As we've been discussing for a few months now, the OnLive service is quite intriguing, promising the ability for anyone with a quality Internet connection to play high end PC games on even modest PC's or Mac's, including netbooks. As I discussed recently in an unboxing video, the company has gone one step further and released a system of their own for $99, dubbed the OnLive MicroConsole, which is a miniature device that plugs into your TV via HDMI and allows you to play those same high end PC games from the comfort of your couch. I've had some time over the past few days to put the MicroConsole through its paces and I thought now would be as good of a time as any to provide a review of my experiences so far.
First off, it's important to remember that OnLive is a streaming service, and as such is highly dependent upon the quality of your Internet connection. While it does work over wireless, the variables inherent therein make even wireless-N connections sometimes less-than-ideal to play these games over. While it does work, graphical fidelity is reduced when there are connection issues, just like when Netflix streaming drops to lower quality when you're watching a movie or TV show. Only when network performance drops below a certain threshold (again, just like with Netflix) does the service stop working completely. In my experiments with my laptop, while I had a few drops in fidelity, for the most part it performed well over my standard wireless-N connection, though it's not something I'd necessarily recommend as a long term solution. Regardless, I was able to pretty much freely play Borderlands Game of the Year edition - which was my choice of free game for ordering a Microconsole - just as if it was installed natively on my gaming-optimized laptop.
I did a quick unboxing video for the new OnLive Console. I'll do a full review after Christmas, but if you have any questions in the mean-time, let me know (by the way, the USB cable is for the initial syncing of the controller to the console, it doesn't actually allow you to charge it).
UPDATE: The controller is actually slightly larger than the Xbox 360 controller and it comes with both a regular battery compartment and two AA batteries, as well as a rechargeable battery pack. So a nice package is even a bit nicer.