The future of gaming just became cloudier with the launch of the OnLive Game System. Starting today, players looking to enlist in the game streaming revolution can do so by pre-ordering OnLive gaming gear from OnLive's virtual store, setting up their account and then twiddling their anxious gaming thumbs until December 2nd when the actual shipments begin.
The package costs a cool $99 and includes the OnLive MicroConsole TV adapter, an OnLive Wireless Controller and a free game from OnLive's established library as an extra incentive for early adopters.
Hovering in development for some time, the OnLive Game System is OnLive's attempt to expand its PC game streaming service to the masses by giving gamers the technology to stream video gaming content through their HDTVs by way of the MicroConsole and a strong internet connection. In direct contrast to console gaming, games are not physically 'owned' by OnLive members, but instead 'rented' via an OnLive account and streamed directly to MicroConsoles from a smattering of data centers.
With the ability to both play, watch and socialize with gamers around the world, OnLive's founder and CEO, Steve Perlman, is confident that the OnLive Game System is simply the tip of a much larger entertainment iceberg, noting: “Not only is the OnLive Game System the fastest, simplest way to play, watch and test-drive top-tier games instantly on the living room big screen, it also opens the door to a new world of options for gaming and entertainment – from media-rich social networking and massive spectating to game portability across TV, PC, Mac and mobile devices.”
In short: think Skynet with less killing and more Killzone. Except don't, because Killzone isn't available.
At launch, OnLive will offer over 35 games such as Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition, Mafia II, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Shaun White Skate and more. Future games are said to include include popular releases such as Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, F.E.A.R 3, Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Driver: San Francisco (which may take a little longer than the others).
All games can be demo'd for free with the option to rent and play instantly on a 3-day, 5-day or full pass. Prices range from $3.99 to $8.99 for rentals and $4.99 to $49.99 for full play passes; the gigantic caveat being that any and all access to games purchased are rendered null and void if you leave the service.
OnLive has stated that it has plans to roll out a flat-rate monthly fee and bring the same type of service to mobiles down the road.
So does it work as advertised? We'll see - you can bet that we'll be testing the OnLive Game System's functionality for ourselves very soon, but in the meantime, you can read up on all the details at www.onlive.com.
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