OnLive gets US launch date and pricing – Why it might fail.

Posted by: 3/11/2010

OnLive was one of my personal highlights of last years GDC and the service made another announcement at this year’s outing. OnLive will finally launch on June 17th in the United States at a monthly subscription fee of $14.95. Loyalty and multi-month pricing will be announced at E3 later this year. There are currently no details on how much extra rentals and purchases of games will be.

The cloud computing service could steal a lot of Sony and Microsoft’s motion tech thunder if it becomes a hit. But why can it also fail?

I raise this question for one specific reason, pricing. At 15 bucks a month an OnLive subscription will get consumers many features such as instant play demos of all games, cross platform multiplayer (PC, MAC, OnLive Mini Console), Brag Clips and spectating but there is a hook – no rentals are included. I can perfectly understand that full purchases will cost us money but why rentals? I can pay 15 Dollars a month and get unlimited rentals from GameFly or Gamerang including console exclusives which WON’T be available on OnLive. I believe the pricing structure for game rentals will be a pivotal point for OnLive’s success. If consumers have to shell out an additional 8 bucks or so to rent a game this service will cost a lot of hard earned cash.

Will consumers buy into cloud gaming or will they look elsewhere if an annual subscription can cost us up to 180 Dollars to simply play demos ‘instantly’?

I personally have a problem with this unless a weekly rental is sub 3 Dollars or the monthly fee is decreased since 180 bucks only provide limited access to this gaming platform. Sure, the service will allow owners of mediocre spec computers to play games like Burnout Paradise and Crysis but the cost at accessing the service might be too high.

OnLive also announced that the first 25,000 people who pre-register here can get 3 free months of OnLive to get a taste. Hurry and sign up!

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17413776019465387075 PS3 Fan

    Onlive is on course to fail.

  • RuddigerPez

    Don’t worry about this. If anything causes it to fail, it will be server crashes and lag issues. There is nothing wrong with the price.

    People are already willing to pay about $5 a month for services like XBox Live, so really this means that OnLive will cost about $10 a month. And if you think about it as paying $10 to not need to buy and upgrade hardware and to get discounted prices on games (they have stated the purchase prices will be below retail, we’ll see…), there is nothing wrong with the price, rentals aside.

    To put it in perspective, it will be 30 months at $10 a month before you can start to think you would be paying too much, as that is when you would approach the price of a console.

    So the main reason OnLive could fail is if it doesn’t work, i.e. the lag and server troubles I mentioned above. I think it the servers work and OnLive can deliver what they are promising, it will be a massive success.

  • Anonymous

    I really am a fan of cloud computing, and I can see a lot of potential for OnLive. One of the things that I think is most exciting about OnLive is you will always have access to some of the most powerful hardware. As OnLive upgrades their users will be upgraded automatically. There’s one thing that bothers me about OnLive though, and it’s something I can’t easily get over. Computing power has gotten so cheap, and it’s only getting cheaper. It seems odd to me that I should turn my incredibly powerful computer into a dumb client for OnLive; especially when I can buy an incredibly powerful machine for very little money. Even with OnLive running incredibly powerful machines I just can’t imagine that a service that is supposed to serve millions of people over the internet can compete with the affordable computers that are already available to me.

  • Your Brother :)

    @RuddigerPez

    How the hell does it mean that Onlive is really only $10? Do you not live in reality? Sure Xbox Live is $5 a month but that doesnt mean people look at Onlives $15 a month and see $10 a month. It is still $15 a month, and if you choose to have Xbox Live with your Onlive, then its $20 a month. See what I did? I ADDED the two instead of subratcting since thats how it would be in reality.

    I do agree that the only way Onlive can(will) fail is through lag issues. I also heard that people had issues with the Onlive beta and they couldnt play games with a resolution higher than 1080X768. This might also(will) make Onlive fail.

  • Anonymous

    im worried that they have not announced how much bandwidth it will use up.
    it sounds like a fantastic service as long as they dont get greedy and charge too much.
    but there is no point in the service if its going to use up large amounts of bandwidth.
    hopefully they have not forgotten not every country is like Japan with ADSL2+ and unlimited downloads as standard.