the games I'm staying away.

jacob007 said:

I have really high hopes for OnLive i hope this proves to be the way of the future.

two things make this truly revolutionary... Everyone can play on any platform and it's impossible to pirate.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I agree the $15 is disappointing. I was expecting $15, but including games, not just for the service. I can understand the high price, because the back end is costly (high end PC's to play the games) and the bandwidth is a killer, but the service will IMO attract a lot more users if people could spectate for free and perhaps get some limited play time for free. I think that OnLive should try alternative revenue sources, such as ads. I wouldn't mind having small ads overlaid over the game I'm watching, etc., and pay real money for actual game time.

As for the service itself, I think the specs are right. 1.5Mb/s for low-def is a very good starting point to make all those integrated graphics notebook into gaming machines. Hopefully OnLive will run fine on netbooks, which will surely make many people happy (except for the need to pay $15 a month).

And frankly, $15 a month is really a bad price for this service. You get a collection of games that's available pretty much anywhere, on even your lowest end PC's, with no need to install them. Visiting your family? Just install a browser plugin, and you could quickly play the latest games on their Pentium 4 / GeForce 5200 machine (well, maybe, will have to wait for the full requirements).

gobbybobby said:

I only have a 1.5 meg connection on a good day, and with 3 otehr Internet users in my house. This is NO for me. Roll on That amazing 2 meg of Broadband the government have promised by 2012! I

Guest said:

I would rather spend 360 dollars every 2 years on hardware upgrades witch encreases performance for everything on the pc then pay 15 dollars a month just to play demos and watch friends play

yangly18 yangly18 said:

I'm not sure who would actually pay $15 dollars for demos that you can get free. I know for sure I would never use the function of watching a friend play because I'm a gamer- I'd rather be playing the game then watching it. As far as the networking goes, if it's anything like steam (which is free!) then it's a rip-off. Sure it's nice to be able to download games for a lesser price, but unless you are buying more then a couple games a month, that $15 a month will catch up to you. Might as well just go play WoW...

LGraves said:

No thanks. Sounds a bit sketchy to me.

rskapadia2294 said:

hey guys at ONLIVE! u r doin a gr8 work! keep it up! but $15 per month! n dat to for jus demos! dats pathetic! take my opinion! lower the prices and u will see ur company blooming! but the technology u have invented is gr8!

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

@yangly18, it's nothing like Steam. You don't download the games, you play them online.

BTW, the first 25,000 to sign up ( will get 3 months free.

I also like the idea of the "micro-console that can be attached directly to HDTV" (quoting from the GameSpot coverage).

Richy2k9 said:

hello ...

it's a nice concept, would love to see it work, yet it will be hard for the servers to handle a lot of gamers playing different games simultaneously, unless the class of services is of very high level with their hosting ISP & they have more than very high bandwidth.

well, i posted on techspot's PSN + HD film something about anew CISCO router that can & will change the Internet, when these babies would be available, i don't think there will be a problem...

soon the Internet will evolve (again), but till then Onlive will have to fight hard against consoles & PC.

If they propose exclusive titles may get some interest from most gamers, even to those owning all physical gaming machines to date.

let's see, time will tell!


mattfrompa mattfrompa said:

Interesting...I thought 720p would be available immediately with a 5 Mb/s connection. When this service was mentioned before, I and several others expressed concern over the clients ping and jitter having a huge effect on game play.These concerns are still valid haha. $15 dollars does seem like a lot for just a cover charge. With a <24 game library, I find it even more difficult to even consider this a good deal at launch. But I would like to emphasize that I realize my complaints may dissolve as the platform evolves. But it seems like right now, many stars must align for this to be worthwhile.

fref said:

I'd have to try a demo first because I'm really not convinced that this will work as well as the more traditionnal way of playing games. Plus, the pricing is not that interesting if you need to pay 15$ every month and then some more to actually play a full game, not just a demo. Good luck OnLive!

LightHeart said:

Band Wagon

I got to jump on the posts band wagon. $15 a month to play demos and social stuff, plus you have to pay to actually play a game is just too much. You can get demos for free in many places, hence the term demo. I'll put that money toward other games. Actually if I just put that money aside for 6 months I could afford a new 32GB SSD instead.

BlindObject said:

Good for people who don't wanna upgrade, I didn't drop over a grand on my computer to stream games.

seefizzle said:

So I have to pay 15 dollars a month, and still buy the video games? And there's a better than average chance that the games will lag? I think I'll just stick to buying my games from retail, or torrenting them, and playing them on my computer as is. I'd rather take a graphics drop because my graphics card sucks than to play a game with a ton of lag.

Yoda8232 said:

$15 a month plus the price of renting the game? Fail.

PC gaming will still win.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Yah, the more I hear about this service (including the reported laggy and unresponsive play during beta testing), the less I am impressed. I think somebody was smokin something questionable when they came up with the pricing structure, I mean $15/month just for the basic connection? Then you pay more for a title you want to "buy" to play, but it's still all virtual and completely dependent on their service quality? Really?

So in 6 months, when the service fails due to lack of interest in overpaying for lower quality, all those suckers (err, I mean customers) who paid for games get what? A nod and a wave and a "thanks for your money" note maybe?

At least with services like Steam, you have some stability to count on for you games to be there for you. I wouldn't trust something like OnLive until it had proven it will be around for a long while. I think that if most people think like me, it will doom the service to failure before it even gets off the starting block.

JMMD JMMD, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I'll be amazed if this lasts more than a year. I just can't see people paying so much money for this service. The idea is interesting but I imagine the performance is going to be terrible. The price is certainly high IMO.

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

Wow, I thought that this concept might just bring in more people to the PC gaming community, but after seeing their marketing model, I'm afraid that it will fail.

zyodei said:

Just what the already overloaded pipes of the Internet needs..people playing high resolution games in real time. What a tremendous waste of a finite resource. Hope it dies fast.

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