Onlive Goes LIVE on June 17th

In 48 of 50 States, Onlive will be available to the awaiting masses. Who those masses will consist of is under scrutiny as the company rolls out some pricing details. $14.95 a month will give you access to game demos, social networking, multiplayer across PC, Mac and TV platforms, spectating players viewing of Brag Clips and cloud saving of your games to be continued later on any supported platform.

And nothing else.

Well isn't that nice: I get to buy/rent a game, pay the company to play it, pay my internet provider for access and eventually pay Cap charges when the continual 720p video puts me over the line. How much is that Premium 360 again? Think I'll pass.

And that is exactly what Joe Douchebag is going to do, no amount of available gaming goodness will persuade them otherwise. Onlive offers nothing but the opportunity for customers to get fleeced by micro-charges for colored up pretty bullet points trying to show value in something that has none. Social networking, demos and video viewing are staples and any gaming service not offering this would be stillborn. Cloud saving of games? How else are customers going finish the damn thing, it's on their server. Most importantly if you leave the service, as in stop paying, you lose every game you (thought you) bought. Completely unacceptable.

This is the nightmare that Valve had to deal with on it's creation of Steam. Customers were thinking this type of pricing model is where Steam would eventually land and refused to buy anything on it, many people still believe this is coming. Onlive is trying to turn PC gaming into Cable TV, charging (monthly) for basic service and then charging a premium on top for the service that the people wanted to begin with.

This service could have rejuvenated the PC gaming market and brought it to the masses unable or unwilling to purchase the expensive rigs required. It could have placed the PC into serious competition with the consoles for the front room gaming that consumers have turned to with their 5.1 surround and big screen TV's. Instead it will die a miserable death like the Cable TV model it emulates but hopefully it will open the doors for another provider to learn from Onlive's mistakes.

*Update* It seems there will be a subscription-free version of OnLive afterall. The details are sketchy but it appears demos and the ability to rent games will still be an option for those unwilling to sub.
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