On OnLive


As posted on the Ladygeek website on 14 March 2010.

Having discussed women and gaming a couple of weeks ago, you can imagine how pleased we were to find out Wednesday’s announcement that OnLive will finally go live on 17 June.

Having had 11 months to refine a marketing strategy to appeal to the widest possible market, OnLive produced a product that got so much right and falls down at the last possible hurdles. The subscription fee model that will appeal to a broad range of consumers (read: women, too)? Check. The ability to work on both Macs and PCs without additional hardware requirements? Check. A microconsole to stream video games direct to a TV? Check! A fast, streamlined, informative website? Check, check, check. Check.

Now let’s look at the games – oh, dear. So close! The “featured games” on the website include Assassins Creed 2, Metro 2033 and the upcoming Prince of Persia.  Every single one of the games listed is graphically violent, arguably not the way to appeal to many female gamers.  By contrast, the most popular games for the Wii console (the most popular games console with women) are of the Super Mario Brothers/Mario Kart variety and multi-player sports games.  Two exceptions – the hugely successful Call of Duty and Lego Star Wars, my personal favourite, which involves shattering Lego walls, Lego objects and Lego storm troopers – no blood involved.

Given this evidence, the available games choices for OnLive needs to be rapidly re-examined to attract women gamers. Ignoring the huge female gaming market is a perilous tactic for OnLive, which gets so many other aspects right.  Making sure female gamers are catered to could turn OnLive from a quirky, interesting gaming footnote to a superstar player.


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