Gear Reviews

Review: Onlive System

The idea of having a persistent streaming video game without any special requirements such as a dedicated console is something that consumers will be leaning towards in this digital age. The OnLive console provides one of the easiest ways to play the latest games with only an internet connection. This two-part system, one which is available on the PC, and the other version that is available for home use that comes in a small converter box playable through your television. The system provides cloud storage for the games, accounts, and game saves which allows players to play any one of the games that are available on the service without the need of a disc. In this review I’ll be mostly talking about the console version of the system that was provided by OnLive for this review.

The system is basic in the setup and also doesn’t take up a lot of space in your living room or wherever you need to be set up the small console. Included in the packaging are one OnLive game console, power adapter, controller, USB cable, audio and video cables, Ethernet cable, and one rechargeable game battery that goes inside the controller. To set up the online game console players will insert the audio video cables into the television and connect the other end into the console itself, connect the audio cables, connect the power adapter, and connect to the Internet to start your OnLive game service.

The service offers many close similarities to that of paid services such as Gamefly or renting games from the store with its easy play pass options. Customers can rent games for three days, five days, or purchase the game and play it forever and wherever they are. There’s also an option if you wish to choose a full subscription model part of their all games package bundle which will give access a library of over 70 games available currently, with more games being added in the near future.

With my time playing with the OnLive service I was able to try out different games, capture video clips with the built in system on the controller, and also watch other OnLive subscribers play games in real-time, plus they’re doing a great job you can give them a thumbs-up or thumbs down if you don’t like what you see. The service provides a great opportunity to play on multiple formats such as the console itself, the PC, Mac, Ipad, and soon Android tablets. As I’ve watched the service grow over the last number of years and particularly in the last few weeks, I’ve watched the number of games being added to the library keeping up to date with games that are available to rent or buy physically in stores. There are some pre-loaded options for purchasing games and also getting some special bonus benefits such as free games for the service or an extra OnLive console.

Overall showcase of the OnLive system in use.
With the ability to deliver games on the day and date of releases as those in the normal brick-and-mortar stores, the OnLive console system will provide an option for gamers who wish to do all their gaming without discs and a cheaper rate especially if they only wish to rent the game for a few days. One of the best features of the OnLive system is that it’s free to sign up for the program and download the software on the PC or Mac that can run on almost all computer systems as the requirements are well balanced.

The overall quality of the OnLive system and service with the options to play online against other opponents was handled well, but I found that multiplatform titles such as F.E.A.R 2 had the options for keyboard and mouse or the use of a physical controller. The way that the OnLive system delivered the input options for the game with the console version was different from the PC version so the console controls were not exactly up to par if the version was made from the ground up for the console. From my understanding of it is the way that the OnLive system works is that it’ll run off of the OnLive dedicated game servers so it is probably easier for online to run PC versions of all the games available as emulating console games wouldn’t be allowed by the manufacturers unless they are multiplatform. So for games that are exclusive to either the PS3 or the Xbox 360 such as Resistance, Gears of War, or the Halo series the games will have to be run off of a physical console from those companies.

While enjoying some of the games I was able to experiment with viewing other players as they played their games of choice and either give those thumbs up or down based on their performances. This idea of being able to view how other gamers play certain sections of games might come in handy as friends can show each other in real time how to pass a certain hard part of the level. Become popular enough and have a virtual crowd of people watching you as you play. When spectating you can also add the person as a friend, so maybe both of you can play games together at a later point. Find the game that you are watching interesting enough; hit the play now button if you already own the game or you can purchase the game. I would like to see this spectator technology in the competitive arena, such as big tournaments, or live events.

With the service growing and homes being able to get faster internet connections available, more services such as OnLive will come to light in the future. So if you want to know what the future has in store for being a gamer, don’t wait and sign up for free at the OnLive site to take the service for a test drive. I look forward to more people signing up for the service so I can play against my friends when I am on the road or just wanting to enjoy a quick game fix wherever I am able to get an internet connection.

For more information about the OnLive system go to www.onlive.com.
Do you think OnLive is something that you could see yourself using now or in the near future? Let us know in the comments below or in the forums.

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