Onlive launches $99 'console'

Gaming-on-demand company OnLive this week introduced a new game console for HD TVs to its US audience.

Calling the gadget a console, however, is a bit of a stretch. A USB port may be more accurate.

At $99 a console sounds like a bit of a bargain. Close to a hundred bucks for a wedge-shaped bit of plastic is less attractive. You do get a 'free' game though.

OnLive CEO Steve Perlman actually calls the thing a "micro-console" and claims it's really easy to use.

"Beta testers have reported going from opening the box to playing a game in under three minutes. I kid you not," Perlman bogged. "And after that first installation, from power-on to game start is as little as 15 seconds."

OnLive launched in the United States in June, and will be offered in the UK exclusively by BT some time in the next year or so. The system is cloud-based and up until now players have used their PC s to connect to the service.

The online gaming portal is supposed to take on traditional gaming consoles like the PS3, and Xbox and will allow users to play 3D games from their PCs and tellies through the cloud.

Gamers will pays a $15-a-month subscription fee to play such titles as Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age Origins, Assassin's Creed II, Prince of Persia - The Forgotten Sands, Borderlands and Metro 2033.

Richard Branson's Virgin Gaming company offers a competing product named Gaikai.