Saturday 23 February 2013

Is game streaming service Onlive dead in the water after its acquisition?

Onlive was a pioneer in the cloud gaming scene, but six months on after it was bought out by Lauder Partners why does the once exciting system feel like its about to keel over?

I was an early adopter of Onlive. I have the tiny console sitting snugly under my TV and I have the Onlive app on both my tablet and smartphone. It all began when they had their offer to sign up and download any of their games for just £1. Being skeptical by nature, I wasn't so sure, but after reading several articles online praising the innovative new system I went ahead and spent my hard-earned quid on Space Marine. I was instantly blown away by the responsiveness and graphics Onlive offered and it didn't take me long to order the home console.

Around a year after I invested in the system the news hit that Onlive was filing for bankrupsy. This was a huge blow to me and the other fans who were impressed by the almost constant offers, regular game launches and refreshing communication from CEO Steve Perlman. After it came out that Onlive was actually just going to be bought out, there was a collective sigh of relief but also a simultaneous wave of anxiety. Would our system remain the same? What would the new company do to it?

The early signs were positive. While founder Steve Perlman had made his decision to leave the company, we were seeing new launches of games like Sleeping Dogs and Darksiders 2. The offers weren't as regular but that could have been due to a new company just getting its feet warm. No worries, right?

Wrong. It's now February and the new releases have stopped. The last games to be added were for the playpack back late last year and the newest mainstream title on the store is still Sleeping Dogs. Possibly as a sign of this time in stasis the biggest Onlive fansite, Onlive Fans, stopped updating its news section. Hell, the official Onlive blog hasn't been updated since September. Did Lauder Partners give up?

Well, probably not. It looks like there could be light at the end of the tunnel after all with Onlive coming to the OUYA and Google TV. Earlier this month general manager Bruce Grove spoke to Red Bull about the future of the system, saying: “We have a good working relationship with many publishers...You'll be seeing some new announcements soon.”

Okay, this is still fairly vague, but at least it sounds like something might happen. With talk of MMOs coming to Onlive, we may yet see this sleeping giant arise from its slumber and continue entertaining us like it used to do.

Follow me on Twitter @scottmalt

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