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OnLive Gaming Service Launches; 1st Year is Free

With more than 20 games available at launch, OnLive allows users to play the likes of Mass Effect 2, Assassin's Creed 2 and Unreal Tournament without having to install them on their machine. Celebrating its launch by offering users a one-year membership for free (second year is discounted at $5/month), OnLive requires a 5-megabit internet connection and is compatible with all Macs and most PCs. Once users are registered and a member of OnLive, they can purchase 3- or 5-day passes to play any game as a rental. Users can also purchase games via a 'Full Playpass,' which allows for unlimited play of the game.

While trusting servers thousands of miles away to provide seamless game play seems like a lot to ask of people, Steve Perlman, founder and CEO of OnLive told PC World the lag factor everyone is worrying about is not an issue because tests have proven it can work. "Ninety-nine percent haven't had any lag complaints," said Perlman

Perlman's claims will be put to the test over the next few weeks as more and more people flock to OnLive.com to try out the service.

At the moment it's only available in the U.S. with European launch scheduled for a later date. Also coming later is a TV-connected micro console, which will allow gamers to buy and play games without the need for a console.