When OnLive was first revealed at GDC 5 years ago, the creators had hopes of it becoming one of the more successful cloud-based gaming platforms, but sadly it failed to provide a Grade-A gaming experience. With an inadequate infrastructure and unresponsive performance, the numbers fell and OnLive was forgotten. Now, 4 years after launch, OnLive is trying again with a new approach including new management, new technology, and a new business model, hoping to grasp the attention of gamers and publishers worldwide.
“When we initially launched in 2007, OnLive was positioned as a platform… As a platform it was dependent on getting content, and users thinking it was great – as well as a good internet connection. It’s now five years since it was demonstrated at GDC, four years since launch. In that time a lot of things have happened, but in the last year we’ve really looked at what makes sense as a business model and what things were broken.” – Bruce Grove, General Manager.
The new team behind OnLive are vets in the gaming industry. Mark Jung is the business’ new executive chairman and CEO. He co-founded IGN and was the CEO for Vudu. Working alongside Jung is Rick Sanchez, another previous IGN partner. Carrie Holder, an ex EA employee is on the business development side, as well as Dom Gordon (from Gracenote) as the new chief engineer.
With this new team in place, the new business model for OnLive seems much more promising than before. Now, instead of selling gamers digital copies of games accessible only through the OnLive network, the new OnLive has partnered with Steam, allowing gamers to also stream PC games that they already own for just $14.99 a month.
“What we’re doing is giving you a way to play your cloud-saved games across more platforms. Say you have Steam. You have a library of Steam games that support the Steam cloud. You’ve already bought the game, so the publisher is happy. You’re happy. You can play it on your local machine, but now, when you go travelling you can play it on your Mac, or your laptop or your Android device. The same save, anywhere in the world. Then when you hit save on OnLive, we sync it back up so when you get home that game is ready for you.” – Bruce Grove, General Manager.
This is known as OnLive‘s new CloudLift subscription service. The new CloudLift subscription service will attempt to merge the convenience of cloud gaming with digitally downloaded games. OnLive will link to select titles in a player’s library and save all data, allowing the gamer to access the saved data and resume where he/she left off on any mobile device or PC!
“The new strategy is providing complimentary services” – Mark Jung, OnLive executive chairman [The Wall Street Journal]
Along with the $14.99 subscription plan, OnLive will offer a Netflix-esque feature for $9.99 a month, as well as OnLive Go, giving gamers access to MMOs instantly. The OnLive service works with all devices including their own microconsole, Windows, Mac, and Android, but iOS is still in the works.