Flat-rate monthly subscription coming to OnLive

It’s pretty clear that OnLive has been keeping busy recently. According to this story at Joystiq, the company has confirmed that it will offer a flat-rate monthly subscription by year’s end. Details on the exact monthly rate and the game catalog available under such a subscription haven’t been revealed, but OnLive is reportedly considering something in the range of $10 a month for access to "back-catalog" and indie titles. The latest big-name releases will presumably be excluded from the subscription selection.

We took a look at the OnLive gaming experience last month and were left underwhelmed by the service’s YouTubesque graphics quality and noticeable latency. That said, $10 a month may very well be low enough to attract casual gamers who have no need to play the latest and greatest games, especially if they don’t need a PC to indulge. The flat-rate pricing announcement comes as OnLive begins to take pre-orders for its MicroConsole, a diminutive set-top box that will bring the cloud-based gaming service to your HDTV. With a $99 asking price, and coupled with an affordable monthly subscription service, the MicroConsole has the potential to widen what the company claims is a rapidly growing audience.

OnLive’s subscription announcement also raises an interesting question: what if Steam were to make a similar offer? Given the digital distribution system’s entrenched position in the market, and the breadth of its catalog, a monthly subscription seems likely to garner a lot of attention. Valve might even be able to charge a lot more than $10 a month.

Comments closed
    • ShadowTiger
    • 9 years ago

    When onlive first talked about, I was sure it was going to be subscription based… I was disappointed when they didn’t release that way.

    They are idiots… they could put gamefly out of business but instead they are being greedy. Hopefully this “back catalog” will eventually be all games.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 9 years ago

    I tried OnLive for the first time last night on my hackintosh, and I was actually… /[

    • l33t-g4m3r
    • 9 years ago

    l[

      • Peffse
      • 9 years ago

      You overestimate the public’s intelligence.

      • Skrying
      • 9 years ago

      Huh? Why wouldn’t Valve have the infrastructure to copy OnLive’s service? All they would have to do is develop the software. Renting the server space isn’t that hard. They already serve a massive amount of content anyway.

      Valve of all the companies in the gaming space is most likely the one BEST suited to offer a service like OnLive.

        • HisDivineShadow
        • 9 years ago

        Possibly. Still, knowing they could probably wing it is still a long way away from them actually having the technology to do it (which they’d need to develop), the servers in the proper places (latency for downloading a game is one thing, latency at streaming a game with controls is another altogether), and getting all the publishers you associate with Steam actually on board with such a deal.

        A lot of publishers were already reticent about using Steam before “because they’re a competitor.” Imagine what a lot of them think about becoming part of an online subscription service that benefits Valve a lot more than it benefits them. How do shares get divvied up? Who gets what and how long?

        The quickest way to make enemies is trying to needlessly (for now) add a streaming service that most people wouldn’t be able to use reliably now anyway. Just ask Apple how that went for them when they tried to push streaming music.

        If Apple, Lord of iTunes, can’t get the music industry to accept streaming music, what makes you think Valve, Prince of Steam, can do the same with the gaming industry with which they compete?

      • dashbarron
      • 9 years ago

      I agree. I’d hate to see how playing on a completely cloud-based connection with steam would be like. They seem to have enough problems giving people the random authentication boot because their server hiccuped, and that is not even saying if your connection burps. HL2 launch, anyone?

      Darn, I hate steam. But how else will I get my combat rifle-zombie love?

    • Mystic-G
    • 9 years ago

    I have a feeling OnLive will become a lot bigger than people take it for over the coming years. It has a lot of potential as long as they continue working on optimizing the code. They just desperately need to build their catalog.

      • l33t-g4m3r
      • 9 years ago

      OnLive does not appeal to me, and I’m sure there are many who share that sentiment.
      Casual gamers and suckers are the only demographic I can see buying into this service.

        • Mystic-G
        • 9 years ago

        You’re forgetting how big that audience is.

        Obviously Onlive will not appeal to the PC gaming audience in the slightest. it was never meant to. It’s meant to appeal to people who can only afford a small bottom-line price while still being able to play the same games as everyone else.

      • Peffse
      • 9 years ago

      Onlive has everything working against it in the US market. Broadband speeds are lowering. ISPs are lobbying for bandwidth restrictions and caps. We may even see an end to unlimited service and instead see a shift towards metered “nickel and dime” service.
      None of which is beneficial to Onlive.

    • homerdog
    • 9 years ago

    A Steam monthly subscription would be awesome.

    • potatochobit
    • 9 years ago

    if steam copied onlive that would result in a lawsuit
    I am quite sure onlive has patented it’s business model

    look what happened to blockbuster

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