OnLive plans to start selling its gaming console for $99 on Thursday, with delivery starting on Dec. 2.
OnLive lets players stream video games over the Internet using technology similar to what is already used to stream movies. Games can be rented or bought with prices ranging from $4 to $50. OnLive offers 3-day or 5-day rentals and Full PlayPasses for the latest new-release titles, together with an upcoming flat-rate plan for unlimited access to the library of games and indie titles that will be available later this year.
At its launch, the OnLive Game System bundle will include a free game, the MicroConsole TV adapter, an OnLive Wireless Controller and all the cables needed for a current HDTV. Users will just have to plug in power, TV and Internet, sync their Wireless Controller and log in.
Streaming games is more difficult than music and movies because they cannot be compressed into smaller files before they are sent over a broadband connection. Since they are interactive, video games require an immediate reaction to the player's actions. According to OnLiv'es Beta testers, going from opening the box to playing a game in under 3 minutes. And after that first installation, from power-on to game start is as little as 15 seconds. Once connected to OnLive, most games start in less than 2 seconds, OnLive claims.
The OnLive gaming system plays games instantly without discs, downloads or updates needed. Users will be able to test-drive games and if they like them, they will be able to convert the trial into a rental or Full PlayPass instantly without having to start from the beginning. In addition, users will have the chance to watch live gameplay instantly played from everywhere, check out player profiles and "Friend" them.
The gaming performance is defined by OnLive?s data centers?not by the player's local hardware. The MicroConsole TV adapter is 1080p60, 3D TV-compatible and can be connected to a TV through HDMI or component video. It supports digital audio, surround sound through HDMI or optical and is equipped with low latency wireless or wired controllers. The device is also Bluetooth or USB headset-compatible for both in-game and out-of-game voice chat while it is also silent and energy-saving (6 watts.)
The OnLive Wireless Controller has been ergonomically designed to minimize fatigue and carefully weighted for comfort and performance. Exclusive media controls give users direct control of video, including snapping Brag Clip videos at the touch of a button. Variable-rate rumble also give users the feel of the game as you play.
Users who have PlayPasses for OnLive games on their PC and Mac can play those games on their MC and vice-versa. Some games require a keyboard or mouse, which users can hook up to the MC.