OnLive MicroConsole to Challenge Xbox and Playstation

If you or your kids have been dying to get an Xbox 360, Playstation 3, or Nintendo Wii, but you don’t want to spend upwards of $300, you now have another option. It’s called the MicroConsole, by OnLive. With MicroConsole, you can bring OnLive to your HDTV and enjoy playing popular games with a wireless controller, just like Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. By the way, MicroConsole only costs $99.

OnLive is an online gaming service that allows users to play games online without actually downloading them or requiring a disc. Instead, the games are hosted on remote servers that use “the cloud” to transmit to user’s computers. If you log on to, you can check out OnLive.

Basically, you can go online and play video games without actually having a to download the data or use a disc. These are not random, crappy Flash games, either; these are popular titles that have been released for the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3. Examples of titles available for OnLive are Borderlands, Assassin’s Creed II, Batman: Arkham Asylum, and F.E.A.R. II.

Until now, you could only play OnLive on a computer. Now, with the release of MicroConsole, you can bring OnLive streamed gaming to your HDTV and play your favorite games with a wireless controller.

The best part about OnLive is that you can try out games for 30 minutes, completely free. After that, you can pay to rent the game for a few days, or purchase the game from OnLive for a cheaper price than other consoles, almost half the price or less. The problem with purchasing these games is that they are only available through OnLive and the cloud, meaning if the company goes under, so will your games. According to Engadget, OnLive is guaranteeing that the games currently available will be there until 2013 at least, but it is definitely a huge drawback to many gamers who still play their favorites from years ago (myself included – the replayability of Mario Galaxy is amazing)

The MicroConsole is less than one inch tall, weighs less than half a pound, and is literally smaller than the wireless controller that comes with it. The MicroConsole is tiny, as in less than half the size of a brick. The console comes with high-definition capabilities, Bluetooth support, two USB ports in the front, an Ethernet cord, an HDMI cord, a free game, and a nice wireless controller.

The wireless controller is similar to the Xbox 360 controller, but also has some characteristics taken from Playstation. The overall shape is similar to the Xbox controller, but the joysticks are placed like the Playstation controller. The d-pad was taken from Playstation, the “A B C D” button layout was taken from Xbox, and its rumble feature was taken from every console controller since the Nintendo 64. The coolest new feature on the OnLive controller is the addition of five media control buttons on the bottom. Engadget reported feeling a bit of lag when using the controller, compared to the other popular consoles. To me, that’s a deal-breaker.

At first glance, the OnLive MicroConsole seems like a no-brainer, but it will depend. First of all, the system runs completely through your internet connection, so the speed of your internet service will determine the quality of the gameplay. Secondly, Engadget reports that the quality of gameplay could also depend on your distance to the closest OnLive data center. That, you can’t control.

As mentioned, you can try out any game for 30 minutes completely free before you either purchase the game or rent it. On January 15th, however, OnLive will be offering a $9.99 monthly package that gives you unlimited access to all their games.

If you have a fast internet connection and want to save some money when buying a video game console, take a look at the OnLive MicroConsole. For me, and pretty much everyone who already has a popular console, I will stick with what I love (Xbox). But if I didn’t have it already, I would definitely look into the MicroConsole for my gaming needs. Unfortunately, you won’t be enjoying brand new game releases on the MicroConsole any time soon.

For those of you considering OnLive’s new toy, don’t just run out and buy it. Go to and give the service it a test run on your personal computer. If you like what you see and play, maybe the MicroConsole is the perfect addition to your HDTV.

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