The gaming-on-demand website OnLive Game Service opens in June, after eight years of development. The developers would like to make consoles obsolete, by renting out even the largest games directly from the Internet.

On the webservice OnLive gamers will be able to play the latest titles without investing in a new computer, console or video card. The player should be able to switch between the TV and the computer without noticing any difference in the experience, and without interrupting the game.

Instead of installing a full game, the computer becomes a so-called thin client by installing a small plug into your computer’s browser. OnLive instantly sends your controller actions upstream and the results back downstream. The game itself runs on OnLive servers,which can carry the entire burden of heavy graphics, and rough estimates.

The base month-to-month service fee is $14.95. Loyalty programs and other special offers will be announced by the start of E3. The first 25,000 qualified people to register on the OnLive Game Service will have their first 3 months’ service fee waived.


The client model is the same as that used in the earliest mainframe systems, and in office environments where you use programs that run on central servers. The risk is that the response time, the delay between the player’s reaction and the image is sent back, may reduce the quality of the experience. OnLive has been silent on how to resolve this issue, but promises that there will be no problems even in the fastest and most graphics heavy games.

Ryan Shrout, editor of the website PC Perspective has made an independent analysis after trying a beta version of OnLive. His conclusion is that simple games will work fine, but that the service may get trouble with the more demanding games. But OnLive are planning to get around the problem by means of special agreements with broadband operators to ensure quality of data transmission.

The finished version of the service was demonstrated recently at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

Here is a video from the conference featuring an interview with OnLive CEO Steve Perlman:

So what do you think? Is this the future of gaming? Is this the end of console and computer games as we know it?