Review of Onlive Micro Gaming Console

In case you’re not aware of the OnLive streaming game service, it’s essentially cloud-based gaming. The unique PC client allows practically any laptop computer or desktop to play high-end PC video games by offloading the CPU- and GPU-intensive tasks of actually operating the game software program to a remote server, then beaming the gameplay back to you as a streaming video.

The true beauty of OnLive lies in the fact you can play PC/Console games on a computer, HDTV and even on your MAC!

As a $99 set-top box, OnLive’s new MicroConsole affords an intriguing low-cost alternative to traditional living-room game consoles, which might cost two to 3 times as much. Ditching the computer altogether, the MicroConsole acts as a dongle and media streamer, connecting to your TV via HDMI (or component video) and to the Internet via an Ethernet cable (Wi-Fi is still wonky on the PC client, so we do not expect to see it on the MicroConsole anytime soon).

The PC-based model worked surprisingly properly, so our expectations were high for this standalone TV-friendly box. And, taking the $99 value into account, which includes a free game of your choice on the OnLive service, a wireless controller, and an HDMI cable, those expectations have been largely met, though the picture quality and features still can’t match a full-value living-room game console. One caveat: the system requires a three-5Mbps connection to work, and will be unforgiving of spotty Internet access speeds.

Setup and video games

If you have an current account (which is free to sign up for) you possibly can log instantly into it, and access games which have already been purchased. One of the good options of cloud-based gaming is that your existing saved video games and library travel with you wherever you log in. In any other case you’ll follow onscreen prompts to arrange a brand new account, both by inputting information via the gamepad (cumbersome), or by connecting a USB keyboard (easier).

The MicroConsole onscreen interface is identical to that of the PC client, and features a market for buying games (you’re actually buying a license to play the game on OnLive’s servers), a list of your purchased games, and an arena view, which lets you drop in and watch different gamers’ live game streams (this can be turned off in the privateness settings).

Within the market, most games are $20 to $40, and the catalog consists principally of barely out-of-date mainstream games (Splinter Cell: Conviction, Borderlands), a handful of newer games (Mafia II), and some indie/casual games (Puzzle Chronicles, World of Goo). Lots of the video games can also be rented for three to five days for just some dollars, and lots of offer a free trial period, permitting for copious low or no-cost sampling. It should be noted that almost every game is available for a free 30 minute playpass, however your progress will not be saved. Great for a quick play or taste of what is to come.

OnLive has additionally simply released a beta for its all-you-can-eat bundle, which is obtainable on both the MicroConsole and PC software program client. For $9.95, the PlayPack plan presently consists of 14 video games, but not lots of the most recent or excessive-profile video games obtainable within the a la carte menu.

Hardware apart, the system will live or die primarily based on its game catalog, which at the moment has a good collection of current video games, including Mafia II, Splinter Cell Conviction, and Lego Harry Potter, but is lacking scorching PC-centric video games such as Call of Duty: Black Ops or Civilization V. The Coming Soon section of the dashboard, nonetheless, appears to be like very promising for 2011; it includes Worry 3, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and Homeland.

All in all the OnLive gaming console is a welcome addition to the gaming market. A low cost barrier of entry, a bevvy of games that will appeal to a large segment of games, the phoenominal low price of the gaming console itself and portability across MAC, PC and living room, make for a great value in my mind. What other gaming consol can say that you get all that for $99 dollars and a few bucks a month?

Ben says – Buy it!

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