OnLive Streaming Service Shuts Down, Sells What's Left to Sony

Steven Bogos

The Taco Man
Jan 17, 2013
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OnLive Streaming Service Shuts Down, Sells What's Left to Sony


OnLive has officially closed its doors, ending the video game streaming service.

Remember when closing for good [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/tag/view/onlive] and selling whats left to Sony.

OnLive's game service will cease on April 30. After that date, all accounts will be closed and all user data will be deleted, the company said. "Following the termination of the company's services and related products, OnLive will engage in an orderly wind-down of the company and cease operations," it added.

When OnLive filed for bankruptcy in 2012, the company was restructured, and its assets were purchased by a newly formed company, OL2 Inc., that year. However, the public perception of the company's "failure" is what became somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy for the new OL2.

"Although the new company continued all of OnLive's services from that moment forward without interruption, the public perception was that OnLive was gone," the company said in a blog post today. "That misconception continues well into 2015. In fact many of the recent articles that mention OnLive refer to it as 'defunct' or something similar. Overcoming the perception of being dead has been one of the unanticipated challenges of the turnaround."

"We are happy that Sony is validating the innovations of OnLive by purchasing our IP and selected assets, and are immensely proud of the work that has been done by the talented team at OnLive, and we thank them for their amazing work," OnLive said.

Source: OnLive [http://blog.onlive.com/2015/04/02/a-bright-future-for-cloud-gaming-at-sony/]

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Aerosteam

Get out while you still can
Sep 22, 2011
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I think the real bit of news here is that they were still alive after all this time.
 

Casual Shinji

Should've gone before we left.
Legacy
Jul 18, 2009
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Impressive that it managed to muscle on for as long as it did -- I'd completely forgotten it even existed.
 

Imperioratorex Caprae

Henchgoat Emperor
May 15, 2010
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The Reaper must have been either busy, bored, or completely forgot as did like 99% of us that Onlive even existed... "Oh, what? Shit, they were overdue like 2 years ago. Whats this? Ouya's still about too? Have I been off somewhere drinking again?"
 

FogHornG36

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Jan 29, 2011
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I wish i would have remembered that this existed last year when my gaming computer failed, all i had was a crummy laptop, i could have used that service then just so i could play games.

They really did this to themselves by not investing in advertising.
 

Adam Jensen_v1legacy

I never asked for this
Sep 8, 2011
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Saw that coming when it was announced. How the fuck do you think you can stream games when so many people don't have a fast and stable internet connection? Perhaps these guys have overestimated the willingness of ISPs to invest in infrastructure. That's basically why consoles still rely on physical copies of games.
 

tjoris9

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Nov 25, 2008
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FogHornG36 said:
I wish i would have remembered that this existed last year when my gaming computer failed, all i had was a crummy laptop, i could have used that service then just so i could play games.

They really did this to themselves by not investing in advertising, reminding people that you can play console games on the service would have really saved it when it comes to people not wanting to by the new consoles.
I agree. When OL first came out I didn't have access to decent internet speeds, and I probably still might've had issues even with the current fastest speeds where I live, not to mention I'm still not sold on the idea of "buying" a game on a service that doesn't even let me download a file, especially when there's DRM free services like GOG and Humble Bundle.

Still, if it was presented as an alternative to the PS4 and XBone, I might've considered it, but they let themselves get forgotten. The worst part is that closing up shop like this may make people more reluctant to spend money on a similar service. There's nothing worse for PR than saying "You know all the stuff you bought through us? It's going away forever. So long suckers."
 

fix-the-spade

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Feb 25, 2008
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"Although the new company continued all of OnLive's services from that moment forward without interruption, the public perception was that OnLive was gone,"
What a load of crap, the reality is that nobody wants to play games with input lag and bandwidth requirements basically ruled it out for 80% of the US population. If you could afford the connection required to make it work properly, you could afford all three console and a gaming PC too, so Onlive was redundant anyway.

Even in their re-released state, the killer feature was something that the Shield does much better and without taking $100 off you a year for the privilege.

That's ignoring the 'pay forever or we take your games away' subscription issue too.

I know that Game As Service is basically the holy grail of various publishers, to make players pay for the game they've already got forever must have them drooling in their seats, but the age of subscription based gaming is over. It was pretty much over in 2009 and the success (lack there of) of game streaming services should remind service providers that users aren't completely stupid yet.
 

dragoongfa

It's the Krossopolypse
Apr 21, 2009
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I thought that the writing on the wall was pretty clear for this:

As long as bandwidth and lag exist the entire endeavor was doomed to die from day one.
 

Hairless Mammoth

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Jan 23, 2013
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I thought Sony absorbed them a long time ago to use their knowledge and servers to make what would become PS Now. I'm surprised they stayed independent for this long. The infrastructure of many areas they operated in still isn't suitable for a company that solely streams games. (And those scumbags we know as politicians call the ISPs, holding stuff like this back, innovators.)

It kinds sucks. too. I was hopping something other than a Sony only service would become viable for me, since there's no way to rent a decent selection of games nearby and mail order services are also on my "don't trust" list. I still don't want streaming to take over the game market, though.
tjoris9 said:
I agree. When OL first came out I didn't have access to decent internet speeds, and I probably still might've had issues even with the current fastest speeds where I live, not to mention I'm still not sold on the idea of "buying" a game on a service that doesn't even let me download a file, especially when there's DRM free services like GOG and Humble Bundle."
I wouldn't "buy" a game from any streaming service either. If I want to play something often, I will hunt down the disc or at least get a full download. Any service like this should not even call it buying the game. The term should really be "lifetime rental, (as long as subscription is active)." Let this be a lesson to anyone too trusting in any systems like this, even Steam, Origin, Uplay (dear God, especially Uplay) or any of the console's online stores.
 

toms

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Oct 23, 2008
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Tsk. So much negativity in here.
The idea is good: pay monthly subscription, play latest games on your shitty laptop.
I figured they wouldn't be able to get over the latency issues, but would've been pleasantly surprised if they did.
And does anyone actually, really care if they lose access to their games if they end the subscription?
Most AAA games have zero replay value and I personally have 463 games in my steam library, of which most were never finished and I have no intention to ever play them again.
A proper game streaming service has the potential to save you a lot of money while still letting you play all the latest games and if you really like one, then you can buy a permanent copy (assuming it's not tied up in some always online BS, in which case you'll lose it at some point anyway.)
In conclusion: OnLive dying is not at all surprising, but I'm glad they tried.
 

Denamic

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Aug 19, 2009
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Yeah, I called this when onlive was announced. Streaming will stick around, obviously, but only to complement existing shit like steam. Streaming will never fully replace having games installed on your system.
 

Charli

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Nov 23, 2008
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It's too soon for this technology as long as infrastructure and good internet continues to lag behind the times in parts of most countries. As it does.
 

Doom972

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Dec 25, 2008
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It was actually a good idea, but the support for countries other than USA, Canada and the UK was awful. It didn't require a subscription - you could buy a game once and keep it in your gaming library or buy a subscription that lets you have access to a large library of games. They later added a service that allows you to play all your Steam games.

It just never worked properly for me. I have a high bandwidth Internet connection at home (100 Mb/s) but it wouldn't even work here as well as it needs to because they didn't have any servers that were close enough.

I do hope Sony might do something good with it. Hopefully I'll get to play my favorite PC games(and maybe some console games) on any PC/tablet/smartphone someday.
 

MetallicaRulez0

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Aug 27, 2008
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This was a really dumb idea to begin with. You can't stream game input. You just can't. The lag will be unbearable for the vast majority of people.

Maybe in 2020 or 2025 when the United States has actually invested in our internet infrastructure this would be a plausible (albeit still dumb) idea. In 2012 though? That was financial suicide.
 
Apr 5, 2008
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I understand the thinking behind the service and honestly, it makes a lot of sense for consumers. Rather than spend £1k on a top end PC and £30 per game, one can spend half that on the hardware and for a subscription fee, play multiple games for the cost of owning just one. And how many games get replayed in reality?

Like leasing a car, it can make sense, particularly when it comes to depreciation. The tragedy is that despite it making sense financially, I like my gaming PC and owning my games.
 

WeepingAngels

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May 18, 2013
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So I guess the people who bought games through OnLive are the big losers. There should be some laws to protect consumers from shit like this. If Steam ever went down how many billions would have been lost by consumers?

MetallicaRulez0 said:
This was a really dumb idea to begin with. You can't stream game input. You just can't. The lag will be unbearable for the vast majority of people.

Maybe in 2020 or 2025 when the United States has actually invested in our internet infrastructure this would be a plausible (albeit still dumb) idea. In 2012 though? That was financial suicide.
No, it really wasn't a dumb idea to begin with and game streaming is a very likely future. Maybe 20 years ago people would have laughed at the idea of streaming movies too but today we have Netflix and it works very well.

To be honest, I am tired of buying expensive hardware and then expensive games. Why not buy a $50 box that hooks into my TV and internet and accepts input from a bluetooth controller?
 

Vivi22

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Aug 22, 2010
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Aerosteam said:
I think the real bit of news here is that they were still alive after all this time.
Pretty much. This was the inevitable conclusion from the start. They were a little guy trying to do something that's damn near impossible to do well right now and they jumped in way too early. To say nothing of the fact that they were almost inevitably going to be crushed by bigger players once the technology became more viable.
 

Vivi22

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Aug 22, 2010
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WeepingAngels said:
No, it really wasn't a dumb idea to begin with and game streaming is a very likely future. Maybe 20 years ago people would have laughed at the idea of streaming movies too but today we have Netflix and it works very well.
The technological gap a service like onlive needed to bridge to go from streaming of passive media being viable to the streaming of real time interactive media being viable was a lot more massive than you think. Latency was always going to be a major hurdle to overcome to make things seem smooth, fluid, and lag free even with single player games. Streaming multiplayer would have been damn near impossible, and still is quite frankly, at least the way they wanted to do it. You'd have to build something from the ground up to utilize the necessary technological tricks to even begin to hide the input lag alone and that doesn't happen if the games you're streaming weren't built to be streamed to begin with.

Their concept was doomed from the start because it simply is not viable yet, and the worst part is they should have known it. A friend of mine who's a fairly stellar programmer in his own right and working in the games industry ran the math when they originally announced the onlive service and he and most of the colleagues he spoke to about it agreed that the latency issue could not be overcome at the time. It was literally impossible. That was years ago now, and even 3 years after they already declared bankruptcy once it's still a major hurdle.

I have no doubt game streaming will come, but we are not going to have a viable way to stream current and next gen games for years yet.