It seems like $7.99 – $9.99 is the magic price for streaming content these days. Both Netflix (movies) and Hulu (TV) recently announced unlimited plans for $7.99 and now OnLive, their video game equivalent, is offering unlimited use of its service for a monthly fee of $9.99.
The service, named OnLive PlayPack, has 14 games at the moment, including Prince of Persia, Lego Batman, Fear 2, and World of Goo. These games can be played for free with a subscription. Other titles, like Batman: Arkham Asylum, Borderlands, Assassin’s Creed II, and Unreal Tournament III are available for 3-5 day rentals and full purchase. All OnLive gamesystem users have free access to the PlayPack service until it leaves beta on Jan. 14, 2011.
“People love flat-rate plans for instant-play media, so it’s exciting to introduce this offering to the video game market for the first time,” said Steve Perlman, founder and CEO of OnLive. “With PlayPass games priced from $3.99 to $49.99, along with the new $9.99/mo PlayPack plan, OnLive’s growing library of games will suit any budget and any type of gamer, from casual to hardcore.”
Subscribing and streaming
Until it was cancelled in October, OnLive “required” a $15 monthly subscription on top of the price of games. This new plan represents a change in strategy. Some gamers will probably opt for the unlimited subscription, while others will choose to rent or own select games.
OnLive is different from other consoles because it streams all games from remote servers, much like Netflix streams a movie from the Internet. Instead of having a lot of local processing power and a DVD drive, games are served via the net, making the system very affordable ($99 with a controller and free game) and compact. Unfortunately, it requires a very stable, high speed Internet connection. No one wants to lag out during a game of Unreal Tournament.