OnLive Game System Review

Posted: January 24, 2011
OnLive Game System Review

The OnLive game system understands that gaming doesn't have to be about expensive consoles and computers. Kevin Pereira and Candace Bailey review the gaming-on-demand system that offers anyone a chance to play popular titles all through the TV in HD. Find out if this black box is worth the $100 price tag.

What You Need to Know

  • The OnLive console is about the size of your hand
  • It has an HDMI output and two USB ports for controllers
  • To use it you have to have a wired internet connection
  • You log in and it immediately drops you into the home screen where you can buy and play games, change your profile, or watch other players play
  • It's incredibly intuitive and fun to navigate around
  • There's also an overlay similar to Xbox Live, where you can perform all of these functions from a shortcut button on the controller
  • The interface is our favorite part of OnLive
  • If you want to play a game, it'll take a few moments to load up, but once you do, it'll start from where the game automatically saved last
  • OnLive told us you'll need about a six mbps connection to play at highest quality on a 55” TV
  • This means you'll need cable or FiOS to really make this work well
  • Even then, though, you'll still see artifacting and a few network interruptions while playing
  • The bundle controller feels stiff and laggy, so you're better off just plugging in an Xbox 360 controller or keyboard and mouse
  • You also won't need a very powerful machine to play, though you can't adjust graphics settings for any of the games


  • You can rent games for 3 and 5 days for $3 to $9 or buy a full game for $4 to $50
  • There's also a play-pack that gives you access to a bunch of games like Prince of Persia, F.E.A.R. 2, and NBA 2K10 for $10 a month
  • Think of it as the Netflix of gaming
  • Plus, if you download the software on your PC or Mac, you won't have to pay $100 for the box and you get access to all these games

Overall Rating

  • 3 Seals of Approval Out of 5 (How do we rate gadgets?)
  • We feel like OnLive has a lot of potential, but it's not quite there, mainly because the big games everyone wants to play aren't available yet
  • OnLive has assured us these games are on their way
  • In the meantime, everyone at home should give it a try on their computer, because the service is completely free to try until the end of the week

Want something reviewed on Gadget Pr0n? Email us your suggestions to gadgetpron@g4tv.com.


Comments are Closed

  • xavier900

    I have it for my Play and it is epic love this so much.

    Posted: March 23, 2012 12:58 AM
  • OnliveFans_com

    Onlive is certainly the future of video games. I'm wondering if Microsoft or Sony end up buying up the technology. They own several patents so it will be difficult for other companies to get in on what OnLive has already started.
    Brian - http://OnliveFans.com

    Posted: January 26, 2011 6:30 PM
  • Uldum

    I don't see this type of system taking off until 100mbps is the norm, which is the US is aiming for by 2020. Then there's the price issue of some of their FullPlay Pass prices. For example why would anyone buy a limited (limited by your internet connection and their internet connection) Batman: Arkham Asylum off onlive for $30 when you can get an unlimited version for cheaper. I think it would do better if they switched to a subscription method so it worked even more so like a "netflix for games"

    Posted: January 26, 2011 4:46 AM
  • Sally Wong

    I went to On Live, and downloaded it free, and it's not bad really. I was quite surprised at the quality of their video ( I have 16 bps ) and ran it into my 3G iMac. If they ever get their prices right, they are definitely going to chip away at consul and PC profits. I can't comment on their controller, because I don't have one to try.

    Love and Kisses: Sally Wong :

    Posted: January 26, 2011 1:56 AM
  • Island_boi

    sweet its the asus!

    Posted: January 26, 2011 1:40 AM
  • Blue_Vortex

    I think a company like Nintendo should pick up OnLive and make it an HD add on to the wii called the Wii Plus.

    Posted: January 25, 2011 9:31 PM
  • JustTheBeginning

    I think this is the future of portable gaming, imagine a $100 PSP2 (so cheap because it does not need to be a hardware beast) that connects to your PS4 via wifi and can play all your PS3 games on the go. We might not be there yet but its coming!

    Posted: January 25, 2011 5:02 PM
  • Rikusaki

    @Jackal904 @ jbro360

    Playing with other platforms would be impossible. All OnLive multiplayer games are done through a Local Area Network (LAN) within the data center (the servers running the games). Having to access a multiplayer server would be redundant and pointless. Why use a multiplayer server when all the computers are right next to each other? It only makes sense. OnLive is just one massive LAN party.

    Posted: January 25, 2011 3:42 PM
  • M6000

    I would so much like to try onlive but when I downloaded the internet app it told me my internet connection was to slow. I guess I'll just stick with PS3 and Xbox 360.

    Posted: January 25, 2011 3:25 PM
  • Jinnified

    OnLive is the future, for those ppl is till dreaming, saying, @errr, this is just like steam@, well, it's nothing like steam, this is next gen cloud gaming experience, wake up

    Posted: January 25, 2011 12:30 PM
  • jbro360

    Yeah, can you play with players on 360/ps3. Let me know, if so I'm in.

    Posted: January 25, 2011 12:27 PM
  • Jackal904

    It sounds like it has a ton of potentional. But until they get more titles in their library, I'll probably hold off on buying it.

    One of my questions is though, for online multiplayer games on the OnLive system, can you only play with other people using the OnLive system? Or can you also play with people on either the xbox 360 or PS3?

    Posted: January 25, 2011 7:32 AM
  • joshuadrama

    Its 2 early for cloud gaming just as it is 2 early for cloud computing. On live is trying to do with gaming as google is trying to do with computing. Maybe a few years down the road it could be big.

    Posted: January 25, 2011 7:06 AM
  • AgentMark

    I'm a Founding Member of OnLive and I love it so much that I've bought games I already own again on OnLive just because the experience on OnLive is that much better. Feel free to add me, xplayman.

    Posted: January 25, 2011 4:19 AM
  • willohmsford

    I've been using OnLive with FiOS for a long time and see no artifacts or lag at all, it looks just great all the time. Another minor issue I have with this review is that you say it's free to try until the end of this week. That's not quite true, the service is always free to try, you can play the first 30 minutes of any game for free as much as you want. What ends this week is the free beta test of the Playpack.

    I haven't used the official controller but I can say it works fantastically with the 360 controller and the PS3 controller (with the motionInJoy driver on your PC).

    Posted: January 25, 2011 12:50 AM
  • cwhas2godhands

    I tried it out for free on my PC. It worked fine. I have cable-internet, and I didn't experience any lag or buffering.
    OnLive has a couple of problems that need to be fixed in order for me to ever try it again. First off, it's blurry. I played a trial of Metro 2033. Metro's a dark game, and because of the blur it was hard to see. The other big problem is their very limited, over-priced, and dated library. Until those problems are fixed, I'm not interested.

    Posted: January 24, 2011 10:03 PM
  • Rikusaki

    OnLive is amazing. Never before could I run high-end games on my Intel Atom Netbook. I have been using the service since October 2010 and love it. The service is completely free forever, so you guys should give it a shot! Add me, my OnLive PlayerTag is Rikusaki. :)

    Posted: January 24, 2011 9:41 PM
  • cwbys21

    I'm not sure what Kevin means by wired internet. If he means, you can't play it through 3g or whatever, then yeah. If he means, the micro console can't play through wifi, then that should have been corrected.

    Posted: January 24, 2011 9:25 PM
  • Rikusaki

    Correction: The PLAYPACK is free until the end of the week. The service itself is free forever.

    Posted: January 24, 2011 9:04 PM
  • hoof_hearted4

    if its on your computer, then it seems a lot like Steam...hmm i might be trying it sometime down the road.

    Posted: January 24, 2011 8:52 PM