OnLive Two Days From Launch

By Jim Rossignol on June 15th, 2010 at 5:51 pm.


The cloud-gaming service OnLive has reminded the world that it will launch on June 17th, and it seems that a limited bunch of sign-ups via this page will get their first year subscription for free. Not a bad loader. And worth a punt, if you live in North America, eh? Any of you lot planning to sign up even if you have to pay? I’d love to know how it performs in the wild…

I’ve posted the full press release below so you can see the full range of games and stuff.

Video Games Enter a New Era: OnLive’s Cloud Gaming Service to Take First Step on June 17

Video Games Enter a New Era: OnLive’s Cloud Gaming Service to Take First Step on June 17

OnLive Announces 1-Year Free Founding Member Program Presented by AT&T, Launch Titles and Additional Publishing Partners

LOS ANGELES, CA–(Marketwire – June 15, 2010) – E3 Expo 2010 — OnLive, Inc., the pioneer of on-demand, instant-play video games, today announced additional details regarding the June 17, 2010 launch of its games service, including its limited-time and limited-availability 1-Year Free Founding Member Program presented by AT&T, its full lineup of launch titles and additional publishing partners. Marking an important first step toward making instant gaming a reality, OnLive will begin activating accounts on PC and Mac® platforms to qualified pre-registered users beginning June 17, 2010.

“This launch is just the beginning for the OnLive platform. We’ll be rolling out new features, capabilities and performance improvements, continually adding new content along with the latest releases, and extending the service to more people,” said Steve Perlman, Founder and CEO of OnLive. “Today we’re taking the first step toward a future where video game content is increasingly free from the restrictions of device and location, while showcasing the ability to instantly play the latest, most advanced games at the touch of a button.”

To commemorate the launch, AT&T has teamed with OnLive to become the official partner of the company’s Founding Member Program. This limited-time and limited-availability program for qualified users will include a 1-year free membership to the OnLive Game Service, with an optional second year at $4.95/mo. The Founding Member Program presented by AT&T will be accepting signups beginning at 12:01 PM PDT on June 15, 2010 and continuing through 11:59 PM PDT on July 15, 2010. To sign up or learn more about program details and ongoing membership terms, visit www.onlive.com/att.

At launch, OnLive is offering a broad range of the most popular games from top publishers for instant play. Twenty-three* titles will be available on June 17, including:

* Assassin’s Creed II (Ubisoft)
* Batman: Arkham Asylum (Square Enix / Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
* Borderlands (Take Two Interactive Entertainment)
* Dragon Age: Origins (Electronic Arts)
* Just Cause 2 (Square Enix)
* Mass Effect 2 (Electronic Arts)
* NBA 2K10 (Take Two Interactive Entertainment)
* Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (Ubisoft)
* Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Conviction (Ubisoft)

OnLive will also announce new titles as they become available on the OnLive Game Service. Games coming soon include:

* Alpha Protocol (SEGA)
* Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood (Ubisoft)
* Darksiders (THQ)
* Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Square Enix)
* DRIVER San Francisco (Ubisoft)
* F.E.A.R.3 (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
* Homefront (THQ)
* Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days (Square Enix)
* LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
* MLB 2K10 (2K Sports)
* Red Faction: Armageddon (THQ)
* Shaun White Skateboarding (Ubisoft)

OnLive will have many other great games across a variety of gaming genres. For the full and most up-to-date list of currently available and soon-to-be-released titles, visit www.onlive.com/games/featuredgames.

Representing virtually every category of publisher, from industry leaders to creative independents, the OnLive platform has benefited from a broad base of publisher support. Previously announced partnerships include Electronic Arts, Take Two Interactive Software, THQ, Ubisoft and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Today OnLive is proud to announce several new publishing partnerships with industry leaders Square Enix, SEGA, Capcom and Konami Digital Entertainment. In total, more than 25 publishing partners are now supporting the OnLive platform.

“The incredible support we’ve received from our publishing partners has been instrumental in helping us get OnLive into people’s homes,” said Mike McGarvey, COO of OnLive. “These partnerships provide us with the great games we require to deliver the Just Play™ experience which introduces instant access and play functionality for the first time.”

The OnLive Game Service is an interactive platform that introduces a unique way for consumers to discover, explore and experience video game content. It offers immediate access to premium video game content on a PC or Mac via a broadband connection through a web browser, and soon on an HDTV via OnLive’s MicroConsole™ TV adapter. The OnLive Game Service is being featured in the company’s booth (#801) in the South Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2010 (E3 Expo 2010), June 15 – 17, 2010. The booth features the “Just Play™” theme which highlights the instant load and play functionality of the OnLive Game Service across an extended library of premium video game titles.

About OnLive
OnLive is the pioneer of on-demand, instant-play video game services, delivering real-time interactive experiences and rich media through the Internet. With groundbreaking, patent-pending video compression technology, OnLive harnesses cloud computing to provide the power and intelligence needed to instantly deliver the latest, premium game titles directly via a sleek, inexpensive MicroConsole TV adapter, or on PCs and Macs via a web browser. OnLive technology is backed by hundreds of patents and patents pending. The company is headquartered in Palo Alto, CA. OnLive investors include Warner Bros., Autodesk, Maverick Capital, AT&T, British Telecommunications (BT) and The Belgacom Group. More information is available at www.onlive.com.

OnLive, Brag Clips and MicroConsole are trademarks or registered trademarks of OnLive, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

* The full list of game titles that will be available on the OnLive Game Service for the June 17 launch include:

* aaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! — A Reckless Disregard for Gravity
* Assassin’s Creed II (Ubisoft)
* Batman: Arkham Asylum (Square Enix / Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
* Borderlands (Take Two Interactive Entertainment)
* Brain Challenge (Gameloft)
* Defense Grid: Gold (Hidden Path)
* Dirt 2 (Codemasters)
* Dragon Age: Origins (Electronic Arts)
* FEAR 2: Project Origin (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
* Just Cause 2 (Square Enix)
* LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment) demo now full version available at official launch 6/29
* Madballs in Babo: Invasion (Playbrains)
* Mass Effect 2 (Electronic Arts)
* MLB 2K10 (2K Sports)
* NBA 2K10 (Take Two Interactive Entertainment)
* Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (Ubisoft)
* Puzzle Chronicles (Konami)
* Red Faction Guerrilla (THQ)
* Shatter (Sidhe)
* Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Conviction (Ubisoft)
* Trine (Frozenbyte)
* Unreal Tournament III (Epic)
* World of Goo (2DBoy)

, .

58 Comments »

  1. Mac says:

    It’s doomed, doomed I tell ya :p

  2. Zyrxil says:

    I give it 2 years to fold.

  3. Rich says:

    “first year subscription for free”
    …which will give them access to demos and videos etc.
    If they actually want to play any games, they have to buy them. At full price no doubt, which is unlikely to drop any time soon.

    Essentially they’ve been given a PC for free for a year… except that they need to have bought a PC to access their other PC, in order to play the games they’ve bought.

    The only type of OneLive I might be remotely (heh) interested in is the mini console. But I don’t think that’s going to be available for a while. Also, why bother now the price of XBox’s is set to fall (in the US anyway).

    • bob_d says:

      Except it isn’t like getting a PC, it’s more like getting a slightly broken Xbox with the Live service; it’s a low-resolution, closed system with no flexibility (not to mention that it requires you to already *have* a computer).

      I don’t understand why anyone would subscribe to this instead of getting an Xbox, for example. The Xbox is already cheaper over the long-term, has the same games (with, what, one exception so far?), higher quality graphics, and you actually own both the system and the games, unlike Onlive. I can’t imagine they’ll be “selling” games at full retail price (since you’re actually just renting them). Unless the games they “sell” are very much cheaper than *used* Xbox games, though, economically this doesn’t make any sense, because you’ll be getting an inferior gaming experience at greater cost. There was talk of having extensive game previews, but I can’t imagine that would make up for all the deficits unless that was all you did with it, and even then…

  4. Flappybat says:

    It sounded like it could work, Netflix style, until it turned out you also had to pay for games which makes it a streaming version of Steam.

    • Rich says:

      A streaming version of Steam… that you have to pay a monthly subscription fee for.

  5. GrandmaFunk says:

    i’m guessing your bandwidth usage would also be negatively affected, possibly incurring even more costs.

    • Premium User Badge

      Thermal Ions says:

      Hence AT&T’s willingness to jump on board I imagine.

  6. Andrew says:

    Not North America. Just the US.

    • Andrew says:

      Sorry, for the free stuff. Got to stop this drive-by button pressing habit of mine.

    • Premium User Badge

      Devan says:

      Yeah, I went and signed up as kind of a “hey, why not” thing, only afterwards realizing it’s only for the 48 states. They could have at least halted the form submission due to invalid zip code, but it’s probably more important for them to collect email addresses.

  7. Alaric says:

    I signed up just to take a look if they give me that free year. Otherwise – not interested.

  8. Ashtaar says:

    Tag win.

  9. Medina says:

    Out of the selection of games they are offering I already have everything I would want to play.

    And from the side by side comparisons with localy run games its clear that the machines onlive games are run on definitely don’t have their graphics set to high. I wouldn’t be suprised if they come out with a premium subscription for people who want better graphics.

  10. Premium User Badge

    Sagan says:

    Also they came out at a bad time. The way I see it we are at the end of the hardware race. There are very few things that you can’t do with today’s hardware. Most developers don’t even fully use today’s hardware. There will probably be another big leap with the next console generation, when stuff like infinite detail will become commonplace, but if you upgrade your computer after that you will have enough processing power in there to play most of the games that will ever be made. (OK maybe not ever but I’m talking a very long time here. Until something new, like advanced AIs, comes along)
    After that what is the point of a service like this?

    • Peter says:

      There are very much more things that would be available with stronger hardwares. The entire rendering pipeline can be moved from polygonal geometry to voxels (that is, objects build from tiny 3-dimensional pieces of mass), and lightning is still far from realistic. There is very much potential in there still hardware-limited. Probably gameplay-wise, too.

    • Batolemaeus says:

      Made even worse by the fact that you can get a computer for less than 400 bucks that will run all games offered offered by the service at a higher quality.

      Unless the games are very cheap, you’ll actually save money by buying a cheap pc long term..

  11. Samuel Bigos says:

    Can somebody please explain to me how they do this without input lag. If I had a 50ms connection to their server, I would get 50ms of lag on my mouse, which is huge.

    • Radiant says:

      Exactly.
      I don’t understand how they are streaming two ways without delay.
      I don’t care what compression and bandwidth you have distance is distance.

      What is the minimum spec for the user’s comp?
      Can I play on a netbook?

    • Peter says:

      You do send your input data to the server in every multi-player game, and it sends you back the updated game logic data. The only difference in this tech, really, is just the amount of data sent back to you, as it sends compressed images and audio instead of game logic for your game client to process.

    • DrGonzo says:

      The minimum spec is that you can run a browser that can stream video smoothly I think. So a netbook SHOULD work.

      That’s the only appeal I can see. If it didn’t have a monthly subscription or that subscription gave you the games, I may have got this for my girlfriends netbook so we could play things 2 player. As it is it’s way too expensive.

    • DrGonzo says:

      @Peter

      There isn’t input lag when playing online though. That was his point, there may be lag for your actions actually apply to the server but there is no lag on your actual controls.

    • Samuel Bigos says:

      Indeed DrGonzo. Playing with a 100ms delay on your mouse would be a massive disadvantage.

    • Carra says:

      “Huge input lag”. I’d be very glad if I just had 50ms in any multiplayer game. It’s not noticeable.

      In any case, we’ll have to try it out and see if it works.

    • Tei says:

      “You do send your input data to the server in every multi-player game, and it sends you back the updated game logic data. ”

      Wrong.

      Try that. First, play with Winquake.exe in a server with 200 ping. You will notice how hard is. Now play QuakeWorld.exe in any server with 200 ping. You will notice that is perfectly playable.

      Online will play exactly like Winquake.


      In any online game, your input is computed localside, and the screen is updated based on that.

    • Brian says:

      I’m fairly certain that there are no mouse-driven games (nor even a mouse-driven UI) – it’s all done with keyboard or gamepad. These input devices feel just a smidge more forgiving than the mouse when it comes to lag.

    • Peter says:

      Looking around with your mouse can, of course, be computed local, but the result of your actions, moving, shooting will be only predictions, approximations until the update from the server arrives. That’s why you receive lag as little corrections of your position, getting shot out of sight and so on.
      Part of this can be done with streaming too – with some overhead, probably there are some clever people at OnLive that managed to solve this. In a recent Gamasutra interview they talked about a maximum lag of 25ms, we’ll see (well, Americans will see) what can they get out of that.

    • bob_d says:

      @ Peter:
      In this case absolutely nothing is being done client-side; all the user’s computer is doing is receiving video and sending information about mouse and keyboard activity. Multiplayer games are *designed around* dealing with lag; everything that can be done client side, is, and a minimal amount of information is sent back and forth (*not* every key-press). Multiplayer games constantly have to reconcile the different views of each client with each other and the server, which inevitably diverge due to lag, etc. There’s a reason why MMOs are essentially turn-based games. Onlive is the opposite, it can do *nothing* to compensate for lag, which unlike any multiplayer game will apply to every single thing you do in a game. You move your mouse to change your view and nothing will happen until that information reaches the server, is transformed into video and the resulting video is streamed back to you. Any lag at all would make play incredibly painful as the controls would feel sluggish at best.

  12. Bender says:

    :D

    I missed that one

  13. Robin says:

    Broken business model.
    Inappropriate application of the technology.
    Persistent refusal to address independent experts’ concerns.

    It’s going to fail spectacularly, and probably legally messily.

  14. Manley Pointer says:

    Maybe I misunderstood their pre-release hype. I thought their service was to let people stream console games onto their PCs? Almost all the games they list were already ported to PC…did I misunderstand this, and it’s only a service for people who would rather pay a monthly fee (and depend on an iffy internet connection) than upgrade their graphics card? That seems pretty pointless.

    • user@example.com says:

      You – unfortunately – misunderstood. The system was always intended to charge PC gamers money to let them play PC games on their PCs.

      I feel like there should be a “Yo dawg” in there somewhere…

    • Manley Pointer says:

      My bad! Would have been slightly interesting the other way, but as a Secret Console Owner I wouldn’t really have cared.

    • user@example.com says:

      I would have liked it, especially if it let me play the one or two 360 and PS3 games I care about on a PC. I really want to play them, but there are like two on each console that I really care about, and that’s just not enough to make me buy one yet.

  15. DrGonzo says:

    I think the thing that frustrates me most about this is that I think this could potentially be the future of games, just not yet. If this is a big enough flop no one will ever want to try it again.

  16. Skusey says:

    It seems odd that after all of the hyping of “Crysis on a netbook” it’s not one of their launch titles.

  17. Mad Doc MacRae says:

    Hopefully this flops. Think about what this would do to the modding scene if it eventually becomes popular and widespread.

    • Thants says:

      I agree. You think the Ubisoft internet-connection-DRM causes problems, if this became the norm it’d be that times 10.

  18. Clovis says:

    I really don’t understand the group that thinks the service is not worth $5 a month just because you also have to pay for the games. I always assumed that you’d have to pay for the games, and probably full price. It would be cool if you could rent the games, or have access to all their games for like $20 more a month or something.

    However, none of this matters since I don’t see how the lag will be overcome. Also, people have mentioned that these games aren’t running with the graphics set to high. That doesn’t even make sense. It seems like the difficult part is the whole communications aspect. Bandwidth/lag problems don’t really increas if they turn the graphics up, right? They are just send the image\audio. Maybe the games don’t look great because of the video compression, not the original settings. Anyway, I guess they didn’t want to spend to much on the equipment to actually run the games. That’s rather lame, but the idea of renting a powerful computer to play games for $5/month seems very, very reasonable.

    • bwion says:

      @Clovis

      Well, $5 a month is somewhat less than I was expecting, but surely you can see how, given the choice between just buying games at $50 a pop and paying $60 a year for your subscription and still buying games at $50 a pop, people would not naturally opt for the latter. I can see a few circumstances where it’d be worth it (if you could register games you already own with the service, and if you genuinely can play games even passably well on anything with an internet connection, for example), but not many.

      Mind you, I’d sign up for the chance at a free membership just out of curiosity, but I don’t particularly want them having my credit card details, especially if there’s no guarantee that (a) I’ll actually get a free membership or (b) that canceling a paid membership wouldn’t be a huge pain.

    • bob_d says:

      Since it was previously announced that it would be $15 a month (which financially made less than no sense for consumers), I’m wondering if the $5 is a special price that only applies to people who sign up now and then only for the first year of paid service. I’m still assuming it’s going to be closer to $15 a month, in reality.

      Perhaps that really is the final price, and they’ve they ended up subsidizing the service with ads, or they’re getting a bigger cut of the game “sales” or something along those lines (as I can’t imagine $60 a year would cover *their* costs). That’s actually pretty reasonable, assuming the games aren’t expensive, but that’s a big assumption. The problem is that this isn’t really a replacement for a PC, but for a console, and given the time between console generations now, you could buy a console for less over the same period of time. Granted this doesn’t cover the additional cost of Xbox Live, but I doubt Onlive’s community aspects will be its equal. Perhaps, though, the Onlive social network aspect will be equal or superior to Xbox’s Live service, in which case if you don’t mind low-rez, lagged, compressed, un-modable PC gaming this would be a great service at a fantastic price. That is, however, a lot of assumptions in their favor.

    • Urthman says:

      If I pay $50 for Just Cause 2, it’s mine to keep. I can play it today, tomorrow, next month, and five years from now.

      With Onlive, I pay a monthly fee + ($20? $30? $50?) to essentially rent Just Cause 2 for as long as I keep paying my subscription or until they go out of business.

  19. Starky says:

    I’d give it a shot if it was a netflix style monthly subscription all you can eat gaming service…

    As a sub + buy games service they can GTFO.

  20. Vinraith says:

    Hopefully it will fail so spectacularly no one will even try it again for a good long while. I fear this kind of iron grip server-side control is the inevitable future of gaming, I’d like to put it off as long as possible.

  21. Teachable Moment says:

    Two days from launch, two years from closure.

  22. Ed says:

    I can’t help but notice the name “Ubisoft” cropping up several times in that article.
    Can’t pirate an interactive video stream after all ;-)

  23. Bassism says:

    On the one hand, this is an intriguing idea to me. My four year old MBP has gotten to the point where it can no longer run any of the games they list on the service, a few of which might be fun to play around in.
    I wouldn’t mind paying 5 bucks a month to be able to play them, compared to the 500+ it would cost me to buy a new pc. Paying for the games would also be acceptable to me…. if I bought the game, got a digital download I could keep forever and play on my hardware at my leisure, and got to play through the service.
    If, however, I’m buying access to their copy of the game, and it’s not incredibly cheap, then it’s a no-go.

    Aside from the fact that I have no idea how they’ll be able to deal with latency. Something like Dirt 2 would be impossible with any lag whatsoever, as near as I can tell. For instance, every racing sim I play ends up with cars jumping around or disappearing for a few seconds at a time in order to deal with lag. Or if it’s not handled as gracefully, as in LFS, you’re barrelling down a straight when all of a sudden you’re spinning 20 feet in the car because somebody lagged out.

    Now, given a flawless, low-latency internet connection, it’d be passable. But I expect that most who have a really great internet connection probably also have a high-end pc that can just run these games. Ah well. Time will tell I suppose.

  24. TenjouUtena says:

    You know, I might actually be interested if this worked in sort of a metered gameplay system. Like maybe I pay $1 / hour to play something. A lot of those games I’m interested in, but I’m not $60 interested in.

    Of course, what would be best is either flat/open ($20/mo for everything) Or hybred ($1/hr that goes to purchase of full game). But without some sort of motivation, like alternate pricing structure, I see zero point in signing up for this service at this time.

    • TenjouUtena says:

      Also, it seems pretty shady that the site hardly mentions that you actually have to buy the games to play them. There’s a note in one of the FAQs about purchasing games. But there’s no FAQ about ‘What happens to my Purchased Games when I Cancel?’ Hrm hrm

  25. malkav11 says:

    I genuinely have no idea, at all, why anyone would want the service they purport to be offering. It doesn’t matter to me if it works or not (I doubt it would for most people). It’s basically all the restrictions of Gametap (no control over game files, meaning no modding and no keeping your saves if you leave the service even for a moment, limited selection, reliant on their servers) with none of the benefits (access to everything in that selection for one low, low subscription fee, mainly). It is an utterly terrible idea. God help us all if it proves even slightly successful in this form.

  26. M says:

    Contrary to many here, I believe this is actually going to take off, which is very bad.

    Once publishers realize they don’t even need to give us the actual game anymore, we’ll truly be royally screwed and held hostage at the whim of the moneybag pigbastard megacorporation dreadlords.

    No, seriously.

    At the very least, this is going to be big to huge for the mobile / netbook / crap-hardware-but-away-from-home crowd.

  27. FriendlyFire says:

    “Away from home” tends to mean poor/horrible Internet connection, which in turn means OnLive would be useless anyways.

    I just don’t see any plausible target audience for this.

  28. ET says:

    I’ll be eagerly waiting for the reviews. Not that I live in the US, but this sounds pretty exciting to me (assuming it works well). The game lineup also looks promising.

    What I’d like to see in the future is MMO’s. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but I think they’re very suitable for this service. If you play an MMO you know you want to play it as much as possible, anywhere. OnLive gives you just that — the ability to play it without having to install 10GB (or whatever) on a new PC, it allows you to play on a netbook, … It’d be even better once OnLive can work with lower bandwidth connections.

  29. ET says:

    After reading the technical FAQ, it’s clear to me that it’d be initially impossible to support what I want (i.e., gaming on a netbook via wifi). So the initial release indeed doesn’t have a lot of appeal. Having to use a wired network connection is a serious limitation.

  30. Rob says:

    Exactly! Why would I want to pay $4.95/month and then have to pay basically retail price to play a game. I mean, isn’t that what I get for free with Steam??