Wed. Mar 22nd, 2023
Early prototypes for the OnLive controller and microconsole.

Early prototypes for the OnLive controller and microconsole.

The first company to try to make a business out of streaming gameplay over the internet will soon be discontinuing its service. OnLive today announced that its servers will go offline on April 30 and that the company is selling its patent portfolio to Sony Computer Entertainment America.

The announcement comes almost exactly six years after OnLive first announced its plans in the burgeoning streaming gaming space. The idea was to record user input over the Internet, run it through a game on high-end hardware in a centralized server location, and then send video and audio back to end-user hardware that could be significantly cheaper and less powerful. The service and a $100 micro-console launched in late 2010, but suffered from noticeable issues with latency and image quality during our initial testing.

With its pay-per-game service and a limited, subscription-based streaming model that didn’t resonate with many consumers, OnLive suffered massive layoffs and a drastic corporate restructuring in 2012. years yes. Players who participated in that hybrid subscription will still be able to play their purchased games through Steam, but streaming games purchased through Cloudlift or the older Playpass plans will no longer be usable after the end of the month. OnLive continues to exist as a legal entity to manage residual unsold assets such as trademarks, copyrights, and product designs.

Since OnLive’s launch, larger, more established companies have followed suit in trying to stream games over the Internet. Sony bought OnLive competitor Gaikai in 2012 and used that infrastructure last year to launch the surprisingly usable PlayStation Now service. Sony’s purchase of OnLive’s patent portfolio, combined with its lead in PlayStation Now streaming, gives the company a dominant position in the console game streaming market.

“These strategic acquisitions open up tremendous opportunities for our gamers and give Sony a formidable patent portfolio in cloud gaming,” Sony Computer Entertainment VP of Global Business Development Philip Rosenberg said in a statement. “It’s further proof of our commitment to changing the way gamers experience the world of PlayStation.”

Nvidia dove into the streaming gaming business two years ago with its Nvidia Grid server architecture and service. That initiative will become a cornerstone of the TV-based Shield microconsole later this year, with a two-tier plan that recommends a connection of up to 50 Mbps for best performance.

Looking back, it seems that OnLive was just a little too far ahead, both in terms of market readiness and the internet infrastructure required for streaming games. As low-latency bandwidth continues to become cheaper and more accessible around the world, it seems likely that someone will find the right combination of business model, game selection, and easy-to-use interface to become the industry’s answer to Netflix. That company will owe OnLive a debt to get the ball rolling and prove that streaming gaming was something worth trying.

By akfire1

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