After a year of teasing skeptics, OnLive finally announced a launch date and price earlier this week. For $14.95 a month, users will have access to demos, various social features and the ability to watch others play games. You'd expect at least a handful of full length titles to be included as well, even if for a limited time to sweeten the deal, but that doesn't seem to be the case. The platform will open with around 20 games and those will bear an additional undisclosed charge -- supposedly discounted versus standard retail pricing.
With such a limited library barricaded by a double-layered pay wall, it might be difficult to get gamers onboard the new service. Without revealing specifics, OnLive COO Mike McGarvey said customers can look forward to "original, exclusive" content from developers of all sizes, but it remains to be seen exactly what that entails.
To be completely fair, pricing for games has not been revealed yet. In our opinion, if new releases were marked down by, say, 30+% it might be easier to look past the monthly payment, though you would still forfeit a lot of control. For instance, they will always be locked behind OnLive's subscription. If for any reason you could no longer afford that fee, you would presumably lose access to your entire game library. On the other hand, with OnLive you are not expected to upgrade your PC as often, you can play your games virtually anywhere, and assuming it works as advertised, it could pose fewer hassles (no installs, driver troubles, etc). Considering that other experienced giants like Blizzard and EA have often had trouble keeping up with massive online demands when launching blockbuster titles, it will be interesting to see if OnLive can deliver a hiccup-free experience next June.
With all this in mind, and if there’s indeed a market for cloud-based gaming, is it large enough to keep OnLive in business? From what you’ve heard so far, are you interested? And if not, what would it take for such a service to win you over? Discuss.