The popular cloud-based game platform OnLive has officially opened up pre-orders for its TV game system. On December 2, 2010, OnLive’s MicroConsole will begin shipping, just in time for the holiday season.

The MicroConsole is currently priced at $99, and those who pre-order the system will get a free full PlayPass for any game, with no limitations placed on the title of choice. That means that in addition to the MicroConsole, OnLive customers can get Batman: Arkham Asylum, which normally costs $39.99, for free. In addition to the unit, an OnLive wireless controller, HDMI cable, Ethernet cable, and USB cable will be provided. Up to four controllers and wireless headsets can be connected to the MicroConsole.

To use the MicroConsole right out of the box, an HDTV with HDMI inputs will be required, though an OnLive component video adapter is available separately for $29.99. As with the OnLive PC or Mac client, a fast Internet connection is also needed.

The MicroConsole has two front facing USB ports, allowing players to plug in a mouse and keyboard. It also has a 3.5mm jack for stereo audio and an optical jack for digital audio. The included OnLive controller is wireless and it falls between the size of an Xbox 360 controller and PS3 controller. Its layout mimics the Xbox 360 controller in terms of button placement. The different game types in OnLive’s library will automatically adjust to the use of a keyboard or controller.

OnLive MicroConsole

Now that the console allows gamers to either use a wireless controller or a mouse and keyboard, it also provides more available options depending on what game is selected. For first person shooters like Aliens vs. Predator, a mouse is often the weapon of choice. For games like Assassin’s Creed 2, the OnLive controller will work well.

OnLive currently has only 35 games in their library, but the MicroConsole is much cheaper than the Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360. Current generation PC games are also notably large in file size and require advanced system requirements, which makes OnLive an ideal supplement to those who can’t continue to upgrade their graphic cards and processors.

As noticed in our review of the OnLive PC client, there are latency issues, so this is not yet a sufficient replacement for advanced PCs, but an OnLive MicroConsole will be a great gift for gamers on a budget.

Ranters, what do you think of OnLive’s entry into the console market? Are you planning to purchase a MicroConsole?

The OnLive MicroConsole is currently available for pre-order from OnLive.com,and will ship on December 2, 2010, for $99.

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