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OnLive Denies It's Shutting Down, Won't Comment on Layoffs

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 23 comments

Cloud gaming service OnLive has denied reports that the company is shutting down. The rumor mill kicked into high gear when game developer Brian Fargo reported that OnLive was letting go of staff and closing down. Fargo said he had received an email saying OnLive would be closed as of today. "Their employees are sending out emails that #OnLive will be closed by the end of the day," he reiterated a few minutes later.

According to Fargo the original email said that by the end of Friday, "OnLive as an entity will no longer exist." This employee said that everyone was being laid off and a new company would be formed. Roughly half an hour after Fargo's first tweet went out, he reported that the author of the email he had received sent a 'recall' email.

OnLive has denied the rumors. The company said in a statement to Joystiq that it wasn't shutting down. "We don't respond to rumors, but of course not," OnLive's Director of Corporate Communications, Brian Jaquet, said. A follow up question about the layoffs was met only with confirmation that the company wasn't shutting down.

Our own Kevin Parrish got in touch with Brian to ask about the rumors, and was told:

"I have no comment on the news other than to say the OnLive service is not shutting down. I'm sorry I cannot be more specific."

So, again, confirmation that the company isn't shutting down, but no word on rumored layoffs. For what it's worth, the original email sent to Brian Fargo (and supposedly authored by an OnLive employee) said the following:

"I wanted to send a note that by the end of the day today, OnLive as an entity will no longer exist. Unfortunately, my job and everyone else's was included. A new company will be formed and the management of the company will be in contact with you about the current initiatives in place, including the titles that will remain on the service.

It has been an absolute pleasure working with you and I’m sure our path with cross again."

Contrary to OnLive's statement that it would not be shutting down, Kotaku cites a source that says employees were this morning told in an all hands meeting that the company would be filing for bankruptcy. Apparently, CEO Steve Perlman told staff that OnLive would be filing for ABC bankruptcy in the state of California, which would afford them a level of protection from creditors. While Perlamn said no one would be employed by OnLive and the company as it stands would cease to exist, a small number of employes would go on to work at a newly formed company. What's more, the OnLive service is also expected to continue.

Founded in 2003, OnLive announced its cloud gaming service of the same name at GDC in 2009. Since then the service has grown and now spans numerous platforms, including Windows, OS X, tablets (iOS and Android), smartphones (Android), and web-connected TVs and media players. Just this month the company announced plans to make its service available on the Ouya console. 

Further Reading

Brian Fargo's Twitter

Joystiq

Kotaku


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  • 10 Hide
    sacre , August 17, 2012 9:32 PM
    Doesn't surprise me. Although the idea is just amazing, no longer would you need powerful computers, you can play all games instantly through this service.. the lag was the killer.

    I tried it, and although awesome, it sucked a LOT of bandwidth and there was always a lag with the input instantly killing all first person shooters, somewhat good for racing games.

    I don't think this service is ready for todays internet. Maybe in 10 years we'll see all internet connections at the 100mpbs+ mark, maybe then we'll see some insane gaming sessions done on crappy small laptops.
Other Comments
  • 10 Hide
    sacre , August 17, 2012 9:32 PM
    Doesn't surprise me. Although the idea is just amazing, no longer would you need powerful computers, you can play all games instantly through this service.. the lag was the killer.

    I tried it, and although awesome, it sucked a LOT of bandwidth and there was always a lag with the input instantly killing all first person shooters, somewhat good for racing games.

    I don't think this service is ready for todays internet. Maybe in 10 years we'll see all internet connections at the 100mpbs+ mark, maybe then we'll see some insane gaming sessions done on crappy small laptops.
  • 9 Hide
    beardguy , August 17, 2012 9:51 PM
    Proof that "the cloud" still is not a plausible replacement for real hardware.

    Even if this technology were perfected, I still can't see a ton of people using it.
  • 0 Hide
    alidan , August 17, 2012 10:03 PM
    sacreDoesn't surprise me. Although the idea is just amazing, no longer would you need powerful computers, you can play all games instantly through this service.. the lag was the killer.I tried it, and although awesome, it sucked a LOT of bandwidth and there was always a lag with the input instantly killing all first person shooters, somewhat good for racing games. I don't think this service is ready for todays internet. Maybe in 10 years we'll see all internet connections at the 100mpbs+ mark, maybe then we'll see some insane gaming sessions done on crappy small laptops.


    you need to live within 50 miles of one of the onlive datacenters to get the best...
    raceing games are unplayable on a competitive level or the high end single player, because of lag
    fps games are more manageable, but not online, single player fps games are ok though
    where the service shines is with games that don't require precise down to the ms decisions.

    if the internet was better and they had datacenters for all major cities at least, you would probably see pc game renting become far more popular, to the point it may take a chunk of piracy out.
  • -8 Hide
    mrkay , August 17, 2012 10:04 PM
    Service is pretty cool on my tablet. Maybe steam should buy them up along with gamefly.
  • 0 Hide
    robochump , August 17, 2012 10:04 PM
    beardguyProof that "the cloud" still is not a plausible replacement for real hardware. Even if this technology were perfected, I still can't see a ton of people using it.


    Not until everyone has 20 mbps speed. OnLive is just ahead of its time and I forgot it existed until this news post...lol. I just vaguely recall some ads but nothing in the last year or so. Its too bad, hate to see good ideas fade, though I am sure PC hardware companies like Intel is all smiles....heh.
  • 0 Hide
    alidan , August 17, 2012 10:04 PM
    beardguyProof that "the cloud" still is not a plausible replacement for real hardware. Even if this technology were perfected, I still can't see a ton of people using it.


    with videogames, no, its not there yet.
    but lets say that someday your computer is just a hub to the internet and that's where everything happens. general computing could work as of today for the cloud, and input and lag aren't really a problem.
  • 7 Hide
    Fokissed , August 17, 2012 10:05 PM
    beardguyProof that "the cloud" still is not a plausible replacement for real hardware. Even if this technology were perfected, I still can't see a ton of people using it.

    It's more so proof that the internet has too much latency for video game input, which is really the only reason that this failed.
    Edit: also, the huge amounts of bandwidth it uses can be a problem for some people.
  • 2 Hide
    beardguy , August 17, 2012 10:18 PM
    I hear you guys on the latency issues etc. that made OnLive just not plausible right now.

    But I still see too many issues that will prevent the cloud from taking over even in the next 10 years. What happens if your internet connection goes out? What if your PC is literally a "dumb terminal" in the future not capable of running anything with it's own processing/gpu power? I mean you couldn't even cache your apps/games locally because your computer wouldn't be capable of handling it on it's own. There are no fail safes in place right now, it's not like you have a backup internet connection you can switch to, if it goes out you would be totally hosed.

    I just don't see it happening anytime soon. MUCH more likely imo would be a local home "cloud server" that would cache and serve up the data. This local cloud server could always be syncing with the internet cloud and when the connection drops out, you would still be good to go.

    Any technology that relies solely on a 24/7 internet connection is a fail. At least for now and the foreseeable future until we have really fast and rock solid internet connections available.
  • 4 Hide
    buckcm , August 17, 2012 10:29 PM
    robochumpNot until everyone has 20 mbps speed. OnLive is just ahead of its time and I forgot it existed until this news post...lol. I just vaguely recall some ads but nothing in the last year or so. Its too bad, hate to see good ideas fade, though I am sure PC hardware companies like Intel is all smiles....heh.


    It doesn't matter that much what download / upload you have. 5 megabit down is plenty for streaming the service. It's the latency that is bad.
  • 1 Hide
    RADIO_ACTIVE , August 17, 2012 11:16 PM
    otacon72Dear Subscriber,We're writing you today to inform you that you exceeded your bandwidth limit last month by a wide margin. If this happens again we will charge you up the ass. That's why all these streaming sites won't last. My friend tried and hated it. It sucked so much bandwidth and the lag was ridiculous.
    They would if ISPs build their networks to support it... Thankfully I have Surewest and they have no caps.
  • -2 Hide
    back_by_demand , August 17, 2012 11:49 PM
    otacon72Dear Subscriber,We're writing you today to inform you that you exceeded your bandwidth limit last month by a wide margin. If this happens again we will charge you up the ass. That's why all these streaming sites won't last. My friend tried and hated it. It sucked so much bandwidth and the lag was ridiculous.

    Sucks to live in the USA, your ISPs are shitty, in the UK I can buy into a 12 month ADSL contract from several providers for the equivalent of $8 a month and get 24Mb speed, totally unlimited and believe me I have tried to exceed any kind of unlisted fair-use policy and have no problems, last month I must have chewed through 400Gb
    ...
    As far as Onlive goes, great idea, just was ahead of its time - I can see the company being an easy acquisition for Steam however, strip out the IP and get ready for the next generation
  • 2 Hide
    viktorbkk , August 17, 2012 11:50 PM
    Good riddance. We want to render our own games.
  • 0 Hide
    snowzsan , August 18, 2012 12:12 AM
    For gaming I believe the idea is absolutely brilliant. More and more customer's are purchasing tablets, netbook,s and other small mobile devices that don't offer a whole lot in terms of gaming. This puts a sour taste in any users mouth and this offers a solution short of emptying your pockets at an electronics retailer. So we could keep our high end rigs and this offers them a solution, it's win win.

    However, I do have to agree with the general populace here in stating: Today's internet services are not ready for this... At all. They're a little ahead of their time but I say within a few years, with the way tech is progressing, they should be good to go!
  • 1 Hide
    amuffin , August 18, 2012 12:19 AM
    I own one and I got Duke Nukem, the game was impossible to play.

    A LOT of INPUT LAG even with a direct wired connection that was running at 25 megabits! :fou: 
  • 1 Hide
    Draconian , August 18, 2012 12:32 AM
    I've used OnLive and, let me tell you, it eats a crazy amount of bandwidth. From my estimation, about 2 GB per hour. And that's just for lowly 720p resolution. Could you imagine the bandwidth that a 1080p stream would use?

    It's not a bad service, but after using it for a few hours I knew that it wasn't going to replace consoles and PC gaming anytime soon. When you're used to the high detailed resolution of PC gaming, the graphics quality on OnLive feels like a huge step backwards. Plus, if your internet cuts out, you lose any unsaved progress on your game. The best feature of OnLive actually was the ability to spectate other people as they were playing, in real time.
  • 0 Hide
    teh_chem , August 18, 2012 12:36 AM
    Gaming is one thing--and as far as that goes, OnLive needs a lot of work. I am convinced that it or something like it will be what "PC Gaming" is at the moment. But there are many things they need to work on.

    OnLive as a software-access service would be brilliant. Instead of needing a Windows computer running Office, you could access, for example, Excel through your OnLive account (I believe this is--or was--in the works). And you could get true productivity on any device--desktop, laptop, tablet or phone--without having to put up with the inherent instabilities in, for example, android platforms.

    I don't know what to make of this rumor. I was pretty convinced OnLive knew what they were doing despite still not being a perfect--or even good at the moment--solution.

    I have hopes that this is just a rumor, because I think OnLive and related services/technologies could really free people from being tied to a hardware platform if they want a particular thing. On the other hand, they'd be tied to paying for such service. Whether it pans out over the long run, that's yet to be seen.
  • 0 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , August 18, 2012 4:27 AM
    Plain and simple - OnLive is/was ahead of its time.
  • 1 Hide
    spectrewind , August 18, 2012 5:16 AM
    buckcmIt doesn't matter that much what download / upload you have. 5 megabit down is plenty for streaming the service. It's the latency that is bad.


    You nailed it. There are a lot of comments in here for ppl saying it sux for me and I have a XX Mbps connection. No mention of the routing ms latency for the most part.

    Too many kids in here, I guess.
  • 1 Hide
    Fokissed , August 18, 2012 8:18 AM
    Some napkin math on input latency:
    Display latency 5-20ms depending on refresh rate and response time.
    USB polling latency 1ms (or 8ms for non gaming mice).
    Input processing is usually done per-frame in the game loop and is tied to the display latency.
    So 20ms is a reasonable amount of input lag for gaming normally.
    50ms is a normal ping time for cable connections (DSL has better ping times but has other problems). However since streaming a game is bandwidth intensive, and maximum payload frames take about 3 times as long to round-trip, 150ms latency is expected. So 850% more latency on streamed gaming versus normal gaming.
  • 0 Hide
    jurassic1024 , August 19, 2012 1:14 AM
    It has been an absolute pleasure working with you and I’m sure our path with cross again.

    I think I found the reason for the layoffs.
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