Gamers with older computers or weak graphics cards will be able to play Kalypso Media’s new Tropico 5 strategy game thanks to OnLive’s CloudLift.

CloudLift enables players to stream games from the cloud to low-end machines that wouldn’t normally be powerful enough to run them. CloudLift charges a fee for that privilege, but Mountain View, Calif.-based OnLive hopes that gamers will gladly pay it. They will be able to play the game instantly with all the detail turned on, including when it’s streaming in the background.

Tropico 5 launched on the PC on Steam today. The retail version launches on the PC on June 3. The Mac and Xbox 360 versions will arrive this summer. The PlayStation 4 will debut this autumn.

OnLive recently rebooted its strategy and in March announced CloudLift, a subscription service that enables players log in on any device to access their digital downloaded games from services such as Valve’s Steam service. 

CloudLift takes heavy-duty PC games and makes them playable on just about any device. It extends the experience to devices such as low-end laptops, tablets, Macs, and smart TVs. It costs $8 a month as a subscription service. But it doesn’t force gamers to buy a game more than once. It can, for instance, work with games that they’ve bought on Valve’s Steam digital distribution service in addition to games purchased on OnLive. In the past, a gamer had to separately buy a game on OnLive, even if they already had purchased it on a PC, in order to use it on the company’s service.

That service delivers 720p quality video games running at 60 frames per second. It delivers them to devices by streaming video of game imagery from a data center to the device. Because the processing takes place in the cloud, which is now enhanced with heavy-duty graphics processors that don’t cost as much as they once did under the old regime, the games can be displayed on low-end devices which merely have to play them as videos.

CloudLift is launching with 20 games, including Batman: Arkham Origins, The Lego Movie Videogame, Saints Row IV, the indie hit Type:Rider. Dozens more are coming, such as Europa Universalis IV and F1 2013.

Tropico 5 palace