OnLive drops fee, set-top 'MicroConsole' coming

Streaming-video game services just got a little more tempting, especially for free demos.

We've been quite excited about the potential of streaming-video game service OnLive , which forgoes any physical software or system/graphics needs and lets players play games on remote servers via streaming video. The effect is largely seamless, and for some games like adventures it's a fantastic cloud-based substitute for owning an expensive gaming laptop. The only drawback was price: OnLive's games not only cost money, but the OnLive service also levied a subscription fee.

That fee's now been waived: OnLive has dropped its monthly charge. That means that free demos can now be sampled without any expenditure whatsoever. It also makes OnLive more of a true cloud-based game store to compete with Steam, but in OnLive's case, it's a store that has no hardware requirements.

OnLive's blog update also confirms that a set-top "MicroConsole TV Adapter" is in development, although it's unclear whether that means a standalone box or a converter kit for laptops and desktops. How affordable could a small, low-end OnLive box be? We imagine the cost could get pretty competitive. Would PC games be suitable for playing on big-screen TVs, however? That's a separate consideration, but the news is pretty big nonetheless.

About the author

Scott Stein is a senior editor covering iOS and laptop reviews, mobile computing, video games, and tech culture. He has previously written for both mainstream and technology enthusiast publications including Wired, Esquire.com, Men's Journal, and Maxim, and regularly appears on TV and radio talking tech trends.

 

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