Kara Swisher

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Perlman's Cloud-Based OnLive Gaming Service Goes Live, but Not Until June

Longtime Silicon Valley entrepreneur Steve Perlman has been ferreting away on a new cloud gaming service called OnLive for a while now.

Finally, it’s got a due date to go live–June 17 at the E3 conference in Los Angeles.

As in OnLive will be live, but it’s not live yet.

Get it?

Perlman announced the launch of the potentially innovative service, which plans to offer high-quality games on any computer or smartphone without a dedicated console unit, in a keynote at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco today.

It will include 3-D, since all the rendering is done in the cloud and brought down via streaming to OnLive’s software.

Whether it will be twitchy enough for the ADHD set of gamers is the big question.

In any case, OnLive will cost almost $15 a month as a service, with game prices on top of that. Movies and other community or social networking features are also presumably possible.

I will be talking to the always entertaining Perlman–creator of WebTV and more–later this week about it all.

Until then, here’s the press release:

OnLive to Launch Consumer Game Service on June 17, 2010

US Rollout of First Cloud Gaming Service to Begin During E3 2010 in Los Angeles;

Launch Titles, Pricing Plans and Early Registration Program Announced at GDC 2010

San Francisco, CA–March 10, 2010–OnLive, Inc., the pioneer of on-demand, instant-play video games, today announced that the PC and Mac® versions of its game service will begin rolling out to consumers on June 17, 2010 during the E3 2010 show. The OnLive® Game Service is a revolutionary, on-demand video game platform capable of delivering the latest and most advanced games instantly via a broadband connection on virtually any PC or Mac, via a small browser plug-in, or on an HDTV, via OnLive’s MicroConsole™ TV Adapter. The OnLive Game Service enables an entirely new way to discover, explore, purchase and experience video game content. Additionally, the game service offers instant access to purchase or rent new release games on an à la carte basis from many of the world’s leading publishers including Electronic Arts, Ubisoft®, 2K Games, THQ and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

“This marks a huge milestone for both OnLive and the interactive entertainment landscape as a whole, changing the way that video games are developed, marketed, accessed and played,” said Steve Perlman, Founder and CEO of OnLive. “We are opening the door to incredible experiences for gamers and enormous opportunities for developers and publishers.”

Starting on June 17, 2010, the OnLive Game Service will be available to early registrants throughout the 48 contiguous United States. The initial offering will be supported by a $14.95 monthly service fee, which will provide access to an ever-increasing library of high-end, new-release, instant-play game content without the need to purchase expensive PC gaming or console systems.

Loyalty programs, such as multi-month pricing, and special offers will be announced by the start of E3. For starters, OnLive is announcing an exclusive, pre-registration offer, wherein the first 25,000 qualified registrants will have their OnLive service fee waived for the first three months. For important details regarding the OnLive Pre-registration special offer visit www.onlive.com/special1.

The OnLive Game Service will include standard online game service features such as gamer tags, user profiles, friends, and chat. In addition, an evolving slate of OnLive-exclusive features will include state-of-the-art 3D graphics performance; instant-play free game demos; multiplayer across PC, Mac and TV platforms; Brag Clips™ video capture and posting; massive spectating; always-updated games; cloud-saved games–pause and instantly resume from anywhere, even on a different platform; and much more. Individual game titles will be available for purchase or rental on an à la carte basis, with specific game pricing announced prior to the consumer launch event at E3.

“The OnLive Game Service creates a new opportunity for consumers to play the latest games without spending hundreds of dollars on a hardware system to make it happen,” said Mike McGarvey, COO of OnLive. “As a Mac user myself, I’m excited about the opportunity to help bring high-end gaming to this new and significant market.”

OnLive also confirmed ongoing platform support from the world’s largest and most influential game publishers. While launch titles will be announced prior to E3 in Los Angeles, a few of the anticipated games include Mass Effect 2™, Dragon Age Origins™, Assassin’s Creed® II, Prince of Persia The Forgotten Sands™, Borderlands™ and Metro 2033™. OnLive will soon be announcing the availability of its MicroConsole TV Adapter which will bring the OnLive Game Service directly to consumers’ television sets for the first time. An announcement about expected availability will be made later in the year.

OnLive’s digital distribution model, instant-play capability and revolutionary video compression technology offers gamers of all skill levels the ability to experience the newest, most advanced, always-updated games with no downloading, no hardware upgrades, and virtually instant response time. As a result, consumers can enjoy more games more rapidly and with lower overall up-front investment than ever before.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald