OnLive Now Makes Less Sense

onlivelogoblackbackgroundOnLive was once a decent-enough idea (a PC games service that streams the games to you), but we’re now struggling to figure out why anyone would use it. First, it requires a dualcore processor and an active 5mbps download connection, and you’d think those with dualcores wouldn’t need this streaming service because they have computers actually capable of playing the games. Second, it’s not really cost-effective. Or, it’s not really not cost-effective, but it just seems pointless to do it like this. Hit that jump, brah.

Here’s the deal: you pay five bucks a month to use the service. Then you can rent games for three or five days or forever. And you have to keep your subscription to play the games. The short-term rental prices are about like what you would find at a Blockbuster, and the prices on the forever rentals are exactly what you would find at a store for a copy that doesn’t come with subscription-based DRM.

For example, Borderlands costs $5.99 to play for three days, $8.99 to play for five days and $29.99 to play forever. And then five bucks a month.

Look, I get why this model costs what it does. On top of selling games, OnLive has to pay for constant server upkeep and maintenance, because the entire company depends on that. And so a subscription fee is absolutely necessary.

However, I pay $30 per month for Gamefly, and from that service I get three games at a time. That’s $360 a year. That sounds like a lot, but I play 40-50 games a year, so I’m actually saving a lot of money. Now, if OnLive charged, say $50 a month and let you play whatever you want whenever you want, it would be a fantastic deal. It would work, and it would keep the servers running. And it wouldn’t matter if you lost access because the service goes under or it loses some game licenses, because at no point would it feel like you’re paying to own a game, as it does presently.

But, hey, I’m just a kid from Alabama with no fancy schmancy college degree, so I couldn’t possibly be right, right?

If you want more details, head over to Eurogamer, where they have more games prices. I’d have all this myself, but my ennui toward OnLive is so strong I forgot to activate my account three weeks ago.

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4 Comments on OnLive Now Makes Less Sense

Chaos Squirrel

On June 21, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Ah, the Gametap community once worried about this, but then the pay for games part came out, and it revealed itself to beg a rather mediocre deal, since you pay $5 a month and for games, whereas with Gametap you pay less than $100 a year (though with a rather limited selection). Well the rental options might make this a rather tolerable deal, it’s simply not price competitive with other services or traditional rentals. Furthermore, there are little to no details about console exclusives heading to OnLive, and simple selections of PC games don’t sell me yet. Perhaps if they had a monthly minimum, after which your fee was waived, it would be a valuable deal, but if you already have the hardware, why bother with the service?


On June 21, 2010 at 7:28 pm

That was a good point charging like $50 but have unlimited access to games without necessity of buying them…


On June 22, 2010 at 8:39 am

I was surprised when I first understood that OnLive didn’t intend to establish a subscription model in the vein of Netflix or GameFly (one monthly rate gets access to the full library) – especially as these services have proven how successful such a model could be.

That said though – $50/month is pricey, unless you really do little else but play video games.


On July 1, 2010 at 6:41 am

Seriously tired of people knocking the service who haven’t even used it. Yeah GameFly is cheaper but the whooooole point is to cut out the need to purchase hardware. For the price of a 360 you can have 5 years of service from OnLive. Not to mention the micro console will be coming out so you just need an Internet connection and no computer. This is for people who want access to games but can’t afford a Wii, PlayStation, or Wreckbox. I’m not a fanboy, but I am a Gamestop employee and think this could easily put an end to console wars in the long run. As far as the service and interface, it’s pretty slick and I have no issues at all running in 720 on my PC and Mac. Please do your homework before posting an opinion piece on something you haven’t even tried…