Cloud gaming service OnLive has announced that its monthly service fee is now gone for good - for everyone.
OnLive was initially expected to have a monthly subscription fee of $14.95, on top of the costs of the games themselves. The prospect of paying a fee to access a pay-per-use gaming service didn't appeal much to anyone (aside possibly from Gaikai creator David Perry) and OnLive, perhaps recognizing just how unpalatable the idea was, has made a point of offering various forms of no-fee access ever since. It initially offered a three-month free trial period for the first 25,000 users who signed up, which it eventually extended to a full year; it then extended the sign-up window for that trial from June into September.
It's not really a huge surprise, then, that the company announced today that it is eliminating all subscription fees for everyone. You'll still have to pay for your games and other content, but the monthly charges are gone. "There is no precedent for OnLive, so we had to grow to a large number of active users in order to assess usage patterns and operating costs," said OnLive CEO Steve Perlman. "We've arrived at that stage, and as we had hoped, we are able to operate OnLive without charging a fee for access."
OnLive has also launched a free trial program that will allow new users to sample the service without having to use a credit card to create an account. Potential members can generate their player tag and browse the system with just an email address, password and date of birth, and won't need to provide any other information unless and until they decide to purchase a game.
By handling the heavy lifting at remote servers, OnLive makes high-end gaming available to anyone with a half-decent PC or Mac and a solid broadband connection. For those who prefer gaming from the comfort of their couch, a set-top "MicroConsole" is planned for release later this year. To learn more about what OnLive brings to the game, check out www.onlive.com.