Developed by: Sony
Ranked: 5th
Overall rating:
Best price: Free



Technology should make our lives easier


Review summary

Good points OnLive  review good points

• No hardware upgrades

• Automatic software updates

• Social gaming and subscription models

Bad points OnLive  review bad points

• Streaming needs a good network connection

• Graphic quality slightly ugly

• Some big titles aren’t on service

Our verdict

OnLive is the most ambitious move in the video games industry for a while. Streaming games is a completely new way to play the games you love, without the expense of a large console. There are some connection problems for people that have slow networks and OnLive is a company that has struggled to keep revenue, but right now, it is one of our favorite gaming platforms.

Full review


With OnLive, you can just stream from your PC, Android tablet or iPad, if you want. If you want to play it on your TV, you pay a small amount to get the OnLive box. This comes with a small console and controller. The console is just a port to get OnLive on your TV.

The controller is a nice, well-designed accessory. It is not needed if you want to play on PC, although it can be made to be compatible with the platform.


Instead of internals on the console, with OnLive, we must test the streaming quality and this is what users should research before buying into this cloud gaming service.

If you have a network connection speed of 50mbps+ then you should be fine streaming games. This means you have a solid broadband connection that can run the OnLive games without much hassle. If under 50mbps, to the common average of about 3mbps, you will have trouble running games at an average quality. OnLive works like this: you make an action on the game; the action is sent to servers thousands of miles away; the server accepts command and then sends back data through your broadband line.

This is all done in milliseconds, but for a fast-paced game with a lot going on; it could overwhelm the 3mbps connection. Too many requests will stock up on the server and may not transmit back to your game fast enough. Even with decent connection, the graphical performance is underwhelming, not as good as an average PC with a good graphics card would produce.

User Interface

OnLive’s marketplace and dashboard have an orange and black color scheme, which seems to work very well for a cloud gaming streamer. In our view, the UI is an incredible innovation, with games being played in the background in real time. Like many TV’s in one room, you can watch one, hop in and watch another OnLive user playing a game.

OnLive does not have the entertainment system that the Xbox 360 and PS3 are starting to grow. We expect this is partly due to everything being streamed, and most content providers do not like the streaming model unless they are being paid a lot.


Games on OnLive are far reaching and there are many titles on this service that aren’t available on Xbox 360 or PS3. This is partly due to OnLive promoting free-to-play and try-outs. As we said before, OnLive only offers games; this is not an entertainment box.


The experience on multiplayer all depends on how reliable your friends and enemies connection is. If you have laggy players that are failing to play as a team or cannot run the required game, then it can get boring and aggravating. For the most part, multiplayer works very well and it is enjoyable.


Subscription model - For all games, you can use the subscription model and with that buy the game for however long you are enjoying it. This is great for people that just like gaining XP in single-player.


Free-to-play - Most all games come with 30 minute trial options, where you can test the game out to see if you like it.


OnLive works with servers and connects automatically to them as soon as you set up the account. With the OnLive console box, you must use an Ethernet cable, as there is no WiFi.


The price of OnLive is free and there are a few cheap titles to get you started. The TV port console costs £70. We do stress that games like Skyrim and Call of Duty will likely not arrive on the gaming platform, due to the publishers and developers sticking to normal SDK.


OnLive is an incredible ambitious and pretty decent gaming platform. It is far from perfect and some elements of the system do looks rather poor, but for casual gamers with a top connection, it is a brilliantly cheap and simple system.

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Ratings breakdown

 received a rating of 1 for Overall
 received a rating of 1 for Design
 received a rating of 1 for Performance
User Interface
 received a rating of 1 for User Interface
 received a rating of 1 for Content
 received a rating of 1 for Features
 received a rating of 1 for Multiplayer
 received a rating of 1 for Connectivity