We told you about the OnLive Desktop service a few days ago, and as promised, it has now launched. And broken down. The free version, which is the only version available right now, is based on a set number of slots that are shared between users, and you have to wait if they’re all full. Which they are. Constantly. The app just tells you to wait, but after an hour of occasionally glancing at the iPad to see if it had gotten anywhere, I simply gave up.
Issues like these are to be expected, sort of. I mean, server capacity is limited, and it probably operates off a set number of licenses for Windows software that it has to live by. Still, as excusable as this is, it isn’t good for OnLive. Launching a service and hit square in the middle of the toilet when doing so is never good, and hurts first impressions and the company’s credibility. Furthermore, the question stands whether it will actually do anything about this, or if this is just the way the free service is going to be. While traffic is bound to be high as it launches and people are trying it out, I don’t exactly see it being any lower as more people hear about it and try it out in the future.
If this is just the way the free version is going to act, then there might not be any customers who make it to the paid tiers (with priority access) at all. Take Dropbox – the reason it can make money is that it provides the free service to people, does a good job of it, and earns money when those people either upgrade their personal accounts for heavier use or turn out to be the IT people in major companies. If this issue continues with OnLive Desktop however, people are going to be so annoyed by the free version that there’s no way they’re paying for it. Basically it’s the difference between having people pay because they like something a lot and having them pay because not paying is too annoying. The latter system is never the way to go.
Hopefully the situation will get better soon, as this is a service that has a lot of potential. There are good reviews of the app in the App Store, so someone is obvisouly getting through. If they think people are going to wait for hours to log in however, this will be the most short lived online service in history.[iTunes]