The OnLive party has started and some folks are getting a free pass

by: Nathan -
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Sign ups for a chance to access OnLive free for one full year started earlier this week. The "founding members program" (as it has been dubbed) is essentially a chance for those people interested in trying out OnLive without having to invest the $4.99 monthly fee for the service. To be clear, the applications being accepted are for the waiting list of the program; only 200,000 people will get into the program. Being able to try out OnLive for free (especially if, like me, you didn't get into the Beta) is certainly an attractive prospect but taking full advantage of the service is still going to come at a charge. Only demos of games will be free to play, with full games requiring a purchase as well as "some features".

Essentially, like the Beta, the paid service of OnLive is still behind a virtual velvet rope. Currently only "founding members" can take advantage of the service and if I don't miss my guess, it will be another 5-6 months until the general public can just sign up and play. Until then us gamers will have to be content with sitting on another list, just waiting to try out "the future of video games".

At least it's not vaporware.

Founding Members Program

It is with great pleasure that I invite you to the opening of the OnLive Game Service for PCs and Macs, beginning this Thursday, June 17, 2010 at 9:01 PM EDT/6:01 PM PDT.

And the best news is that we’re going to make it as easy as possible for you to give OnLive a try!

I’m very excited to announce the OnLive Founding Members Program, presented by AT&T, which is a limited-time, limited availability offer of a FREE 1st-year OnLive membership, with an optional 2nd year at $4.95/month, month-to-month! It’s an awesome deal delivered on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to availability, so sign up here


(No purchase is necessary for the free first year, and while there are lots of demos and other great stuff that are also free, this offer does not include games, features and other services that are for purchase. Eligibility requirements and other terms and conditions are detailed here


We’ll have more than 20 games available on the OnLive Game Service at launch, and with dozens more in the pipeline, we’ll constantly be adding new games over time. To mention just a sampling, we’ll have Assassin’s Creed 2, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction from Ubisoft; Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age: Origins from Electronic Arts; Batman: Arkham Asylum and Just Cause 2 from Square Enix; Borderlands, NBA 2K10 and MLB 2K10 from Take Two; Red Faction: Guerilla from THQ, Fear 2: Project and DiRT 2 from Codemasters along with other great games from publishers, both large and small, representing a wide range of genres.

While June 17 marks the end of a very long journey for the OnLive team, our partners and, of course, our Beta testers, what it really marks is the beginning of a much longer journey: the emergence of a new era in videogames that stands to utterly transform the way we create, distribute and play games and interact with each other when playing them.

The OnLive experience is unlike anything that has existed before. Click on a hot new game and typically within a few seconds the game is playing. Dive into a game or pick up where you left off, even if you’ve changed locations or are using a different computer. No discs, no giant game downloads, no patches or updates, and no high performance computer needed.

You Just Play.

And, instant-play games are only the beginning. OnLive creates a massive live video social network. Every game in play (when permitted) can be spectated, and you can record and share your best (or worst) moments in Brag Clip™ videos. Make Friends after watching their moves in the Arena or in a Brag Clip video, and then check out what all your friends are up to by watching them play live.

These features and more are possible because OnLive fundamentally changes what videogames are:

Without OnLive, videogames are apps requiring specialized hardware and discs, downloads and/or updates.

With OnLive, videogames are digital media, just like digital video and audio. And, like digital video and audio, OnLive games will be playable across a wide range of devices which will provide enormous flexibility in how we distribute and share game experiences among users. The PC, Mac and, soon, TV are just the first devices that will play OnLive games while massive spectating, Brag Clip videos and live video Friend Profiles are just a few early examples of what is possible with the OnLive user experience.

Despite the enormous potential of OnLive technology, it is important to emphasize that the OnLive Game Service is a very different way to experience videogames. We are using the Internet and computers in ways that have never been tried before and, like any brand new technology, you can expect a few bumps on take off until we reach cruising altitude and achieve a smooth flight. OnLive has been tested in an enormous variety of locations using a vast number of combinations of computers, ISPs, displays and input devices. Even so, there are endless possible combinations. So while most OnLive testers report good results with their gameplay experience, we still run into situations where the user may have to take some action (e.g. reset a cable modem or use a different mouse), or unique situations that we have not yet accounted for and require further changes to OnLive technology. And, of course, there are still some rough edges and plain old bugs that need to be fixed. So, if you run into problems, please let us know, and we will do what we can to address them.

Lastly, while most people who have tested the OnLive Game Service report a great experience right from the get-go, sometimes you need to tweak your configuration (our Technical FAQ has lots of tips), and even then, the OnLive experience is not for everyone. The best way to find out is to give it a try. It’s free to sign up, and there are lots of free demos in a variety of game genres. And, whatever you think of OnLive, please send us your feedback to We will continue to evolve our technology and user experience in many dimensions, and this early feedback is crucial in helping us shape the future direction of OnLive.

So, at long last, OnLive is opening its doors to the public! Now it’s time to…

Just Play.

—Steve Perlman, OnLive Founder & CEO

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