OnLive doesn't officially launch until next month, but the $99 controller and MicroConsole bundle ship today as a new $10 payment plan rolls out to beta users in the US.
The PlayPack plan currently gives players access to more than 40 games from major franchises like Tomb Raider, Prince of Persia and 2K's NBA lineup. When OnLive goes live next year, the service plans to expand the library of games and offer the Pack for a rate of $10 a month.
PlayPack puts OnLive on equal footing with Netflix streaming, in that you don't "buy" the games in the Pack so much as "rent" them for a month.
OnLive keeps your save data from that time period the same way Netflix remembers how much of what you watched so that if you renew the next month, or even the next year, OnLive keeps your saved games stored so you can pick up where you left off.
After 12 months of inactivity, though, OnLive will purge dormant save data.
"OnLive adding a flat rate option gives existing and potential users more choices and that will make the streaming games service more attractive to a wider group," M2 Research analyst Billy Pidgeon told us.
"To some, a flat monthly fee for access to a group of games will seem the best deal. Others may prefer rental or purchase, and the free trials where gameplay is saved to a game to extend to rental, purchase or flat fee access is more incentive."
Pidgeon hopes to see OnLive add additional payment options that incorporate microtransactions and advertising-based models. Even with that as an edge, though, he said OnLive still has a ways to go to catch up with leading game rental services.
"With a larger installed base from increased coverage, particularly with strong uptake of the console enabling TV usage with console-style controls, OnLive can offer gamers immediate gratification and value pricing," Pidgeon said. "In that scenario, OnLive makes GameFly and other mail delivery services obsolete."
Not sure if the service is for you? Frankly, neither are we, OnLive didn't tell product reviewers about PlayPack until today, so we are holding our review until we've had a week to try it out.
In the meantime, check out our hands-on preview and read on for a partial list of the PlayPack games beta OnLivers have as of today:
- Prince of Persia
- NBA 2K10
- Tomb Raider: Underworld
- F.E.A.R. 2
- Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.
- Unreal Tournament 3
- Vin Diesel Wheelman
- LEGO Batman
- Defense Grid Gold
- World of Goo