OnLive chair speaks up about his company's future

March 21, 2013 | 10:52

Tags: #cloud-gaming #gaikai #game-streaming #geforce-grid #project-shield

Companies: #nvidia #onlive #samsung #sony

OnLive, the troubled cloud gaming company that shut down, abandoned its investors and laid off its entire staff only to resurface as a phoenix company of the same name, has broken cover to reassure people that it isn't quite dead yet.

OnLive generated plenty of column inches when it announced plans to launch a cloud-gaming service that would push the heavy lifting work that normally requires an expensive graphics card and powerful CPU - physics calculations, rendering, that sort of thing - off to remote servers. At the time, it was a novel idea, although it was quickly joined by rival services including the Israel-based Playcast and Gaikai, a cloud gaming start-up founded by Dave Perry and now a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Computer Entertainment.

OnLive continued to grab headlines with the launch of a tablet client that worked alongside its 'Micro-Console' device, given away free in a publicity push shortly before its creative accountancy move that resulted in the shedding of its mounting debts - and, more importantly, its investors.

Now, Gary Lauder, the chair and majority owner of the reborn OnLive, has broken silence to reassure fans that things are still on-track for the cloud gaming pioneer. 'When the restructuring of OnLive happened in August, many misunderstood it to mean that the service and company were shutting down. Neither occurred, nor did we go bankrupt,' Lauder writes in an official blog post. 'It has been seven months since I jumped in to save OnLive from a financing mishap, and I have had the opposite of buyer’s remorse: buyer’s elation!'

Blaming poor communication for the reports of OnLive's demise, Lauder is keen to claim that 2013 is going to be a great year for the company. 'We have already delivered some significant milestones for the OnLive Game Service, in particular, being incorporated into our first third party device, the Vizio Co-Star, and into Google TVs, starting with the impressive LG G3 Series — with more to come,' claims Lauder. 'We continue to bring new game publishers and games into the mix, and released Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition from CD Projekt on Thursday, February 28 with a special promotion, which includes a free digital download copy of the game for PCs with purchase of a Full PlayPass. This is an important paradigm shift towards enabling our users to get their games in as many formats as they’d like, even if they are not delivered by our platform. We are busy exploring other new ways to serve our users’ and publishers’ interests capitalising on our unique abilities.'

Despite mentioning the OnLive Desktop app, which access to Windows apps on an iPad, Lauder was silent on forthcoming partnerships or additional plans for his company. The post is also quiet on the success of OnLive's rivals, with Gaikai's acquisition by Sony, presence in Samsung TVs, and high-profile partnership with Nvidia in particular likely to be weighing heavily on Lauder's mind whether he admits it or not.

Despite growing interest in cloud gaming - in particular Sony's use of the technology in the upcoming PlayStation 4 and Nvidia's upcoming Project Shield hand-held console which allows for 'local cloud' streaming from a PC equipped with an Nvidia graphics card, it remains a niche technology - and, thus far, Lauder has yet to prove the reborn OnLive will be able to change that in the near future.
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