Inside the shoebox-sized starter pack, which costs around £69, is a tiny Game System, Xbox 360-style Wireless Controller, all the power adaptors you need to get it going, plus USB, Ethernet and HDMI leads.

Setup is straightforward and guided by a minimalist, Apple-style leaflet inside the box. Plug the box into your television via HDMI, connect it to the power mains, attach an Ethernet cable from your router – unfortunately there's no Wi-FI, but you can set up a bridge – and OnLive will be ready to put pretty pictures on your TV screen.

Onlive boxed

It only takes about five minutes to set up your free account and get started, and then you're left to navigate the platform's main Dashboard to purchase games, spectate other players' activities or watch Brag Clips (more on those later).

The Wireless Controller feels sturdy and includes every button and trigger you could possibly need for today's top games, although it's perhaps not quite as comfortable as the similar Xbox 360 joypad.

Onlive remote

Face buttons carry the same naming convention as Microsoft's controller (A, B, X and Y), and the pad also boasts a pair of triggers, left and right bumpers and a D-pad on the bottom left of the controller.

Unlike Microsoft's controller, though, the OnLive peripheral houses a number of inputs along the bottom for controlling video, including buttons to play, stop and fast forward.