While some of us are big fans of streaming game service OnLive, we sometimes scratch our heads wondering what kind of impact this new technology will have on hardware manufacturers like Nvidia, Intel and AMD in the near future. After all, streaming HD gaming content to a low-end laptop – not to mention tablets and smartphones for that matter – seems like a viable threat to said parties.
Likewise, OnLive would also seemingly be a tough competitor to the likes of GamersGate and Valve Software's highly-popular Steam platform. But according to OnLive VP of Engineering Joe Bentley, Valve's Gabe Newell actually digs the new game streaming service, and he even claims to be frineds with the Valve bossman.
"Gabe and his team really like what we're doing," Bentley claims. "I can't go into specifics of any conversations we've had but we have had conversations with everybody in the industry. They really dig OnLive. Gabe is a funny guy because he's really not competitive - very similar to Randy [Pitchford]. He sees us a complementary in a lot of different ways."
Complimentary is actually a great description. Publishers see OnLive as a potential platform to reach customers who otherwise wouldn't have purchased titles based on hardware requirements, or because they don't own or want to purchase a console. OnLive consumers aren't even required to shell out $10 per month for the all-you-can-play subscription; there are options to rent and "purchase" games outright.
Bentley said that Steam really isn't a competitor because Valve's "heart" is into making games – games that could potentially land on OnLive in the future. "If you get to know Valve as a company, Steam was something that they just had to do because nobody else was handling a decent digital distribution model," he said. "Gabe and his team's hearts are really in making games like Portal 2 and so forth. If you see where Portal 2 is, it's on every other platform."
"If Gabe was so intent on Steam's dominance he would make it exclusive on Steam, but that's not what he is," he added . "He's about making the best quality games out there. He's really fascinated with our features and given us a lot of suggestions, they've got similar features coming out and we've chatted about really innovative ideas. I regard him and the company as friends. Sure we're going to have other people doing similar things, but the industry is big enough. We're only a 200 person start-up, we don't need to own it all, there's something for everybody."
But here's the kicker, leading us to believe that Valve may cave in and bring its games to the OnLive platform or something similar. "For me, Steam can't really take their game to that mobile level... Gabe [Newell] walks around with his iPad so he sees OnLive and maybe thinks about how he can get Portal out to the world to the mobile market without compromises."