SAN FRANCISCO--OnLive videogame systems that let people play titles on-demand in the Internet "cloud" will make their debut in the United States in December.
The Palo Alto, California-based firm was taking orders on Thursday for 99-dollar "microconsoles" that will let gamers play major titles such as "Assassin's Creed" streamed to Internet-connected television sets.
OnLive micro-consoles are about the size of a deck of cards and wirelessly link to hand-held controllers.
"This is the device that is going to bring on-demand gaming into the living room," OnLive senior product manager Michael Miller told AFP while demonstrating the system at a major videogame conference in June.
"Plug into the Internet, plug into the TV and you are ready to play the hottest games. This is cloud gaming."
About 35 videogames including "Borderlands" typically played on Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 consoles will be available for purchase or rental online when the Onlive Game Systems begin reaching buyers on December 2.
"The OnLive Game System marks the start of a new era for videogames and home entertainment," said OnLive founder and chief executive Steve Perlman. "It also opens the door to a new world of options."
OnLive users can "test-drive" games for free before deciding whether to rent a title for a few days or indefinitely.
Videogame publishers and studios signed on with OnLive get to set their own rates for titles, which can be rented for three days, five days or unlimited "full pass" play.
Rental fees were expected to range from 3.99 dollars to 8.99 dollars depending on how many days, and "full play" passes to top out at 50 dollars.
Packaged disks containing new releases of popular titles for play on videogame consoles typically launch at prices of 50 dollars or 60 dollars.
OnLive took videogames into the "cloud" in June with the US launch of a service that hosts hot titles as services on the Internet, eliminating the need for consoles.
The service let people play videogames online using computers running on Microsoft or Apple operating systems. Controllers typically used in the consoles can be plugged into computers to play OnLive.
OnLive hosts videogame software at whichever of its three US data centers is closest to players to optimize the speed at which data travels.