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GDC: OnLive Gets Launch Date, Reveals Initial Publishers

Cloud-based game streaming service OnLive has announced an official U.S. launch date of June 17, 2010, including games from Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, 2K Games, THQ and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. [UPDATE: Analyst comments added.]
In a keynote at GDC, cloud-based game streaming service OnLive has announced an official U.S. launch date of June 17, 2010 for its PC and Mac service. The service is now accepting signups for a "priority waiting list" of gamers who will be among the first to subscribe. OnLive also revealed what it will charge: a monthly subscription fee currently set at $14.95. The first 25,000 users to join the wait list will have the fee waived for their first three months. The subscription fee won't include the price of the games themselves, which users will be need to purchase or rent separately. Today OnLive revealed that it'll release games from publishers Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, 2K Games, THQ and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. As the launch of OnLive will coincide with this year's E3 event, the company says it will announce "loyalty programs" and special offers like multi-month pricing at that time. The service, which will initially be available in the 48 contiguous United States, allows gamers to play PC or Mac titles through their own computers or television sets (with a special adapter), without needing to render the game on their own hardware. Rather, it is rendered remotely and sent frame-by-frame back to the local display device. Eventually, the company hopes to provide even faster service by streaming directly through cable to users' homes, much like paid television currently is. "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," says OnLive founder and CEO Steve Perlman. "We are opening the door to incredible experiences for gamers and enormous opportunities for developers and publishers." [UPDATE: Lazard Capital analyst Colin Sebastian believes the arrival of the service won't pressure traditional models right away. "Near-term pressure on the traditional retail channel seems limited. Without discounts on games, we note that pricing may be a gating factor to mass market adoption of OnLive," he says. "However, if successful, we believe OnLive could have a meaningful impact on the industry, offering publishers a lower-cost distribution channel and consumers convenient access to high-quality games," the analyst continues. "While there are still legitimate questions regarding the cost/scale for OnLive, over the long haul the service has a multi-billion [dollar] market opportunity."]

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