Monday brought reports that cloud-based gaming service OnLive plans to provide streaming movies and television shows in 2011. The news arrives as media companies grow concerned that Netflix is growing too large and are now seeking out alternative content distributors.
According to a report from Reuters, OnLive is currently in negotiations with major film and TV studios. However games will still be the main focus on OnLive, as they offer higher margins than movies.
"Streaming technology is available to anybody," said OnLive Chief Executive Steve Perlman in an interview. "We want to work with the studios. All of these guys want to offer content, we're just here to distribute. OnLive can deliver any experience that Netflix can."
Launched earlier this year, OnLive offers PC-based gaming in three flavors: a 3-day PlayPass, a 5-day PlayPass, and a full PlayPass. Prices vary across the board, and not all titles offer 3-day and 5-day passes. The drawback to OnLive is that the library is currently limited, offering around 45 titles. However the service is cloud-based, allowing players to experience many hardware-demanding games without the need to upgrade components.
For a PC or Mac, OnLive's minimum system requirements include a 3 Mbps wired or Wifi connection, Windows 7 or Vista (32 or 64-bit) or XP SP3 (32-bit), Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later, and a screen resolution of 1024 x 576. OnLive states that the cloud-based gaming service works on most PCs, netbooks and Intel-based Macs, however the recommended system requirements include a 5 Mbps Internet connection, dual-core PCs, Mac OS X 10.6 or later, and a screen resolution of 1280 x 720.
Of course, OnLive also offers a dedicated $99 stand-alone "console" that hooks directly into the TV. OnLive is also starting a $9.99/mo subscription plan beginning January 15 that grants access to every title in the library. Those who purchase the console can participate in the beta for free until January 14.
As for the movie and TV streaming aspect, the details are unknown. Reuters said that Perlman declined to comment when asked about details and pricing. As Time Warner Inc's Warner Bros is one of the OnLive investors, it's probably a given that everything related to the studio is already on the table.
Could OnLive pose as a threat to Netflix? That will will depend on the content, however a monthly subscription that included one PC game rental for a month could really strike a serious blow below the belt.