OCT. 7, 2010 • Faced with a burgeoning number of competing free-to-play options online, the OnLive streaming service elected to cancel it $14.95 monthly access fee. Accessing full games will still incur a charge on a per-title basis, but consumers will now be able to enjoy demos and other promotional content for free via computer. OnLive is also working on streaming its service directly to Internet connected TVs.
Impact: OnLive really had no choice. Their time-based payment plan was something that harked back to the 1990s and now defunct online game services like mPath and Total Entertainment Network. There was simply no compelling value proposition in today’s market. The way the system will now work is a user tries a game demo and after a certain amount of time (usually 30 minutes) can then purchase a PlayPass for either a 3-day, 5-day or Full Access rental. Prices vary by game but generally are $5-6 for 3 days, $7-9 for 5 days and full retail purchase price for full access. The issue now is does OnLive become a free demo or rental service where users can try games and then go to another source to buy the game. Rental companies like Blockbuster were never very good at converting demos and rentals into full sales so OnLive will be fighting that history.