By Jared Newman | Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 12:26 pm
The free ride is over for OnLive PlayPack, the streaming game service’s all-you-can-play package.
PlayPack now costs $10 per month, with the first month free, and currently includes 38 games. OnLive had been giving subscription access away since December to owners of its $99 Microconsole, a small set-top box and controller for playing through televisions. Presumably, the service will now be available to PC gamers as well. If you cancel the service, OnLive will hang onto your data for a year.
OnLive’s claim to fame is its ability to instantly stream video games to low-end computers as compressed audio and video, using servers that handle all the heavy lifting remotely. (My experience was functional, but flawed.) But the subscription plan could be the most disruptive part of the package if it can gain more games on a regular basis.
Most of the games available for PlayPack now are at least a couple years old. One of them, Aliens vs. Predator Classic, dates back to 2000. The challenge for OnLive PlayPack is not just to add more games, but to keep its lineup fresh.
OnLive does have a few gems available now, such as the 2007 blockbuster Bioshock, the indie hit World of Goo and Ninja Blade, a game whose high points may not be worth the cost of admission alone, but are certainly worth experiencing as part of a subscription plan. (That’s the advantage of the smorgasbord approach, after all.)
Back when OnLive announced the subscription plan, Games and Media Vice President John Spinale said more games would be incoming on a weekly basis. I’ve reached out to the company to find out whether that’s still the case. A press release from OnLive simply says they’ll be adding future games based on “member requests, feedback and suggestions,” along with a desire to shine a spotlight on underexposed indie games.