OnLive Ditches Subscription Gaming

Remember OnLive? It’s the gaming service that set its sights high towards offering cloud-based gaming that doesn’t require any special hardware except a system capable of streaming 720p content. It has the potential to revolutionize the gaming industry over time and just as much potential to fail miserably.

Recently OnLive took another step towards success, making the platform more accessible to the masses. What have they done? They’ve ditched the base subscription required to access OnLive. Read on for more info. and why we think this is a vital step towards success.

If you’re not sure what OnLive is, take a look at our in-depth review, OnLive: Next Generation Gaming, during it’s initial release period.

OnLive Overview

OnLive Overview

OnLive Subscription

When OnLive was first released, pricing was set at $14.95 per month with founding members and beta testers granted a free year and discounted pricing thereafter. Among other pitfalls, this was one of the more prominent for potential gamers. Who was going to pay $15 per month in addition to the cost of games?

Title Prices

Title Prices

One of the biggest drawing points for OnLive was its availability to the masses without consoles or expensive gaming rigs. The monthly subscription essentially went against that advantage, reducing its appeal. Now that OnLive has been available for awhile, they’ve been able to better gauge its potential success or possible failure.

What have they determined? The OnLive platform is sustainable without a monthly subscription. This is very exciting for a variety of reasons.

1. Accessible to more people

Ditching the monthly access fee gives potential users a “no loss” reason to at least try the service, which will, no doubt, result in more permanent OnLive users and in turn result in more money for game developers.

2. Try games before buying

One of the features OnLive touted was its ability to allow users to instantly demo games; no installs, no waiting, no fees, no downloads. Without the subscription fee, interested gamers can sign up and immediately play a game demo of their choice. This will, again, translate into more sales.

3. PlayPass selection

Unlike your local game store, OnLive offers PlayPasses of differing lengths. If you’d like to purchase the full game, you can. But, if you only want to play the game for 3 or maybe 5 days, you can save some money with shorter length PlayPasses. It’s like a rental, except you don’t have to leave your comfy chair, use your car’s gas or mess with those old school discs (no more scratched discs!). As with points one and two, this will translate into more sales.

4. Free online gaming community

Unlike some other online gaming services that charge monthly or yearly subscription fees, OnLive is now able to offer people an online gaming community entirely free. You’re able to watch others play games live and lots of other fun stuff.

Why OnLive?

Getting rid of the monthly subscription will help OnLive succeed, or at least that’s what I believe. More users buying more games means game developers will be more likely to get their games on the OnLive platform, which just makes gamers all the happier. As OnLive grows, gamers will be able to spend their money where they actually want; on games rather than hardware to play the games.

Along with ditching the monthly subscription, OnLive is bringing new features to the table such as game play over WiFi (which wasn’t previously available), continued contests to engage the gaming community, 1080p streaming, etc.

What Do You Think?

I’m clearly a fan of OnLive but I’d love to hear what you think about OnLive and the removal of the monthly subscription plan. Will you consider using or at least trying OnLive now that it’s free? How do you think this change will affect the gaming community as a whole? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks!


  • Rodrigo

    Little outdated, but all I have to say (being in the Founding members since the start) is that I wish…… I had better internet connection so I could actually play :(

    • http://Web.AppStorm.net Jarel Remick

      I assume that means your connection is less than 5Mbps? If not, how well does the service work for you?

      • Rodrigo

        Correct. I’m probably around 2.5 – 3.0 unfortunately, so the service won’t connect and make me quit; however, I am trying to see if I can connect at my college somehow. Hopefully It’ll work.

  • Darren

    Well, does not work in Europe at all. Got 100Mbps here and low latency. Still, it will not connect. US web companies should thing more global.

    • http://Web.AppStorm.net Jarel Remick

      I believe OnLive has opened up the service to international users but considering that all the game servers are located in the US, latency will definitely be an issue for those farther away. I would imagine they have plans in the future to expand more globally but considering the service is still so new, I wouldn’t expect it to happen for a few years.

  • iamloddy

    Good move scrapping the fee definitely, but still no support for LINUX/Chrome combo, which, sadly is a MASSIVE thumbs-down.

    Linux isn’t just going to ‘go away’ you know…
    Looks like I’m stuck with old games and Play-on-Linux for the time being.

  • http://blog.inkaudio.com David O.

    I tried it out and this is pretty awesome, much better tool for me than Steam for Mac. Now I don’t need to have a gaming machine to enjoy the latest games.
    They are not doing a good job marketing this, there’s been a lot of talk about gaming for Mac but the focus is around Steam, not Onlive.

    p.s. I’m in the U.S.A

  • nate

    I have been a founding member since the start. At the time I did not have a X box 360, however, now that I do…. well…. I don’t play onlive at all. Now let me tell you why:

    First- hardly any games to choose from. I have been waiting a long time for them to put out some impressive titles. It’s not happining, I just don’t see them pumping out quality games. The ones they do push out are average or idie games. I will admit, they have a couple of good ones. Most of them are lame though. AS it stands, I would rather buy a decent gaming comp and use steam. If onlive had the kind of games that steam have, I would be in love with this service. However, they don’t and it looks to me like they never will.

    Second- they don’t market this service at all. Like I have seen no advertisements on the web, on tv, or in magazines. That is just bizzare, they can’t rely on the founding members like myself to support them. So that does not make sense to me, I mean why the hell do they not advertise?!?!?!?! It’s fishy, actually. I don’t like it.

    Third- I have found no method on the website to discontinue my membership. SHADEY!!!!!! Last I checked I was getting charged 5 dollars and some odd sense a month. I read the article that said it’s free now, well, whatever, the games blow and the selection is limited. Kinda drifting back to my first point.

    Fourth-I have a 6mb connection and some games lag like a bitch. Maybe I need a better internet connection, however before I make that kind of upgrade onlive better fix some things, primarily the games.

    Well, that’s all I can think of right now. Do I hate Onlive? No. Do I wish they would get off their ass and do something with the service? YEah, I really do because I want to like Onlive. I had high hopes and I was let down, guess I am slighlty pissed off. Was hoping for a steam like service but with the onlive model. Don’t see that taking place. Dont think it ever will. If this service was serious and legit they would advertise and at least give us some decent games.

    On the positive side I hope onlive pumps out some awesome games and increases the quality to 1080p. On the negative side I think this service is going to milk us for all it can and then belly up or get sold off to some other company. Not sure how I really feel, but those are the two extremes where I flux between.

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