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OnLive drops monthly fee

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Offering a way to play modern, triple-A PC games on even the most out-of-date of computers, innovative "cloud computing" service OnLive caught the eyes of thrifty gamers at its June launch. However, the prospect of a planned $4.95 monthly fee for the service put many of them off.

Not any more.

OnLive has dropped its plans to introduce the fee, it announced this week - - and it's debuting a new trial option that'll let gamers try it out without even coughing up their credit card details.

"There is no precedent for OnLive, so we had to grow to a large number of active users in order to assess usage patterns and operating costs," said OnLive CEO Steve Perlman. "We've arrived at that stage, and as we had hoped, we are able to operate OnLive without charging a fee for access. This opens the door to any gamer seeking instant top-tier game demos, or even just people interested in spectating high-performance live gameplay in the OnLive Arena. Come one, come all."

We reported on OnLive when it launched earlier this year, but since then they've
addressed two of our main gripes with the service: it didn't support wireless (it does now, albeit in beta) and it piled annoying subscription fees on top of regular game prices, which it doesn't do any more. And its much-vaunted Microconsole (a low-cost, low-power device that'll let you play any OnLive game on your TV) is reportedly in production and should be with us later this year.

In other words, it just made the leap from "interesting but flawed concept" to "y'know, this might just work." Give it a try -- you've got nothing to lose.

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