For all its benefits and wonder for those of us who want to play new games on our Mac or Linux machines, there is one significant drawback – data consumption.  If you are on a capped broadband plan you are going to have to watch your data usage like a hawk.  I was curious about the amount of data Onlive can munch through, so I recorded this video.

At the start of the video my mac had already downloaded 3.33GB since it was started up, but Onlive was downloading HD video of the game I was playing at a peak of 832KB/s.  There are 3600 seconds in an hour so one hour of gaming will consume 3GB of your monthly allowance.  After five minutes or so, Just Cause 2 through Onlive had gobbled up around 200MB.  You’ll get through a 20GB cap in around 6 hours…

Fortunately, some of the ISP’s are offering broadband packages with unlimited usage, but if you are with an ISP that likes to use “traffic shaping” to keep you on the straight and narrow, you may find yourself running into their data handbrake after a short amount of time.

If you are with BT, you can at least get a risk-free test of Onlive by signing up through their website.