To say that Nvidia's GRID game-streaming service is a direct competitor to Onlive would be somewhat incorrect… at least for now. Sure, both platforms have client apps based on Android. But despite its streaming nature, GRID is a SHIELD-only platform, meaning you need a SHIELD Tablet or a SHIELD Portable to play GRID-based games. Onlive, on the other hand, can be accessed through a number of platforms including Windows, iOS and Android.
As of press time, there are only 18 GRID-based games that I can stream on the SHIELD Portable. They include Alan Wake American Nightmare, Borderlands, Borderlands 2, Darksiders, Darksiders 2, Dead Island, Gas Guzzlers: Extreme, MX vs ATV Reflex, Overlord 2, PixelJunk Monsters, Race Driver Grid, Red Faction: Armageddon, Saints Row: The Third, Street Fighter X Tekken, Strike Suit Zero, Super Street fighter IV: Arcade Edition, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings and Trine 2.
Nvidia also lists on its website Astebreed, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman: Arkham City, Brutal Legend, Dirt 2, LEGO Batman 2, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes and Ultra Street Fighter 4. Currently, these games do not show up on the SHIELD Portable, nor does Psychonauts, which was added to the list this week along with Red Faction: Armageddon.
Currently, streaming and playing these GRID on-demand games is free until June 30, 2015. The company plans to add a title each week (we hear Tuesdays) for an undefined amount of time, which could mean that Nvidia may eventually challenge Onlive by going multi-platform with GRID. In that case, yes, one could say that GRID is an Onlive competitor if Nvidia packs in enough GeForce-powered PC games into its GRID offering.
Right now, Onlive has around 250 games in its arsenal. Customers can subscribe to the PlayPack for a monthly fee of $9.95 and have access to the entire all-you-can-eat library. Or, Onlive patrons can pay $7.95 a month for CloudLift and stream their compatible Steam games without hardware restrictions, downloads and installations. Want both subscriptions? Get the Onlive Games Bundle for $12.95 per month.
As of this article, there's no indication of what Nvidia plans to do once the June 2015 deadline for GRID arrives. There's a chance Nvidia may follow Onlive's lead in the PlayPack aspect, or the company may simply stick to the SHIELD hardware and not offer this service to the general audience.
As reported on Monday, Nvidia plans to offer two SHIELD bundles this Friday only: the SHIELD Tablet for $399 and the SHIELD Portable for $199. The latter includes a carrying case and a glossy black plate, and the former includes a controller and three games by Valve Software.