OnLive Subscription Plan: $10 Per Month

OnLive still has a lot of kinks to work out with its cloud gaming service and MicroConsole set-top box, but they're easier to overlook when you can have unlimited gaming for $10 per month.

The so-called PlayPack plan, announced alongside today's MicroConsole launch, will have more than 40 back-catalog games when it becomes available on January 15. Subscribers can still purchase or rent newer games a la carte, and they can suspend subscriptions for up to a year without losing their saved game data.

For now, folks who buy the MicroConsole can try the plan for free in beta, which includes 15 games to start. John Spinale, OnLive's vice president of games and media, says new games will land on the subscription package, and on the service in general, on a weekly basis.

This is exactly what OnLive needs to get off the ground. Individually, many of the games on offer cost $15 or $20 at GameStop, so if you can plow through a game or two per month, OnLive is a better deal. You'd also have the luxury of jumping between games without actually purchasing them all. On the downside, the games won't be the newest on the market, and some publishers won't participate, but as Netflix has shown, the subscription model can be alluring even with gaping holes.

Does the PlayPack announcement change my verdict on the service and MicroConsole? Not really. I'm still down on the feel of the controller and service issues, and the games library clearly needs time to grow. That last point is crucial; even in the non-subscription games library, there's only one racing game, three first-person shooters (one of which doesn't work with the console controller) and two RPGs (both of which are crossovers into the action genre).

But obviously, OnLive is going to improve with age, as some of the service's evangelists angrily pointed out to me. For the rest of us, OnLive may not be worth jumping on immediately, but it's going to become very difficult to ignore.

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