At E3 back in June of this year, we got an impressive hands-on demo of the OnLive service running and playable on the iPad. In case you're not familiar, OnLive is the cloud-based gaming service that allows you to play from a fairly large selection of console and PC games by way of streaming them to an OnLive client running on your computer or a specially designed set-top box that connects to your TV. In simpler terms, it's a lot like instantly streaming movies over NetFlix, except it's video games, and you get to actually play them in real time with minimal lag if you're internet speeds are up to snuff.

Basically, the iPad demo at E3 showed off just how versatile the OnLive service is. They simply created a client for the iPad and it allows practically the exact same OnLive experience that you would get using the service on your computer or television. It really felt like the future, but today, the future is now! (Sorry, I've always wanted to say that). But on a serious note, the OnLive iPad client is scheduled to launch today, as in like right now, for FREE.

There is a catch, however, as the OnLive mobile app is currently only available in the US and UK. There's no word yet on if or when the service may launch in other territories. As part of the mobile app's support, more than 25 of the games available on OnLive have been outfitted with touch-specific controls, meaning they can be played directly on the device itself without any additional peripherals. Included in that lineup of 25 titles is Rockstar's hugely successful LA Noire, as well as Lego Batman: The Videogame, which will actually be available for free for anybody to try out the service just by downloading the OnLive client.

The majority of OnLive's nearly 200 other available titles will also be playable on iOS, but won't have the virtual touch controls baked into them. For these games you can pair the Universal OnLive Wireless Controller with your device and play them just like you would on a traditional console, or as demonstrated in the E3 demo video. Not every title will be able to be played on every device, OnLive cautions, but it sounds like the vast majority of them will be fully playable using the controller or virtual button setup.

One cool thing about OnLive is that whether you purchase a game through their service on your iPad, computer, set-top unit, or whatever, it will be available on any of those devices, with full cloud-saving functionality. So, if you're in the middle of an OnLive game on your TV, you can stop what you're doing and seamlessly pick up where you left off on your iPad, for example. You'll also have access to all the social features that are built into OnLive no matter which device you're playing on.

While the OnLive iOS client hasn't quite hit the App Store just yet, it is supposed to be arriving any time, and we'll update this post with a link as soon as possible. Since it's free and comes with a free game, there's really no reason not to download it and check it out. If you're interested in ordering a Universal OnLive Wireless Controller, those will be available sometime soon, and you'll be able to get it in the US OnLive Store for $49.99 or the UK OnLive Store for £39.99.

  • Matt S

    You failed to mention that after the free trial, you need a subscription to play games through the service.  In addition, if you buy a game through OnLive and later on don't renew your subscription, you can't play the game anymore until you pay for a subscription again.  You never "own" the games you buy.  They even have a right to take a game off their servers after a certain number of years and you will never have the chance to play the game again even though you paid for it.  I believe this is a valid service, but people need to know what they are getting themselves into.

    • Anthony Marsh


    • Joseph Sujka

      I feel it is my duty to correct this. There are two methods to playing Onlive. You can pay for full Playpasses which allow you to play the game for an unlimited amount of time. You can also buy other passes that allow you to rent the game for a set amount of time. The other option is the Playpass subscription service. With this service you get 30% off any game you purchase and unlimited access to the games in the Playpack. This includes about a hundred games right now and more are added daily. You do NOT have to have a Playpack subscription to play on Onlive. I don't and have no trouble loading up a game of Arkham City. Hope this clears things up.

    • Josh Tisdale

      You are totally incorrect. There is no fee to play on the service. you can choose to sign up for the playback, which is a great deal at $10 a month for over 100 games, or just buy the game outright. If you get a full play pass then games are guaranteed for at least 3 years from purchase, and that a minimum. Still playing many of your 3+ year old games? didn't think so. 

      You are right that its a valid service and people need to know what they are getting into, but at least provide them accurate information. 

      • Anonymous

        "Still playing many of your 3+ year old games? didn't think so. "
        Speak for yourself

    • James Lopez

      Matt, you do not need a subscription to play OnLive titles. If you pay for a full play pass for a particular game, it's yours to play anytime. The only time a subscription comes in is with the PlayPack, which gives you access to 90+ games al a carte. That is entirely separate from the games that you "buy". I've been using the service for a little under a year and I'm very pleased with it.

      • Matt S

        Thanks everybody for the clarification.  My knowledge was incorrect and based off when OnLive first started I believe.  Anyways, yes I still play some games that are older than three years old.

        One question.  Does OnLive ever have special sales for the games just like Steam sales?  For example, Orcs Must Die! was just recently on sale on Steam twice for $3.74 versus $14.99 on OnLive.  Plus, the holiday sales that Steam has when most games are at least 50% off is great.  OnLive should implement something similar.

      • Josh Weaver

        Actually there are sales rather often. Not quite as low as steam sales, but pretty good regardless. In fact, I've got 5 games in my library with OnLive and i've probably spent less than 15 bucks and that's gotten me a micro console too! 🙂

      • Anonymous

        In your defense, they have changed their business model multiple times since launching, so it's easy to get the terms confused. 

      • Loud Professional

        Absolutely, the only reason I have any OnLive games is from the sale. They usually pop up with a "first game is $0.01 for new users." That's how I got Arkham City.

        OnLive is awesome now.

    • Jonathan Neal

      i have onlive without a subscription & own games you dont know what your talking about. you dont need a subscription at all .

    • blackryn0

      Your wrong.Thats for the play pack which holds older games from 3 yrs ago or more. There is no monthly subscription for the other games that is optional. Stop feeding people miss information. 

    • Anonymous


  • OFErOne (Erwin Ocampo)

    For these games I'm assuming there are no achievements or anything or am I missing something?

    .....wait...just googled it and saw there are Facebook "Achievements"?  Anybody know how that works?

    • Joseph Sujka

      Yea, there are achievements in the games which earn you points like XBL or PSN. You can post those as well as Brag clips (videos you take of yourself doing something in the game) to your Fb. None of the achievements though are attached to XBL or PSN, they are their own thing in the Onlive service.

      • OFErOne (Erwin Ocampo)


  • Anonymous

    Boom goes the dynamite!

  • Anonymous

    Great timing. I had just started playing Batman Arkham City on the mac and would to continue it on my iPad

  • Anonymous

    Now all we need is for bandwidth technology to advance to the point where OnLive games don't look like an ugly, artifact-riddled, blurry mess.

  • Anonymous

    Works well enough on the Kindle Fire, should be better on the iPad, should completely rock with the optional controller. OnLive has been very generous with their promotions over the past year and a half, so I would not be at all surprised to see a special bundle deal where you get the controller when you buy a PlayPass. They usually have nice holiday sales, too.

  • Dorfdad

    Alot more info has been released about this as well over at as well.. 

    • blackryn0

      sup dorfad you lurk here too lol

  • David Albertson

    Can you play multiplayer?

    • J. Stanford-Carey

      Do you really wanna try split screen on an iPad? I just don't think it will turn out pretty

    • Anonymous

      If the game offers online multiplayer, then yes. There is no local multiplayer, with OnLive games. At least, not that I've seen.

  • Owen Shaw

    What about Canada? Any immediate plans to bring this service to Canada?

  • Anonymous

    I can't wait to try this out on my iPad 2 since I currently have a fast connection

  • Daniel Douvris

    So is there a limited iPhone version as well? Just for viewing games maybe.

    • Dogival Ferreira

      Nope, this app already exists.
      Now is more like you really play the game.

  • Be-Rad Entertainment

    Brag clips are the best thing to happen to gaming (pure entertainment) since powerups

  • Pawel Grx

    Is it coming to iPhone 4 too?

  • Marc Goldman

    The email I got about this today says nothing about iPad/iPhone (other than you can like them on facebook to win an iPad2). The only link is for the Android version and text saying other tablets coming soon.

    The controller page on the UK site is also very vague about support. No mention of what is supported outside of the PC/Mac. Are we sure they are going to be able to get this to work with the iOS devices? I know we have iControlPad and iCade, so it is possible, but obviously they've tended to be outside of official channels...

    • Chris Matchett

      Yup I saw the same as you. Here's a quote:
      "When you download the OnLive App for Android, and make your first connection to the OnLive Game Service, we will entitle you to the game (if you don't have a Full PlayPass for LEGO Batman) and send an email confirmation within 24 hours. "

  • Sean Choong

    what if i own a game on ps3/pc, do i need to pay anything to play on onlive?

    • Marc Goldman


      • Sean Choong

        you mean must own a game through onlive only can play?

  • Marc Goldman

    I wonder if the controller that comes with the Onlive console will work? They look the same and I assume both use Bluetooth.

    • Anthony Marsh

      As they have stated for months, the Micro Console controller uses a custom wireless protocol and is incompatible with anything but the micro console

      • Anonymous


  • Marc Goldman

    Just found this article:

    Quite an exciting bit that suggests the iPad version will both be out soon and compatible with the controller:

    Demonstrating the full version of Batman: Arkham City running on an iPad, Grove said, "basically, this has just become a full console. We've moved from the world of being restricted by the content I can put onto the tablet device to, I can play anything."

  • The Real Ninja

    No iPhone version? 🙁

  • The Real Ninja

    No iPhone version 🙁

  • Anonymous

    This is what I've been waiting for.  As a adult gamer, I find it hard to be able to sit in front of my consoles and play a game nowadays.  My game time has been relegated to the iOS devices or my 3DS which don't offer a console experience.  I think with this, I will have the opportunity to experience some of the games I've missed out on. 

    Checked the app store and the app isn't out on iOS devices yet which is a shame.  Hoping it shows up in the next few days.

  • Anonymous

    This should have posted when the app IS in the AppStore

  • Anonymous

    If u don't have unlimited data available (for both your home and your mobile) then don't get too excited about it (at least if you are in Canada, I've read that in US they have some deals with some ISPs) as this service is obviously eating a lot of data.

  • Anonymous

    This is a milestone. With the onlive app. Gaming apps on the itune store will probably take a significant drop !! With the onlive gaming apps, they will be mini console versions. I'm surprised Apple is allowing this but if they didn't, everyone would buy Android.

  • Josh Weaver

    Seems like TA spoke too soon. No app yet.

    • Jason Nimr

      Doesn't look like TA's fault. The app is up on the Android marketplace, but is still missing from the iTunes store - indicating some Apple nonsense. There is also response from Onlive, saying basically, "Who knows how Apple does things?" Clearly they aren't too concerned with Onlive's potential profits, not to mention the hit this is on the app store's competitive viability.

      Until the iOS world has the same demand for info the gaming world needs, don't expect this to change. Let me explain: Think of a console game that is coming soon. You can find out when it was announced, how long development is taking, how well it's going, when the game is scheduled for release, how much it will be, etc.

      Now think of an upcoming iOS game, provided you can think of one that is only announced, not already available. When will that game be out? Who is working on it? How much will it be? None of this info seems to exist. Are there anything more than announcements for Skylanders or Lego Harry Potter 5-7 on the iPad? Release dates? ANYTHING? Nope, but look at the deluge of coverage (and confirmed dates) the console versions got.

      ...but with iOS games, we find out an EA Batman game has not only existed and been in development for who knows how long (seriously... No one knows), but guess what? It's coming out in 3 hours (from yesterday's perspective). Ask the Sega Saturn - this is the world's worst way to run a business and introduce new product.

      What we have now is essentially a news blackout on iOS gaming, from both developers AND Apple. When will we get the Onlive app? Where did Batman come from? When will xxx be out? Until interest builds, Apple opens the floodgates, developers get serious about PR for their iOS divisions and iOS journalism takes off (you're doing a great job here guys, but the industry has a long way to go), crap like this will continue to happen.

      ...and this isn't just the ranting of some teen with an axe to grind. I've been reviewing games for nearly six years now for, and I'm a featured freelance guide writer for I'm a college educated, working journalist (not in the gaming field, gaming journalism is my side job) who has been watching the industry for over 25 years (ACTUALLY watching... Not just living through... I'm in my 30s). Take it for what it's worth - just my opinion. But an educated one - please remember that before ripping me apart.

      • Anonymous

        You make some excellent points when drawing a parallel between iOS game development/publication and all other consoles.  I could see from an indie perspective how it would be difficult to put out formal press releases for their upcoming games, but it somewhat shows how big developement companies see iOS gaming in respect to other consoles. 

        Batman, Scribblenauts are some examples of big name games that showed up out of the blue.  However, I think companies such as EA and Gameloft are doing a better job of announcing and promoting their upcoming games months in advance. 

        In regards to the Onlive App, it seems like it's gone into a black hole in which it might emerge as something we can download, or get's lost due to an infringement on Apple policies.  I really hope that it's the former as this would be a perfect compliment and I really don't see it taking away App Store purchases since there aren't the same competing titles that are available on both Onlive and the App Store, it's really a different set of games.

      • Marc Goldman

        I think, depending on how Onlive approach it, it should get approved.

        It's much like the Kindle App when Apple changed the rules. If Amazon had left in ways to buy books it was going to have trouble. But once the ability to buy was removed the app was allowed to continue living as it was just consuming content.

        As long as Onlive make you buy or rent from your account through a web browser or Mac or PC client and you just play through the iOS client then hopefully it should be fine.... 

  • A.Jean Productions

    Wow, consoles won't exist anymore in a couple of years.

  • Anonymous

    2 days on & still no sign of this app in the app store. Many
    bloggers are saying that this app may be rejected, but I do hope that this is
    not the case...

  • Jason Nimr

    Right now I'm trying to convince myself the only reason it isn't yet available is because it's the weekend.

    I've got my fingers crossed; I really don't want to have to buy an Android tablet just for this, with another $50 for the controller (though if this gets on the Kindle Fire, that might be worth it).

  • Dan Bywlich

    If Apple is seriously oblivious enough to reject this, theyre going to be really sorry when they go from having a higher community of gamers than Xbox Live, to being just behind Android

  • x5705734

    Can't wait. Been good to have gta 3 to tode me over though

  • Jason Nimr

    My editorial on the subject. The entire situation disgusts me more by the day.

  • Anonymous

    My patience is wearing thin on the availability of this app for iOS.  Obviously, Apple and OnLive are having some problems getting this app approved -- likely due to Apple's pretty-&#!$-greedy 30-percent-cut business model and/or fear that OnLive will inadvertently compete with their gaming selection (which, as all true gamers know, is complete bull.  My friend's Samsung Galaxy S II has the OnLive client as I'm typing this.  Does Apple have the balls to forfeit the inclusion of a "killer app" to Android?  Would Apple be that unwise?  Apple, if you're reading this, as you likely aren't, I have got one word: app/rove; app/rove; app/rove OnLive.     

  • Jenn

    Boo! Still only getting the viewer in the store. Want me some OnLive!