OnLive: "use us as a demo service"

OnLive is backing away from the glorious-future-of-all-games mantle - now the CEO, Steve Perlman, is encouraging "hardcore gamers" to use the service to demo games before purchasing them elsewhere.

"If you're a hardcore gamer and you've got a big rig and you want the highest quality graphics, then OnLive is not the place where you're going to play your high-end game," Perlman screamed into the night air during an interview with CNET. "Then again," he sobbed, "to not have a huge download in order to trial something before you make the purchase decision, why not? Just click OnLive and give it a go. If you like it, terrific. Download the thing from Steam or order a copy on DVD."

The concern is that 1080p, which is what consoles call the resolutions our computers were capable of comfortably displaying ten years ago, is much too terrifyingly high-tech for the OnLive service. "Once we release 1080p, if a user's connection speed, display resolution, or computer performance limits them to 720p, then we will automatically scale the video down to 720p."

He's said that he's quite happy for OnLive to be used as "a demo service, as a rental service, as a purchase service, as a social network." Which means OnLive is increasingly aware that their streaming tech - however impressive - isn't good enough to replace localised rendering in a ludicrously expensive and LED encrusted graphics card.

The OnLive service is free for the first year after launch. You can play demos and watch trailers for free, and purchase games for money. After the first year, it requires a subscription fee - in the US, they're running that for $5 a month. Here's more on their pricing model thingy.

Update: Reports are coming in that water is wet, and that fire is hot. Thanks to the tipsters in the comments - we'll keep you posted on any further updates to this breaking story.

[ CNET via CVG ]