OnLive barely alive?
January 11, 2011
Twenty-one months ago, we expressed skepticism over OnLive, the gaming service offering streaming video games over the internet. In that time, OnLive has left beta, and recently offered it’s “microconsole” for $100. Still, OnLive’s growth has been slow, to say the least.
After our article went live, it didn’t take long for someone (Darq) at onlivefans.com to respond.
On the topic of OnLive struggling to have an attractive library, they already have some of the leading names in the gaming industry partnered up with them… I think right now is a poor time to judge the game library. I imagine that there are many skeptics out there that will decide to partner with OnLive and offer their games after the beta this summer.
Twenty-one months later and OnLive has 38 games available (we’re not counting expansions). And if we discount sports titles with “2010” subtitles that now have 2011 releases, the already-abysmal library is even smaller. That’s today. Is now the right time to judge OnLive’s game library? The sad thing is, how many games were available 21 months ago? Is OnLive even meeting the goal of one new release per month?
Maybe it’s a testament to the service that OnLive was able to bring games like Borderlands and Batman: Arkham Asylum to the table, but these titles do not make up for the many other big-name games that are available for the XBox 360 and the PS3, which are simply missing from OnLive’s library. And, even these former big-name titles are yesterday’s news in the console world, where pre-used prices are less than OnLive’s pricing.
Yes, OnLive is cheaper than a console because there’s no necessary hardware cost if you already own a computer and a controller, but the lack of titles is a serious matter; even the Wii has a more enticing library for hardcore gamers than OnLive does. Maybe with OnLive, you have a few more dollars to spend on games, but since there’s a real limit on how many games you can feasibly buy (never mind how many games you’d actually want to buy from that limited selection), the price savings for OnLive may very well be irrelevant.
One of OnLive’s more promising offerings is the idea of streaming MMOs, since this is a gaming niche that many console gamers simply can’t participate in. Yet, OnLive has nothing to show in this area, either.
I believe you’re exagerating OnLive’s inability to cater to the add-on/modding or customization community. OnLive already has started promoting their SDK, and with their push on a community driven player experience I see them have a large focus on being able to mod for games that wish to support it.
Why still no MMOs On OnLive (a gaming niche that PC gaming is known for)? Not only has OnLive not addressed whether they can realistically support client addons for MMOs, but they don’t even have a single MMO announcement yet. There’s no point in us even addressing addons/mods for other games, since these are clearly a pipedream at this stage in the game.
Does OnLive have potential? Certainly. But given its performance on our home FiOS connection, and the absolute lack of games, the service doesn’t seem to be doing well for itself. If subscription numbers are going up at all, it’s certainly not because of the gaming library, and we can’t imagine people sticking around for more than a couple months if things don’t change for the better soon.