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When OnLive was first announced, I was extremely skeptical. I remember the demonstrations of the Infinium Phantom at E3 in 2004 where rather than actually streaming a game to the system, the developers had hidden PCs behind boxes and were just playing right off of those. So when OnLive came along and said cloud gaming would be possible I called Bullshit.

The service has recently announced that not-only is the beta free to try, but that they're also doing away with the monthly subscription model. The only thing you'll have to pay for are the games. Seeing that I had nothing to lose I thought I'd give it a try, on a non-gaming computer, and see if it stood up to scrutiny.

It worked.

I was amazed. I don't really know how to describe it. Within a minute I had downloaded the small client and was streaming Darksiders onto my very modest laptop. The graphics, although a little blurry, were surprisingly good and, at least with this game, I didn't notice any input lag. I decided to test this further. I tried other games and noticed varying results. FEAR 2 saw some significant input lag, it was still playable, but it felt like someone was holding my arm back and I wasn't able to aim properly. DiRT 2, while better than FEAR 2 still had some significant lag and made it somewhat challenging to race around the track and react to new situations. Still, I was impressed, and intrigued. Not so much by the prospect of cloud gaming. I'll still be using my gaming PC whenever I want entertainment of that sort, so naturally I'd want the highest fidelity experience. What intrigued me were the pricing models available for games. In addition to out-right buying a game, you can demo it (the full game) for 30 minutes, or pay a small fee and rent the game for either 3 days or 5 days. My mind reeled; rent-able games on the PC, finally a reality. Well, almost.

Currently OnLive is only accepting US credit cards and as a Canadian I'm unable to give them my money to play the games they have on the service. I had a tough time last night. I wanted to play Darksiders, but didn't want to own the game or pay $40 for it. Paying $5 to play the game for 3 days seems like an awesome trade-off but I'm currently unable to do so. As a marketing strategy I was very powerful, I battled my inner spending demons for several hours yesterday about whether I should spend the full $40 and just buy the game on Steam. Eventually I was able to hold out and decided to wait until OnLive's business model allows customers from other countries. I'm excited, excited by the idea that games which I'm not willing to buy, but still want to try, can be played for a rental.

It works.

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onlive, cloud gaming, cloud,

RandomEngy Says:
October 12th 2010 @ 12:59 pm EDT

I was in the beta. Everything felt off and non-responsive. Though I have not checked them out since they've released, since even if it got rid of the lag it would still be a lot uglier than a locally rendered game.

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Latest Comments

By UK_John
in Now Available - X Superbox on 2010-10-16
This is all well and good, but why has no media asked
the question: "What about the fans that diligently
went out and bought each X-game when they were
released?" I am one of them, as why shouldn't I ...

By RandomEngy
in OnLive - It Actually Works on 2010-10-12
I was in the beta. Everything felt off and
non-responsive. Though I have not checked them out
since they've released, since even if it got rid of
the lag it would still be a lot uglier than a locally

By AlabasterSlim
in GOG Closure a Hoax - Chance to Promote Baldur's Gate on 2010-09-22
Updated the original post with that video. I dunno, I
think it was in poor taste personally. But if you
don't have any money for advertise I guess you do what
you need to do.

By Scott
in GOG Closure a Hoax - Chance to Promote Baldur's Gate on 2010-09-22
I actually liked the publicity stunt. I watched the
live video of them this morning in their cult robes.
I think they realized the only way to get the
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By AlabasterSlim
in GOG.com Shuts Down on 2010-09-21
Guess it's just a publicity stunt after-all. Pretty
lame though.

By Xan
in GOG.com Shuts Down on 2010-09-21
http://www.gog.com/ They posted an update, the movie
in the link shows a game they didn't have before
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By AlabasterSlim
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From various sources it seems to be a bad publicity
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