OnLive Game System Console Review

The folks at OnLive recently debuted their new platform for playing video games online using cloud technology. It does for video gaming what Netflix did for the video rental industry. The OnLive gaming system basically eliminates the need for gamers to go out and buy the newest Xbox 360 or Sony Playstation 3 game console. The OnLive cloud gaming system is full of potential and a great concept, but like any other new technology, there are some growing pains.

$99 MicroConsole and controller bundle
$99 MicroConsole and controller bundle | Source

The Black Box

The OnLive video game system utilizes a small black box called the "MicroConsole". The MicroConsole is about the size of your hand and costs $99. It has one HDMI video output, two USB ports and an Ethernet port. The MicroConsole is required for playing games on HDTV. PC users don't need the MicroConsole, but video resolutions are limited to your monitor's resolution. OnLive provides a wireless game controller with the MicroConsole, but compared to a good Xbox 360 controller, leaves a lot to be desired. The OnLive controller just feels too bulky and has some lag issues. The good news is that the MicroConsole supports Xbox 360 controllers, computer keyboards and mice.

Logging In

When you log in to the OnLive game system, you are taken to the OnLive homepage where you can immediately start purchasing and playing video games on demand, editing your profile, and even watch other players as they play their favorite games. The interface is a little similar to Xbox Live, where you can perform several functions from a shortcut button on your controller. The navigation system is quite entertaining itself, but the reason people log on is to play games.

Game play is a s simple as choosing a Game category and then clicking on the particular game you want to play. It can take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes for the games to load, depending on the game's complexity. You are also able to save games and pick up where you left off later or play something else without the hassle of swapping disks in and out of a game console.

Internet Connection Speed

To use the OnLive game system you'll need a fast broadband Internet connection such as cable or fiber-optics. DSL just won't cut it. According to OnLive, a 6 mbps connection is really the minimum standard for a decent high definition, non-lagging game experience. Even at that speed the connection will need to be dedicated to the online gaming session, because background processes will dramatically affect gameplay quality. The cloud video games on demand concept is great because all processing takes place on the host server, freeing up the local machine's resources, thus improving game performance. However, the current reality is that few gamers consistently have the connection speed for HD online gaming.

Play video games on demand such as Unreal Tournament III
Play video games on demand such as Unreal Tournament III

Purchasing Games

While the OnLive game library is certainly growing, you still may not find your favorite game title there just yet. Still, the current catalog of games is quite impressive. OnLive offers several options for aquiring games. Video games can be rented for 3 to 5 days for $3 to $9, or you can purchase them for $4 to $50. Another option is to purchase a monthly subscription known as a "Playpass" which allows you to play certain games as long as they are available on the OnLive system. The cost is $9.99 per month, and there is a catch. OnLive usually changes the available titles on a monthly basis.

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Summary

All in all, The OnLive game video game on demand system is an option worth investigating if you are an avid gamer with a flawless high speed Internet connection. Otherwise, it may prove a little frustrating until the mainstream Internet technology catches up. If this technology catches on, the Sony Playstation and Microsoft Xbox 360 could be in serious jeopardy. But, there is still a lot of growing to do for OnLive to make that a reality.

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Comments 2 comments

Onlive Forum 5 years ago

Good review. I feel that Onlive is the future of video games. We shall see how long it takes for other companies to catch on.


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GAbaptist 5 years ago from Alaska Author

Yes, I think it will eventually be the standard. I just wish I had a faster connection where I live!

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