Rumours Abound That OnLive May File For Bankruptcy

By John Walker on August 17th, 2012 at 9:22 pm.

Gosh, this is a little out of the blue. Kotaku are reporting tonight that cloud gaming pioneers OnLive are about to declare bankruptcy. This comes from someone they say is a source inside the company, despite OnLive’s PR denying the rumour. OnLive is of course a service that allows you to stream games directly onto most web-enabled devices, letting you play tech-needy games on the most basic laptop or smart phone. It’s hard to imagine how this won’t be the future of at least console gaming. But maybe the world isn’t ready just yet.

Kotaku’s source told them it was no secret that things were tough amongst OnLive employees, and this morning their CEO informed staff that they would be filing for “ABC bankruptcy”. This will apparently protect them from creditors. He then told them that OnLive would no longer be employing anyone, but some would go on to work at whatever company rises from their ashes. OnLive won’t respond directly to these claims, but says they’re not closing.

People were first made aware that something might be up when Brian Fargo tweeted that he’d received an email saying that the company was closing. An email the sender seemed to wish they hadn’t sent. But when Joystiq spoke to OnLive they were curtly told, “We don’t respond to rumours, but of course not”. They then went on to plug to both K and J that something called VIZIO Co-Stars had been released today.

So who knows. One version of the story can’t be quite true. Could it be that something called OnLive will carry on if the former company closes? Or is this a disgruntled employee trying to cause trouble? How should we know – we’re only part-time ballerinas.

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176 Comments »

  1. pakoito says:

    But it’s about to be released on Ouya! How can it be!?

    • povu says:

      Oh dear. Now I have even less faith in OUYA.

      • Azradesh says:

        Why would you have any faith in that pointless console? You can get everything it does for you right now by building a cheap PC and plugging it into your TV.

  2. Dowson says:

    “Kotaku are reporting”

    The homeless man I see on a morning is a more reliable source than Kotaku and its ‘insiders’.

    • John Walker says:

      Want to provide some evidence for that claim?

      • Dowson says:

        About Kotaku or the Homeless man?

      • bookwormat says:

        I also see a homeless guy in the morning, and he … knows things. He is czech but spent his youth in Paris. He has a lot to say about women and love. He knows all kinds of stories about the people living in our street. He also pees into our garbage room.

        I will ask him about OnLive.

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          gnodab says:

          Why does this feel like a reference I don’t get…
          Apart from the peeing part of course. You gotta do what you gotta do.

          • Alevice says:

            OnLive is an anagram of InLove. This homeless man might be reliable after all.

        • TheIronSky says:

          If you’re at all serious about that statement, please let me know what happens. Frankly, I’m curious.

      • Hoaxfish says:

        The homeless man is actually John Carmack wandering the streets with Occulus on his face. He hasn’t realised he’s still in the Matrix.

      • Valvarexart says:

        Kotaku, along with IGN and a few other similar sites, represents (in MY opinion, please note) a large chunk of what is awfully wrong with gaming “journalism”. Some of their articles are of course decent, but many of them are just plain and simple page-hit whoring. They purposefully write inflammatory articles and articles with very poor if any sources, just to get a lot of hits and thus ad revenue.
        While RPS mostly seems to avoid this, I must say that some articles (written in most cases by John Walker) have had similar qualities. This is not meant to be any type of assault on your journalism, it’s just a dry and pretty cynical observance. Please don’t take personal offense; I really respect the majority of your work and RPS is usually a one-of-a-kind when it comes to honest gaming journalism.

        • Treymoney says:

          ‘Please don’t take personal offense’: the last refuge of the asshole.

        • rohsiph says:

          What gets me is it really didn’t feel that way the first few years. Brian Crecente and to a lesser extent Brian Ashcraft both had a smidge of wit and a lot of charm that made the blog feel more like a community.

          I’m still trying to figure out how it declined to what it is these days. Crecente moving on must have been a big part, as it was just a few months after his departure that I started feeling like the quality had really changed.

          They write to a third-grade, wholly witless reading level now. I don’t doubt some of the staff are better than that, but it feels like their bosses are forcing a certain style that’s just toxic to me. Search Engine Optimization Overload. I’ve been actively avoiding the site for close to a year, and it’s a real shame. It’s to the point I won’t be coming back any time soon even if they start cleaning up their needless pandering.

          Feels bad, man. I used to like that place.

          • PodX140 says:

            Crecente left? And I completely agree with your analysis on the place, the two were the only good writers they had. Especially since the razor fiasco (let’s have our in charge guy insult readers, make insane claims, and likely be paid off!), I couldn’t take it anymore and left.

            EDIT: Also, they constantly put spoilers in the title of articles, and it’s just purely to bait and draw in clicks.

          • Phantoon says:

            How can anyone have respect for a site associated with Gizmodo (same network, Gawker Media), much less on their own terms of totally being terrible? They write multiple articles for a new game on Steam that have zero relevance just so they can have all the last articles to get more hits. They spew asinine garbage for, you guessed it, more hits. They’ve got the journalistic integrity of a dead rat that works at The Daily Mail that was fired from Weekly World News for lying too fragrantly. In fact, the only person I’ve read articles from that hasn’t made my head attempt to simultaneously explode and escape the orbit of my body like a rocket is Leigh Alexander and I have a multitude of theories as to why she’d associate with that place.

            Rant over. I don’t like Kotaku. And when you have to go to Forbes to get games news over the generally popular sites, then there is a problem.

        • neonordnance says:

          I don’t get all of this hatred for Kotaku that I’ve been seeing lately. It’s nowhere near as good as RPS, obviously, but few blogs are. That doesn’t make Kotaku awful. They’ve posted some genuinely very interesting reads lately, especially when they go into history. Their brief history of Nintendo was a brilliant read, for instance.

          Oh RPS commentors, have another cuppa and stop being so curmudgeonly.

          • rohsiph says:

            I can’t get past the wholly sensationalistic / pedantic article titles. It’s all “10 Things We Want You To Give A Shit About But You Don’t” and “Remember This Thing?” and “This Guy Is Stupid comma Bro.” Except not that self-aware. It’s one thing to use informative (“journalistic”) headers, but they’re whole-sale pandering to an audience that Isn’t Me (TM)–the dudebros and Halo/Geartards, or whatever they’re calling those blokes these days (says the Yankee).

            Every now and then there’s a hint of something really interesting, but even then it all comes with a deep layer of Search Engine Optimization keywording that kills the pace and flow of the writing.

            I hate (perhaps irrationally) everything to do with Search Engine Optimization. It is poison. It must (but won’t) be purged. Sites like RPS that don’t use it are a bajillion times more entertaining to read. I can only hope sites like RPS that don’t use it keep a much larger percentage or readers (returning audience) than the commoditized dreck.

          • Phantoon says:

            Kotaku reminds me of Cracked, but without the humor, intelligence, or style.

          • Felixader says:

            For me the problem is the fact that they were once quite reasonable.

            Kotaku is the first time where i had myself wondering over a change of style and quality and left.

            EDIT: To be honest, i did not think they were just reasonable i LOVED that site. I stayed around for quite a while after their design change.
            But the way the articles were written from this point in time onwards was just awfull, often totally misleading and not just a few really empty.
            Come to think of it perhabs they started to aim just for more clicks after the designchange droped their readercount and then they just never stopped.

            Fact is, i loved them most of their articles and big parts of the community. But i had to leave when i realized that their new writing style made me beeing ashamed for them.

      • diamondmx says:

        Umm, read their website?
        They put the Mail to shame in poor journalism and fact checking.

        Can’t believe an RPS writer seems to be defending Kotaku’s rep. Perhaps we’re missing the sarcasm tag here?

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      Dr. Evanzan says:

      @Dowson,

      So what does the homeless man say about OnLive?

    • ScubaMonster says:

      I don’t recall anything kotaku reports that’s inaccurate. If they do, it’s certainly not very often.

      • Jeremy says:

        It’s just kind of “in” right now to not like Kotaku, which of course means they must have terrible sources of information.

        • Tams80 says:

          I think some of the bad reputation they have is from some the articles they have run. I’m not on about those weird ones about sexual orientation and gaming either.

          That said, they have jumped at some rumours and got it wrong, but plenty of news sites do that.

          • iGark says:

            They run a lot of crap alongside actual gaming news. They’re fine with the gaming news so far as I can tell, but the random garbage about Japanese meat buns and superstitious shapes of eyes is just unnecessary and obnoxious.

          • Hoaxfish says:

            I think one of the few recent examples floating round the internet are such gems as

            “I have Sonic bed-sheets, but managed to get laid at 34″

            and

            “I got my fashion sense from JRPGs, learn how!”

            I enjoyed their output, until I spotted how much of it focused on Japan (and weird barely-gaming Japan stuff), little coverage of PC, and then it introduced that horrible site design.

            also a fun series about SW:tor, starting
            1. SWTOR is great!
            2. Swtor will never go F2P!
            3. We told you Swtor would go F2P!

          • woodsey says:

            They were also the ones to stir up that whole Tomb Raider controversy (and boy did that article try and stir), only to recently publish a piece completely taking the piss out of people overreacting to sexism controversies. The articles were done by different people, but it still come across as annoyingly hypocritical. You’ve got to have some sort of consistency in your output.

          • arccos says:

            “You’ve got to have some sort of consistency in your output.”

            I don’t really agree with that, in terms of editorial opinions. I prefer hearing both sides, since it’s a person rather than a website that actually has opinions.

          • woodsey says:

            Don’t get me wrong, I agree with you in terms of actual, editorial opinion pieces. I appreciate that jouranlists are obviously individuals – I’m not about to start arguing that writers should all agree with each other’s views, nor would I bitch at a publication because one writer gave Game X YY% and another gave Game Y XX% and “RAH RAH INCONSISTENT”.

            But the initial article came across as an extremely hacked up interview put into a news story to bait people, and the latter was a post of some new screenshots, only with the writer taking the piss out of people overreacting as if it was every other publication taking things much too seriously.

          • bill says:

            @Hoaxfish: The name of the site didn’t give that away?

        • Phantoon says:

          I never care about “in”, so I guess I hated them before it was cool. I’m not even trying to be a hipster, they’ve just always seemed completely garbage.

          Not every dislike of a thing is a bandwagon against it. And to claim so it to demonize others, which last I checked, your intelligence was not being challenged by your enjoyment of Kotaku. Only your choice in games news.

      • Savagetech says:

        I don’t think they report outright falsehoods as much as they distort the truth to draw readers with sensationalist headlines. They amended their article to state that OnLive isn’t filing for bankruptcy but that’s still what the title reads. Some people prefer to hear news that has been fact-checked and given a fair look from both sides; Kotaku fails on those points often enough to make it undesirable to that group of readers.

        I didn’t even know it was “in” to dislike Kotaku until I came here after realizing that every RPS article they linked was better written and didn’t come across like a gaming tabloid. Kotaku certainly has some good articles and covers plenty of things fairly, but I’d rather miss out than wade through volumes of stuff I find distasteful or irrelevant.

        • Phantoon says:

          “Some people prefer to hear fact checked news”

          Those people are in the minority. Most people like to hear news that confirms their bias. I think the worst of a lot of things, so I generally don’t mind being wrong.

      • bill says:

        While they post a lot of crazy things, they also seem to have some of the best sources in the industry.

    • mr.ioes says:

      Bashing Kotaku is really popular. It’s the fudzilla of 2009. Thing is, at least Kotaku have their reputation to back up claims. You?

      • CrookedLittleVein says:

        “their reputation”

        This is not the overwhelming positive you seem to think it is.

      • Phantoon says:

        I’ve hated Kotaku since at least 2009, but I wanna say I’ve hated it since 2007. I’m not sure that I’ve known about it that long, or that it’s even been around since 2007.

        • Meusli says:

          When I first heard about Kotaku, which I imagine was pretty early in it’s life, I tried to sign up and become a member. I was then told I needed to be in the “industry” to join, so I never did become a member or visit the site again.

      • Ahtaps says:

        After many years, I still read Kotaku (AU site, so we don’t get as much of the American junk) and their reputation and quality has definitely declined. The American site even had to create a new thing called “Kotaku Core” which collects all the gaming journalism together because people were getting fed up with all the extraneous and unrelated articles and content that had snuck in over the years. Brian Ashcraft is infamous for his focus on Japanese H-Games and panty shots (and recently porn movies based on games). Luke Plunkett is infamous for his copy and pasting of Reddit articles and posting of “funny” pictures he found on the internet with a few sentences about how it might relate to games. Every other day there is also some article about how subgroup x is under represented or discriminated against in gaming, written in a style that makes it seem like a deliberate attempt to incite flame wars in the comments. Lately they are posting articles about important events but focussing on trivial details, omitting the pertinent facts.

        It’s still got some reliable and useful reporting in there, especially the cultural and history based articles, but it’s buried under a lot of rubbish these days which is where people’s dislike of it mostly stems from.

    • El_Emmental says:

      The homeless man is a more reliable source than Kotaku (and its insiders) because he is homeless, and doesn’t have to pay the bills, fix the car, educate and feed the kids. He can spit on Activision PR executives and do not ride on a rumour to get more money, because his sources of income don’t involve getting the attention of bored video-game players on the Internet.

      Kotaku has to generate as much as hits as possible to get as much money from publishers/IT technology companies for advertisements, to pay the bills, to keep its staff, to not fall into oblivion.

      And I’m sorry to acknowledge it once again, but yellow journalism does sell, and it sells a lot (sales are split between many news platforms though). This is why you have plenty of Kotaku-like and why they’re still around despite the low quality/quantity ratio of their content.

      RPS is surviving because it’s having part-time writers (who are doing other jobs elsewhere at the same time), achieved a solid reputation over the years, get a little spare change from subscription, and is part of Eurogamer. And it’s a niche genre of gaming journalism.

      People at Kotaku are doing a difficult* job (chasing for the hits rather than doing proper journalism) and most of them aren’t filthy rich, so you can hate them as much as you want -and you should at least disapprove the journalism they’re making-, but you won’t change the facts that it’s selling and that Kotaku writers have to do that to stay onboard/afloat.

      * don’t ever think it’s easy to do such shoddy journalism, it’s actually really hard to get people’s attention, then keep it, without triggering a domino downfall leading to becoming the joke of the month and disappearing.
      It requires a lot of psychological manipulation skills and a deep knowledge of the current and very-near-future culture of your visitors (common video-game playing people).

  3. Tuor says:

    So, is OnLive NowDead?

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      Fede says:

      No, no, …it’s resting.

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      Morlock says:

      I guess they had problems with the UpKeep.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      It’s 6 feet UnderGround

    • povu says:

      Does that mean that UDontPlay?

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      jrodman says:

      Valley rumor says owner/founder terminated everyone to invoke the escape clause where they lose all rights to stock etc, so he could sell it again to some other people.

      Basically the most dickish “exit strategy” ever.

      Which, if true, it will be mostly dead, at least for a while, but the brand might rise again.

  4. Premium User Badge

    AmateurScience says:

    This is pretty bad if true, if it goes completely under I guess a number of folks are going to lose access to the games they’ve paid for.

  5. mrmalodor says:

    I’m not surprised. The idea behind OnLive is great and will be viable in the future, but the technology just isn’t stable enough yet. Too much input lag, too many disconnects, bad picture quality.

  6. Vinraith says:

    Good riddance to bad rubbish. I don’t imagine for a moment this will save us from the inevitable, but it may at least stave it off for a bit.

    • Smion says:

      Yes, I too dread the days when I have to talk about the length of my penis instead of my hardware specs in order to impress people.
      No, but seriously, what’s so horrible about the “inevitability” of more people being able to play games that don’t look like ass?

      • Vinraith says:

        Consumer rights are a small price to pay to be able to play Duty of Honor 42 at maximum settings, I suppose.

        • Smion says:

          Fair enough.

        • MasterDex says:

          Cloud gaming, at least in the foreseeable future isn’t going to take away any consumer rights. Developers and publishers will still be relying primarily on people buying their games at the price they’re selling them through the standard distribution methods. Cloud gaming will be no more than an option for a long, long time to come. By the time it’s the only option (if it even ever is the only option), we’ll have likely sold our consumer rights away some time beforehand.

          • Phantoon says:

            I think that’s what he was getting at. I was personally hoping it’d do a lot better, THEN flop as soon as competition got in, to scare everyone right back out of it rather than give it the old college try in a few years.

            It’s likely the assets will be bought, with an ever worse outcome for consumers than there was going to be, before.

      • TychoCelchuuu says:

        I don’t think Vinraith is worried about his e-peen, I think he’s worried about a world where our games are about as ephemeral as you can get. Like, now that OnLive is closing, what happens to all the games people have bought through it? Do they disappear? At least if Steam died I could crack my local copies.

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          Carra says:

          I hope they give me a week to download my 500 steam games.

          It’s the point of steam, I don’t have to backup every game, they’re stored online.

      • Premium User Badge

        FriendlyFire says:

        Does OnLive allow mods? Nope.

        Does OnLive allow you to change settings? Nope.

        You’re playing on a PC, yet OnLive gives you a console experience. Might as well jump ship and play on a console, you get the same end result without the latency.

        … Assuming stuff like building your own machine is actually a negative of PC gaming, which I believe many will tell you it is not.

        • The Random One says:

          But consoles are expensive. All you need to play OnLive is a good connection and a crap PC. Everyone has at least a crap PC, and a good connection is cheaper than a console.

        • Azradesh says:

          Consoles give you a much better experience.

          You can play your games offline.
          You can sell them.
          You can lend and trade them.
          Better graphics with no compression artifacts.
          And as you said, no latency.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Cloud gaming isn’t really a threat to traditional pc gaming though? I can’t think of any products where rentals have supplanted purchases, and as we’re slowly discovering, a completely different calibre and type of game is being made to suit always-online platforms.

    • Sic says:

      I came here to say the exact same.

      Good riddance.

      I hope this deter others from buying into this nonsense as long as possible. Preferably until it makes sense (i.e. it delivers an experience indistinguishable from having the proper hardware on-site).

      This would only have worked/made sense if it was mobile device only. Their ridiculous foray into the console and PC market was obviously doomed to begin with. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to use machines made for gaming for streaming low-quality video with input lag that you pay a subscription for. I mean, really, what on earth were they thinking?

    • Azradesh says:

      I too am very happy to see this die, I do feel very sorry for everyone that’s been fired though. :(

  7. Solidstate89 says:

    Good, I hope it’s true. If we’re lucky, they’ll take Gaikai with them.

    • pakoito says:

      Gaikai provides such an awful service it should be called seppukku instead. Why release a client that gives awful performance on netbooks? What’s the point?

    • Kodeen says:

      Gakai was purchased by Sony.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I’ve enjoyed a few hours playing demos on Gaikai, which was free fun, but probably the experience that means I’d never pay OnLive for a similar service.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Indeed. Crash and burn, you bastards. Scorch and salt that earth so heavily that nobody wants to try again for decades.

      • MasterDex says:

        By which time we’ll be listening to our kids or grandkids extolling the awesomeness of gaming on the cloud with no need to buy expensive hardware. They’ll be like “Cloud gaming is the fusion!” and we’ll be like “You whipper-snappers don’t know what ye’ve lost. Back in my day, we had to download the entire game before we could even play it. And we liked it! We fought to stop this crap. Good men cried over this crap! Kids these days!”

        • Solidstate89 says:

          Yeah man, I’m totally with you on that one. Fuck having rights as a consumer to use the software as you see fit. Who the hell gives a shit about Mods, shitty fidelity or crippling latency?

          Only luddites care about stuff like that. Obviously.

          Go drown in a toilet.

          • absolofdoom says:

            “Go drown in a toilet” is now my new favorite thing.

            Oh also, agreed.

          • CrookedLittleVein says:

            “Go drown in a toilet.”

            That’s a little over the line, friend.

          • MasterDex says:

            Yeah! Damn those bastards for providing people with an option! OnLive took our consumer rights away! The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

            Stop with the hyperbole, it just makes you look silly. The thing about consumer rights is that they are legal rights, not imaginary rights you think you have. Cloud gaming can’t take away your consumer rights. All it can do is provide a service. You decide whether to give up the privileges of the other distro options (and make no mistake, they are privileges) for the luxuries of cloud gaming.

            Oh wait, I forgot. Common sense with doomsayers is in short supply. Never mind, I’ll just go find a giant tiolet to drown myself in.
            -_-

  8. ScubaMonster says:

    I totally didn’t see this coming. Nope, not at all. No sirree…

    I called this from the beginning before it ever launched.

    • Shuck says:

      I never saw how they could possibly financially succeed either, but I can’t feel too smug because the technology worked much better than I ever believed possible.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      Were you also one of the geniuses who declared that the technology could never work and it was all an investment fraud scheme?

      • Shuck says:

        Actually it never did work – it was all an elaborate fraud done with hand puppets and webcams.

      • Shortwave says:

        It doesn’t work for everyone actually.
        Many people, MANY still don’t have really fast solid connections.
        Including myself, and I will not for a very long time.
        My experience with these services is TERRIBLE and not enjoyable by any means.
        I wouldn’t be able to play anything MP on this stuff, EVER.. Ever!!
        (I play on only sub 80ping servers with a 120hz monitor with an epically refreshing mouse. Because I feel like I’m handicapped in game if I don’t play that way these days.. Right.. So.)
        And if you call that working.. Well I’m happy for you! Haha.
        Sadly in my reality, it’s still failing miserably short and is very much so unpractical and counter productive to what PC gaming truly is. Powerful, in your control, intelligent, the most beautiful.. Paving the way into the future of technology as we trickle in the parts to cheer that progress on. As we see each new advancement as it folds out, as we can turn them on and off and experiment.. To be a part of the “devs” almost in a sense, that we’re respected enough to be able to look inside and learn something.. To have the right and ability to go into it and make it work best FOR US.. Ourselves.. I mean, that’s why I’m a PC gamer man.. Cloud services take all of that away..
        Might be a bit over dramatic I know, I see the purpose for such things on mobile devices and varies other less -hardcore- applications.. But you know where they want to go with it, right.. It’s just, not what it’s about man! END OF RANT…. Sorry..

        Oh wait..
        Does this mean we get to play Hawken sooner also?..
        YES.

  9. Unaco says:

    If they do fold, will we call them ‘Off-Dead’?

    Being serious for a moment, I think it’s a shame… I never used the service, and with the current issues with bandwidth (at least here in the UK) and my not so hot broadband connection, I had no intentions of using it. But they were things that could have been worked on, the high intensity, interactive streaming technology getting better, and benefiting other fields perhaps. As John says in the article, it could allow us to “to stream games directly onto most web-enabled devices, letting you play tech-needy games on the most basic laptop or smart phone” … that would be a good thing. As long as it didn’t become the standard or only way to get our games.

    It’s a shame… it could have been a great method for consuming our super-duper high tech PC games while away from our super-duper high tech PCs.

    • battles_atlas says:

      That’s the nice version of the future, where OnLive is simply an alternative option with no ramifications for PC gaming. The nasty version is where it becomes dominant, perhaps by drawing in console crowds, and the PC at home, with its multitude of possibilities, becomes a distant memory, at least for gaming. Can you imagine how ubisoft would jump at the chance to only provide its games through cloud servers? Not saying this will happen, but its plausible enough for the demise of OnLive to cheer me.

      • Snargelfargen says:

        OnLive is meant for netbook/tablet users. It’s an attempt to open gaming to a wider market, not lock down pre-existing customers. Sure Ubisoft and similiar companies probably see the benefits against privacy, but their shareholders are far more interested in putting their product in front of more people’s faces, and mobile gaming is the way to go.

        Idunno, I can understand the concerns about consumer rights, but your worst scenario seems pretty unlikely, especially considering the recent revival of older games through kickstarter and the like. There’s a clear demand for traditional pc games alongside the newer f2p facebook games, and there’s probably not very much crossover between the two groups of consumers. There’s lots of room for both kinds of gaming to grow.

      • Premium User Badge

        drewski says:

        I’d happily pay $20 a month for a streaming buffet of whatever gaming I wanted, though, if the latency was low enough and the streaming good enough quality.

        The idea of games as a product is an anachronism. Sooner or later technology will get to the point where streamed content on a subscription basis is the standard, for much the same reason that you connect to an electricity grid rather than running a furnace in your basement.

        • Premium User Badge

          AlwaysRight says:

          Hear hear! I totally agree.
          I see this in exactly the same context as music and film, the love-films came out and spotifys came out as a parallel option.
          You can still go to an indie cinema and you can still buy music on vinyl if you want to.

        • battles_atlas says:

          The electricity grid is actually a very nice example of the costs that come from convenience. Its perfectly possible now to have large amounts of power coming community owned renewable schemes that turn consumers into ‘prosumers’ just like modding etc does on PC. Result is less NIMBYism preventing installation, and greater awareness of the environmental costs of our lifestyles, which can only be a good thing when “behaviour change” is the goal of climate change policy. Instead the UK has a widely hated cartel running its power system, with a population that is disenfranchised and feels ripped off. Be careful what you wish for.

          OnLive type services could well exist happily alongside the traditional model, but I still worry about the industry pressure to make that the only option as a means of increasing control of their products. We already see games released on consoles rather than PC, in the name of combating piracy, plus Origin and Battlenet having exclusives.

          @ AlwaysRight
          PC gaming fundamentally isn’t the same as film and music. Console gaming might be, but the whole ethos of RPS is a celebration of PC’s unique open nature. Don’t underestimate the industry’s desire to shut that down.

  10. eks says:

    Damn pirates killing the industry.

    • alundra says:

      the hell you say?! I was promised this always online drm thing would keep us safe from hackers….and cheaters….and pirates….

  11. wodin says:

    I hope it’s true. Cloud Gaming is something I’m not happy about, it’s another thing to add to the list of potential threats to the future of PC gaming.

    I do however hope those who work there find jobs quickly.

  12. MythArcana says:

    I remember back in the day when you used to actually talk on a phone.

    • Tuor says:

      I remember back when you actually had to dial a phone number. Damn you, technology! Damn you!

      • Unaco says:

        I remember back when you had to give the Operator your details, and wait for them to connect you. Damn this pesky technology!

        By the way, you can still use a phone to talk to people. They haven’t taken that function away… just added new ones.

        • Greggh says:

          I recall fond memories of operating teleprinters to dispatch telegraphed messages to my acquaintances. over the Telex. Before that we we’re only allowed to use smoke signals, and I tell you, working the coal mines was hard man’s labor. Which reminds me of a chap named Ronald, whom I used to have sodomy with, but that is beyond the point.

      • Hoaxfish says:

        remember when you had to actually remember the number you wanted phone

      • Kaira- says:

        I remember when they chose the emergency number on the basis that it was very fast to dial with rotary phone.

      • Zeewolf says:

        Hey, I still do that.

        What, BUY a phone for the house line? Never! The old one is working fine!

  13. Freud says:

    It’s hard seeing them solve input lag with current technology, unless they will have hundreds of server clusters.

  14. D3xter says:

    If this is true, then it is good news indeed, there’s nothing I hate with more of a fiery passion than all these services trying to take away consumer rights and control under the guise of “offering a great service”, so it is good to see OnLive failing and that GaiKai probably only managed to survive because they managed to sell themselves to SONY (which might have been their goal in the first place). It would be an even bigger bonus if they close down shop for their service entirely so people UNDERSTAND that they should fight for their rights of ownership and not pay money for something that could be gone in a years time, no matter the price or the $1 deals…

    Other than that I’ll just Paste what I said in one of these articles on another site:
    “You asked the guy that just rode this wave and managed to convince SONY to buy his company, what the hell did you think he would say? It’s like asking the fox if he thinks henhouse doors are a good idea.
    There was a pretty good article in a German gaming magazine about all the downsides of “Cloud Gaming” (god I even hate that embellishment for what is basically “we will run the software for you, and you lose all your rights!”): http://tinyurl.com/7map39a

    The thought that something like OnLive or GaiKai (or anything like it) might at some point have the success of Steam is truly outright horrifying, not only do you lose any advantage PC gaming might have over consoles (from being able to Mod your game, to tweaking graphics settings and using any kind of control method you like etc.) and would replace all of that with a blurry mess full of compression artifacts, banding and input lag at low resolution and with the game on their side running on low or medium graphics settings to save on processing power so they can serve more customers, but you’d also lose every single consumer right you might still have left when you buy a game as a product (with companies being able to revoke your rights to your entire game library over any reason and physically being able to pull it off). Can’t really count on courts like the ECJ doing ALL the thinking for you and protect you against abusive practices: http://tinyurl.com/77d5n43
    I see it as the ultimate form of DRM, going back to having to use terminals and worse than anything I could have ever imagined a few years ago and I’m appalled that most people don’t seem to regard it as such.

    You would lose, among other things:
    1) Being able to play all games at all times (see Uplays extended downtimes and the likes)
    2) Playing with maximum graphics details and options enabled
    3) Playing normal multiplayer (OnLive for instance only hosts Multiplayer between other OnLive players because of latency, it would be simply too high if you had to send packets this way: Client –> OnLive Server –> Game Server –> OnLive Server –> Compression Algorithm –> Client)
    4) Setting up Multiplayer server and hosting LAN parties would be no more
    5) No more playing Offline or when the Net is out
    6) No more installing Mods
    7) No more tweaking INI files
    8) No more cheating (even the good Offline kind where you give yourself a little bit more money or a bigger head)
    9) GaiKai or whatever service would likely sit on your save files.
    10) No more being able to decide if you want to Patch or not or Rollbacks
    11) They could make games even more of a micro transaction mess than they already are and add unskippable advertising to the list of things to worry about
    12) They could remove games or game features FOREVER with nobody owning a copy if at any point games would be exclusive to such services (god forbid), Manhunt or similar damaging your reputation too much and not selling enough? Get rid of it forever. A certain feature or spot of your game (nude scene, Coffee Mod or whatever) giving you trouble with the media? Get rid of it forever. You put out the newest FIFA/NHL/NBA 2035 and want people to buy it? Discontinue services for any and all older versions.
    13) Possible loss of Indie/free niche markets in favor of the big “AAA” titles, why would they support small/unknown companies that barely everyone will likely play in favor of the mass-market AAA games that would pay off to run?
    etc.

    No, just NO, they’ll establish these kinds of services over my dead body.”

    • trjp says:

      Drivel…

      You’ve never owned a game – not ever – stop waving your rattle at the inevitable…

      You’re letting your tin foil hat block your vision and all that.

      • D3xter says:

        EU law, me being able to sell games and software I bought retail and ownership of licenses being recognized by the ECJ among other things tell a quite different story.

        You must’ve bought all the EULA “drivel” that was put before you telling you how a company owns your firstborn son or even your “soul” for clicking “Accept” once: http://www.bit-tech.net/news/gaming/2010/04/15/gamestation-we-own-your-soul/ and thought they were anything else than legal fantasy…

        • Unaco says:

          Yeah, but they’re all mad in that European Court though, ain’t they? Stopping me from buying curvy bananas, or ugly broccoli… fining people for using the magnificent metric system… banning me from using those military grade defoliants to get rid of the weeds on my patio. What do they know about my garden in that Strasborg place? Mad I tell ya… Mad!

          • D3xter says:

            Luxembourg :P
            The Strasbourg people deal with the increasingly antiquated idea of human rights.

          • Unaco says:

            Luxemborg? Strasborg? All I know is we’re getting assimilated, eh. Ain’t that right?

        • ResonanceCascade says:

          Hey, look, another person who took all the headlines about the EU ruling at face value and didn’t bother to read or understand what was actually said in the ruling.

          • Azradesh says:

            Actually it looks like you’re the one that didn’t read and/or understand the ruling.

        • trjp says:

          The EU ruling has nothing to do with the idea that if you lose the discs or the machine breaks, you can no longer play the game.

          Windows upgrades – game doesn’t work anymore

          Hell a video driver update once made one of my games unplayable (and it remains so to this day unless I’d like to use a 3-year-old driver)!!!!

          You DO NOT own games and never, ever have. You are buying a limited right to play them – at best – and the sooner you get that idea into your head and stop whining about it, the more fun you’ll have – frankly.

          Right now you’re sitting on a beach waiting for the tide to come in (and whilst it’s coming, it’s DEAD SLOW) and you’ve not noticed the free ice cream truck with hookers and coke nearby…

          • D3xter says:

            I’m not sure what sudden incompatibility with a system or driver (or the loss of a product) has anything to do with it or where you are trying to go with that.
            So VHS-cassettes don’t work in DVD players anymore? Oh no, I don’t own them anymore!

            I do and have always owned the games, movies and software I bought and licenses to use them, I can put them in the loo and take a wee on them, set them on fire or sell them on to someone else.
            (And I can do it despite the movie-maker writing that I’m not allowed to watch Extended Scene 3 in their movie booklet or some EULA trying to claim that I’m not allowed to use the pencil tool in Paint, since those aren’t legally binding)

            The only thing I can’t do due to imposed restrictions are things that go against other kinds of laws (for instance Copyright, which says I can’t duplicate my copy of the game and sell it to everyone else), just as there are restrictions to the use for other products (for instance traffic laws against speeding or driving while a traffic light is red with cars).

            If you want to give up your rights and let companies s**t all over them, go right ahead and feel free, but don’t try to brainwash other people into believing your nonsense.
            I’ll also argue that I bought games retail or as licenses at full price even if the Steam EULA says “Subscription” and am ready to do that in court too if they ever try to dispute that and take away my rights and products.

            There’s already a great precedent that is rather clear about this: http://tinyurl.com/ctlnvfr
            “By its judgment delivered today, the Court explains that the principle of exhaustion of the distribution right applies not only where the copyright holder markets copies of his software on a material medium (CD-ROM or DVD) but also where he distributes them by means of downloads from his website.

            Where the copyright holder makes available to his customer a copy – tangible or intangible – and at the same time concludes, in return form payment of a fee, a licence agreement granting the customer the right to use that copy for an unlimited period, that rightholder sells the copy to the customer and thus exhausts his exclusive distribution right. Such a transaction involves a transfer of the right of ownership of the copy. Therefore, even if the licence agreement prohibits a further transfer, the rightholder can no longer oppose the resale of that copy. “

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        One man’s tinfoil hat is another man’s common fucking sense.

      • Solidstate89 says:

        Except he’s correct on every account. You can take your consumer hating practices and shove off to some part of the world we never have to hear from you again.

      • mrmalodor says:

        The physical box copies on my shelf would like to respectfully disagree.

    • Shortwave says:

      I dug that read dude, you make a ton of solid points.
      I’m so very happy they are going under as well.
      I do wish the employee’s well with their life’s though.

    • Zeewolf says:

      Totally agreed. Cloud gaming may be the future, but if so we’re looking at a pretty grim future. I certainly don’t mind if it gets postponed a little.

    • Odexios says:

      2) Playing with maximum graphics details and options enabled
      Is there a reason for this? I mean, why shouldn’t you ever be able to play with maximum graphics? I’m not talking about right now, I have actually never tried OnLive.

      3) Playing normal multiplayer (OnLive for instance only hosts Multiplayer between other OnLive players because of latency, it would be simply too high if you had to send packets this way: Client –> OnLive Server –> Game Server –> OnLive Server –> Compression Algorithm –> Client)
      I’d say it’s an issue that can be solved with a more powerful and stable internet connection, which I expect to be around in a few years.

      4) Setting up Multiplayer server and hosting LAN parties would be no more
      Well, the server and LAN hosting part can be simulated via the internet, am I wrong?

      6) No more installing Mods
      7) No more tweaking INI files

      Again, why? I expect a service like this to give me some cloud space to put up mods and tweak inis and whatever I want to do. The fact that a service that lets you do things like these isn’t around doesn’t mean it will never be.

      8) No more cheating (even the good Offline kind where you give yourself a little bit more money or a bigger head)
      Again, why? Why should be cheating banned from a streaming service? If I can play it, why shouldn’t I be able to access the console, or whatever?

      13) Possible loss of Indie/free niche markets in favor of the big “AAA” titles, why would they support small/unknown companies that barely everyone will likely play in favor of the mass-market AAA games that would pay off to run?
      I’d dare say that even if a streaming gaming service could become the main way to experience gaming, nothing will ever stop indie developers to release binaries and whatever in the old way. Even if Ubisoft decided to distribute its games only via OnLive-like services, I’m sure Mojang would still be able to write an old “normal” game, wouldn’t it?

      I share most of your concerns, but it seems to me that sometimes we are just bashing at this kind of services attacking whatever we can in a seemingly blind rage; there’s no use in criticizing something that isn’t true.

  15. kwyjibo says:

    Very surprising. After no one believed them that it would work, they wowed everyone with a service that did work.

    And their technology and model seemed to be a lot more mature than Gaikai. If they did not manage to secure a round of venture funding, that suggests they must have been burning through cash at an unviable rate.

    But streaming is going to be a big part of the future. The network is good enough now.

  16. trjp says:

    I think the problem is that PC gamers LIKE their PCs – they like all the shit they go through to build it and make it work properly.

    OnLive’s market was actually XBOX and PS3 owners – convincing them they were a cheaper/better alternative was the trick they needed to pull-off

    Clearly it didn’t work??

    OnLive always struck me as rather clever really – the games play better than I expected (and WAY WAY better than the doom-mongers said they would) and the interface is leagues ahead of console/PC gaming systems otherwise.

    They just needed to get the system into the faces of people who buy XBOXes and other things and clearly they didn’t.

    Why aren’t the console things in PC World – for example??

    • Zeewolf says:

      Cheaper yes, better no.

      • trjp says:

        ‘Better’ is a pretty moveable feast of the thing – and that doesn’t matter to the folks shopping in Tesco when they see a BARGAIN.

        If you think that success only comes from selling the best possible product to the most ideal customers – your future on this planet will feature a lot of toast and possibly some sleeping rough…

        Their PlayPack deal was an astounding value to stressed parents of zero-attention-span kids (msot of them, then) and parents ahve a knack of forgetting they’re paying for something (or leaving their credit cards assigned to the system etc.)

        That’s how you become successful – not by quietly waiting for people to discover you.

  17. Greggh says:

    “We don’t respond to rumours, but of course not” is to Public Relations as “We don’t negotiate with terrorists, most of the time” is to Presidency.

    And FFS guys, please stop hating/bashing gaming sites for no reason other than sheer elitism.
    Rumours are rumours are rumours, when they are confirmed they evolve into news, and maybe even facts, or Charizards or something.

  18. Larkington says:

    “…we’re only part-time ballerinas.”

    Hold me closer, tiny dancers.

  19. Radiant says:

    Somewhere, Dave Perry is wearing a hat and suit made from money secretly ruing the deal he made with the dark lord to be THAT FUCKING LUCKY.

  20. NeuralNet says:

    Excellent news. It’s an unnecessary service built upon an infrastructure that could never allow it to be as good as the traditional model because there are too many links in the chain.

  21. povu says:

    I would live a service like this to be used as a way of demo’ing games. OnLive allowed you to play the first 20 minutes of any game for free I think. It sure would be nice if companies would put up game demos through a streaming service, so you can just jump into a demo to try it out. No need to download multiple GBs of files just to play a short demo.

  22. Roshin says:

    Excuse me while I *smirk.*

  23. HaVoK308 says:

    But, I thought streaming video games was the next big thing, and retail boxed copies were…doomed. Truth be told, the market for that is small. It works, but barely. Perhaps in another 25 years when the infrastructure is there, cable companies are not a monopoly and there are no data-caps. On second thought, better make that 35 years.

  24. ResonanceCascade says:

    Glad to see there are still plenty of self-righteous prat luddites on RPS.

    edit: and sorry for the grumpiness, but the tone of this conversation is massively grating.

    • Premium User Badge

      JiminyJickers says:

      Sorry mate, but not liking services like onlive where games get taken away from our control is hardly ludditism.

      I love technology, would not be playing PC games if I didnt, but if onlive was to become something people bought into seriously and where gaming trends tended towards, it would have been scary indeed. Onlive was a massive step in the wrong direction.

      • Premium User Badge

        drewski says:

        It’s just the logical extension of Steam. The problem is that their business model stank (buy the game *and* pay to play it? Who do you think you are, WoW?) and that the technology isn’t good enough unless you live next door to the server, or in South Korea.

        But it’s inevitable. Content as a product is dead, it just doesn’t know it yet.

    • wu wei says:

      And there’s always the trite apologists who come across as corporate sock puppets. What can you do other than block them?

      • dE says:

        Block them – then tell them you blocked them.
        Flawless Victory – as it can’t be countered.

      • Azradesh says:

        Yeah, some people are just too stupid to waste any time on.

  25. MadTinkerer says:

    There are two things I don’t understand:

    The appeal of OnLive.

    Why everyone insists it’s “the future”, and why they’re surprised when it’s now failed.

    Why is Diablo III’s always online DRM bad, but OnLive is good? Obviously I’m oversimplifying and not everyone thinks this. But to those that do, listen to yourselves. With Diablo III, at least your machine is doing some of the processing. OnLive is just setting up a camera in front of a monitor and showing you the video of that game.

    Back in the late 1970s there were mainframes and terminals. Then Personal Computers came along and made mainframe terminal access obsolete. OnLive is not the future: it is the far, far past. OnLive was obsolete before I understood what a computer was.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      OnLive (or some other form of cloud gaming) is indeed the future for anybody who wants to play graphics intensive games on a portable device.

      But yeah, D3′s drm is dumb as all hell.

      • MadTinkerer says:

        ” for anybody who wants to play graphics intensive games on a portable device.”

        But not even then. I remember when the fear of widespread high definition video piracy seemed ludicrous because nobody had that kind of bandwidth and playing movies at the resolution taxed the graphics card too much. Who would want a digital copy of a Bluray disc, legit or otherwise? And now…

        So Moore’s Law.

        • Snargelfargen says:

          “And now…” People already stream tv, movies and music on their tablets. Bandwidth is also improving, or does it not follow Moore’s?

          It’d be great if portable hardware caught up with desktop pcs but it’s a ways away.

          • MadTinkerer says:

            “People already stream tv, movies and music on their tablets.”

            Well yes, that’s my point.

            “Bandwidth is also improving, or does it not follow Moore’s?”

            Technically, no. Moore’s law only applies to processing power, because digital bandwidth did not exist when the law (which is really just a theory that was backed up by market forces and turned out to be true in retrospect) was first stated. So bandwidth doesn’t double every two years.

            But you’re right. At the time DSL had only started and Cable based internet was way better than dial-up, but still far away from reliably offering streaming video at high definitions. It was still about five or six years before Hulu launched, but not a whole decade like I estimated.

            And speaking of Hulu, the reason Hulu works is because television is designed to be broadcast. Videogames are not.

          • Snargelfargen says:

            Ahh, fair enough. Well if we’re looking at this from a cyclical point of of view, then I think it will still be a while before portable computing is powerful enough to really compete with desktops, or even laptops. The few details Samsung and Apple have released for 2013 aren’t very promising, with the price point still hovering around $600 for a 16gb hard drive and a processor lacking proper hardware acceleration. Advances in technology don’t always come with with fair pricing, especially when a company like Apple has such a large part of the market locked down. Browser-based/Cloud gaming still has a purpose for at least the next couple years, if not the decade, and it seems like companies are designing more and more games with that in mind.

            I’m not really sure if that’s all that terrible though. There’s not much crossover between pc gaming and portable gaming, so it’s really just opening up a new market for a new kind of game. It wouldn’t make sense to simply stop catering to part of a company’s customers, and as time goes on, I expect the differences between mobile games and pc games will grow as they are tailored to the strengths of their respective platforms. I guess I’m basically saying “don’t panic” while slowly veering wildly off topic so I’ll end this post now.

    • alundra says:

      That was some deep insight shit in there, I’ve been around computers and videogames for far too long and never realize that the cloud bullshit is actually not the future, it’s the past.

      @Snargelfarge

      It’s the future for any kid who wants to be butt plugged to the matrix everywhere he goes. Believe it or not there are people out there with other stuff to do than playing video games, people with principles, that think it’s not a good idea to surrender any and all control they might have over their games just for the chance of playing crisis 3 while taking a dump.

      As somebody else commented on this news, in case they disappear at least with steam I can crack the games I managed to have on my drives. What will the people naive enough to waste money on onlive be left with when onlive shuts down the tv signal they call cloud gaming?

      • Snargelfargen says:

        Thank you for your “deep insight shit” into the minds of smart-phone and tablet users.

        • alundra says:

          Wow, that was some epic fail at reading, next time don’t reply while being butthurt with the truth.

      • Premium User Badge

        drewski says:

        The same they get left with if their cable TV goes bust; ie they don’t care, and just sign up for a new provider.

        The future of streamed content is subscription. Onlive’s first and worst error was still trying to charge a purchase fee.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      I think it’s an error to think of streaming subscription content servers as “good” or “bad”. They can be well implemented or poorly implemented, though, and the technology of the present and the business models of the past are nicely meeting to ensure that the only possible option at the present is the second of those two options.

      People who are anti-streamed content are basically the present day version of the RIAA and MPAA around a decade ago. You can’t bury your head in the sand and pray that the business model that is taking over the music industry and the movie industry won’t come to gaming. Spotify and Netflix are the models – sooner or later someone will get it to work for games too.

      Apparently that someone won’t be Onlive, though.

  26. MasterDex says:

    I, and I’m sure many others, called this back when it was first announced. It’s a wonderful idea, it really, really is. The world just isn’t ready for it – and that’s not hyperbole.

  27. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    I honestly don’t care much.. although if this is true, well, my thoughts go to those people who have lost their ways to make a living.

    I suppose on one hand I’m happy it didn’t become the new ‘thing’, but on the other hand it worked relatively well and there may be a definite use for it. For some people.

  28. fuzzy_dunlop says:

    i signed up after seing this article and erm wasnt impressed the graphics are rubbish due to my crap net connection.

    As said above id rather spend a few quid and buy a GFX card etc and get top quality looking games rather than this service.

    But i can see a future for this thing when net speeds get better. This will be the future though no doubt about it.

    I think this is a great idea for consoles but for PC gamers i doubt it.

  29. Hoaxfish says:

    The story has updated to them being bought up by some mystery company, who basically sacked everyone, and will rehire some of them… and the service will carry on as normal.

    Sounds bullshit, but we’ll see I guess.

  30. Premium User Badge

    drewski says:

    Technology isn’t anywhere near ready for this as a primary gaming option.

    When it is, it won’t be controversial any more. It’ll just be how it’s done.

  31. Muzman says:

    A lot of people dancing on this thing’s grave like the monster is dead and they can get back to life.
    Come on guys. You really think the (supposed) end of OnLive is the end of that sort of thing? You don’t think Apple and everyone else are falling all over themselves to do the same thing?
    Hell, they (that’s “They”) want the operating system to be live streamed, ultimately. Ideally a “PC” is a highly controlled null terminal for the cloud. Just wait.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Uh-huh. But we can still celebrate every setback in the push to replace the personal computer with a thin client to Somebody Else’s Server.

    • Om says:

      Snore. I’ve been hearing about the inevitability of this since the mid-1990s. Remember network computers, anyone?

      ‘They’ keep pushing the concept and it keeps failing. I’m not feeling too threatened right now

      • Muzman says:

        Well ten or fifteen years after Blade Runner people had given up on the videophone (since it didn’t come along “in five years” like all those ‘world of tomorrow’ shows would say about everything). Now we’ve practically got them in our pockets without even realising.
        So, yeah, you can chill for a year or two maybe.

  32. bill says:

    I couldn’t ever see how it’d be profitable alone.

    but I’d put money on them getting picked up by someone like Sony/Microsoft/Amazon as a portal for their online services.

  33. Ninja Foodstuff says:

    OnLive has issued the following statement to MacRumors clarifying the situation:

    We can now confirm that the assets of OnLive, Inc. have been acquired into a newly-formed company and is backed by substantial funding, and which will continue to operate the OnLive Game and Desktop services, as well as support all of OnLive’s apps and devices, as well as game, productivity and enterprise partnerships. The new company is hiring a large percentage of OnLive, Inc.’s staff across all departments and plans to continue to hire substantially more people, including additional OnLive employees. All previously announced products and services, including those in the works, will continue and there is no expected interruption of any OnLive services.

  34. PC-GAMER-4LIFE says:

    Good ridance it was never ever going to last you must be a deluded fool to think otherwise. PC gamers want to own/build/tweak their own hardware/software & always will!