NEW YORK (AP) — Video game streaming company OnLive plans to start selling its small gaming console for $99 on Thursday, with delivery starting on Dec. 2.
OnLive lets players stream popular, high-end video games such as "Assassin's Creed" and "NBA 2K11" over the Internet using technology similar to what is already used to stream movies.
Streaming games is more difficult than music and movies because they cannot be compressed into smaller files before they are sent over a broadband connection. Since they are interactive, video games require an immediate reaction to the player's actions.
OnLive says it has come up with a technology that lets its game servers communicate with players in real time. Though console makers have been skeptical, if it works, game streaming could further disrupt the industry that's already seeing retail sales lag this year.
As a promotion, the $99 price will include a free game download, worth up to $50. In addition to the pocket-sized MicroConsole, the package comes with a wireless controller similar to controllers for the Xbox 360 or the PlayStation 3 and a TV adapter.
Games can be rented or bought with prices ranging from $4 to $50.