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Palo Alto-based startup, OnLive, announced it would be going live on June 17th. Steve Perlman, CEO of OnLive made the announcement at the GDC GamesBeat Conference in San Francisco on Wednesday morning.
We've been keeping an eye on OnLive for a while now due to its potential to seriously disrupt the traditional console gaming industry. Up until now, in order to play high quality-processor-intensive games, gamers have to shell out large amounts of cash on hardware, like PS3's, XBox 360's or expensive computers and graphics processors.
OnLive is on the prowl to solve this problem by introducing a whole new system of cloud-based gaming. We're not talking Flash-based or casual games here either, we're talking the type of games you'd see on your TV console systems. In case you don't know how it works, OnLive live streams the video signal of the game you are playing, as opposed to making a user buy a disc or download a large file. It's a monthly subscription plan, but here's where the story gets a little disappointing, at least from a consumer perspective.
Perlman announced an OnLive subscription will cost $14.95 per month. But on top of that, in order to play full games or even 'rent' games, a user has to shell out extra cash on top of that. I asked the startup how much should a consumer expect to pay, but representatives from the company would not share any details.
The idea, Perlman said was to eliminate the costs of hardware, so users can spend more on the software. Unfortunately, on June 17th, when OnLive goes live, it will only be introducing its service on PC or Mac. The company said its much anticipated mini-console, which brings its platform to your television, wouldn't roll out until later on. OnLive also demoed its platform running on Crysis on an iPhone which was pretty impressive.
Mike McGarvey, COO of OnLive was adament that there's a serious problem with the current business model of the gaming industry, as pysical game sales are in rapid decline due to game piracy and the buying and trading of used games.
OnLive is looking to improve this by incentivizing its users to rent games, and then buy them.
Unfortunately, McGarvey couldn't share how much a consumer should expect to rent or pay for game. I asked for a ballpark range, but no details were made available yet.
More on the announcement, the OnLive platform will be available 48 US states. The company said top titles and new releases would be available at launch although no exact titles were given. Most of the games the company has been demoing have been released in the past few years. Also, its HD 1080p60 resolution won't be available until 2011, when the company expects home bandwidth to improve.
As for the near future, OnLive said its prepared to scale and go international later after its US launch this year.
No details on the price of the mini-console, although McGarvey said OnLive has been considering giving out the device with a committed subscription.
If you're interested in signing up, the startup will be waiving the first three months of service fees to the first qualified 25,000 users who sign up on its site.
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