Cloud gaming means that you don’t physically own the games you play – you don’t even need a high-end PC or fancy console to play them on. Instead, players become subscribers who merely control the action, while all the processing takes place on powerful remote servers. Access to games is practically instant, and all user inputs are effectively streamed back in near real-time.
The standard OnLive set-up costs £69.99 and consists of a slick joypad and the OnLive ‘Microconsole’. The latter, which is as tiny as the name suggests, plugs straight into your broadband router and out to your TV via HDMI. All the necessary cables are included in the box.
Alternatively, players can hook up on PC or Macintosh. A small browser download is required, and users can opt to plug in a compatible joypad – a wired Xbox 360 controller worked for us. Otherwise the service is exactly the same.
OnLive launches with a range of over 100 games, including many big name releases such as ‘Batman: Arkham Asylum’, ‘Dirt 3’, Deus Ex: Human Revolution’, ‘LEGO Harry Potter and many more. All are priced from £1.99 to £39.99, but your very first purchase will cost just £1.
Three or five day rentals are an option if you’re not looking for lifetime (virtual) ownership. However, the most tempting offer is the all-you-can-eat ‘PlayPass’, which gives unlimited access to most games in the OnLive library and costs just £6.99 a month. BT Broadband customers are offered the first three months absolutely FREE.
Speaking of freebies. OnLive is giving away the Microsconsole package at this weekend’s Eurogamer Expo – Earls Court, September 22-25. Stocks are limited, though, so act quickly to avoid disappointment.
So what are the catches with OnLive? They’re very few, in fact. Users will need a moderate internet connection – a 3MB line is recommended – there’s no SCART output for older model TVS and the service is not supposed to be used by players under 13 years of age. The upsides are that it’s cheap, easy to use, most games have free demos and any there’s very little lag between player inputs and the on-screen results.
Edited by MrGrandTheftAuto, 22 September 2011 - 09:36 PM.