Thursday, 6 October 2011

The OnLive PlayPack is the Best Deal in Gaming

One of OnLive’s largest draws is its optional $9.99/month subscription PlayPack bundle. Boasting a catalog of over 100 titles and offering a 30% store-wide discount, OnLive’s PlayPack offers an unparalleled value for gamers. By comparing/contrasting some of the finer differences in OnLive’s PlayPack with the value you’ll find from other distributors (or as we like to call them; the old way of doing things), we hope to determine whether the PlayPack truly is the best deal in gaming.

When it comes to restaurants, my biggest weakness is an all-you-can-eat buffet. The idea that I can get some food, finish, and go get something completely different (without having to pay for another meal) is irresistible to me. Seconds, thirds, fourths: I can eat until I’m stuffed. It’s all up to me — because I paid for it.

This “all-you-can-eat” mentality has been prevalent in the service sector for years and is extremely successful. People don’t always like to be constrained to one choice per order: They like having a huge variety, at their fingertips and with no limitations. It has only been within the last few years that the entertainment industry has adopted this idea and decided to run with it. The first huge success story with this is, of course, Netflix with its all-you-can-stream media plan. Hulu has jumped on the video buffet line, while services like Napster and Spotify bring us all the music we can listen to for nominal monthly fees. Now we are seeing the world of video games make in-roads towards the same idea.

Not long after the Cloud distribution service went live, OnLive introduced its optional subscription PlayPack. This innovative monthly service gives OnLive members access to a growing number of titles for a low monthly fee (currently $9.99). I hear many of you out there saying, “But, OnLive wasn’t the first company to provide this service to gamers!” No, they were not. But I believe that they provide the best bang for your gaming buck when compared to similar services. Let me elaborate.

One of the first companies to try this strategy was Gamehouse Games. Their subscription service allowed gamers to download any number of casual games from their catalog. So long as customers continued to pay the monthly fee they could use every game, unencumbered. Should they cancel the service, their games would revert to demo versions which would require either individual purchases or a continuation of the monthly service.

Other publishers have opted for this service as well, including RealArcade’s Gamepass and Verizon’s Games On-Demand service. But Gametap was the most extensive offering by far; bringing classic console and arcade titles to our computer screens and, later, full Windows retail games.

You may be asking, “With all of these services available, why should I give OnLive $9.99 every month?” There are a couple of compelling reasons to choose the PlayPack over other offerings out there. First, if you are an OnLive user there is a very good chance that you game more seriously than the casual gamer. The problem with offerings from RealArcade and Gamehouse is that their catalogs are comprised almost entirely of casual games. Now I love matching gems and finding objects as much as the next person, but when I really want to satisfy my gaming itch, I want to take up arms in a first-person shooter like Gearbox Software’s Borderlands or destroy some opponents in Bugbear Entertainment’s Flatout 2. The PlayPack gives you titles from every gaming genre under the sun, and it’s all there when you want it.

Another disadvantage to these services is that the software must exist on the gamer’s hard drive. I realize that hard drive space is getting cheaper by the day but it is still a limited commodity, especially for laptop gamers such as myself. While a service such as Gametap offers a wide variety of games, the games must be downloaded and installed. Want to play a Real-Time Strategy game right now? You’ll have to wait for it to download and install. 30 minutes pass and you want to switch to a sports title? Get ready to download and install again. A few weeks of installing game after game, and your hard drive will be split at the seams. Then it’ll be time to play the application shuffle as you uninstall one game to create space for another.

With OnLive’s PlayPack, as with all their games, everything is right there when you want it, taking up no more space than the few megabytes the client requires on your computer. With no downloads and no install times you can jump from game to game thirty times over, never having to worry about the next game download. With OnLive you don’t need to have a scream-worthy gaming rig with terabytes of hard drive space to play, either. In fact you’ll be able to play all your OnLive games, including the PlayPack, at peak performance on a simple netbook. You can’t do that with Gametap.

Not enough? What happens when you need to take a couple months off from the subscription service to save up for a new HDTV with OnLive embedded? With other services all those installed games become a huge waste of precious hard drive space, and are soon uninstalled. What about all that progress you made in Fuel of War or DiRT 2? Tomb Raider Anniversary? Gone, gone, and gone. When you sign up for and experience OnLive’s PlayPack, you can take a break for a few months and the games wait for you; with all of your previous progress, scores, and other data completely intact the moment you log back in.

Still not buying it? You just can’t understand shelling out money each month to play and you absolutely must have physical ownership of those games? Okay. Let’s crunch the numbers here and see what kind of value OnLive is offering you.

Of the 100+ games currently available for the PlayPack, let’s take a look at the top ten games based on their general popularity on the service. As an attempt to be completely fair in our comparisons, the prices below represent hard copy Windows versions (save Defense Grid Gold, which is a digital download) noted at their current online market values.
The total, if you were to purchase all the games listed above at these prices, is $121.96 (not including hardware, taxes where applicable, or shipping costs). For that same price you can purchase OnLive’s PlayPack, which includes these AAA titles plus 98 other games, for an entire year! For the games that you want to have full ownership of, PlayPack subscribers receive a 30% discount on all current OnLive products. The smart choice seems clear.

Instant access to an ever-growing library of titles, no space concerns, persistent data even when you take a break from the service, and huge money-savings easily makes OnLive’s PlayPack the subscription service for gamers of every genre. It is the best use for your gaming dollars that you are likely to find out on the market today. So what are you waiting for?

SOURCE: OnLive Informer.