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Trouble At OnLive

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the not-exactly-blue-skies-in-the-cloud dept.

Businesses 142

Lashat writes "News of trouble at cloud gaming provider OnLive is trickling out of various sources. According to Forbes, all employees received their walking papers today. Rumors of a shutdown, buyout, or re-formation as a new company are plentiful, but the company hasn't announced anything yet. The article quotes an email sent to InXile CEO Brain Fargo from an employee within the company: '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.' OnLive's Director of Corporate Communications told Forbes, 'No, let me be clear. We are not going out of business.'" While the question of whether OnLive-as-an-entity will continue is still up in the air, an internal source confirmed to Gamasutra that OnLive's entire staff has been laid off, and OnLive employees were seen outside headquarters with 'moving boxes.' Kotaku says the company has filed for protection against creditors in California (not bankruptcy, but similar).

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LOL (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41030687)

Yep, other than idiots pushing cloud buzzwords the rest of us knew this was bound to happen.

Re:LOL (2, Insightful)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#41031181)

I'm going to have to agree with the AC... gamers and/or anyone with any reasonable technical knowledge clearly knew this was an F-ed company from the start. The only people who seemed clueless were the investors and various naive media pundits who habitually fall for unproven CES demos...

Re:LOL (3, Insightful)

farble1670 (803356) | more than 2 years ago | (#41032207)

spoken by someone that clearly has never used the service.

i'm a subscriber and have purchased several games spanning the spectrum, including defense grid gold (a higher-end tower defense game), osmosis, some permutations of warhammer 40k, and homefront (first person shooter). all of these games were $10 for unlimited play (with the stipulation that the company needs to still be in business i guess).

i can play all of them on my mac, windows pc, and android tablet. except homefront which required keyboard control to do anything useful. they all ran pretty great as long as i was on fast broadband.

it was a pretty awesome idea. no more installing gigabytes of crap on your PC. no more compatibility problems. games that just work wherever and whatever platform you are on.

Re:LOL (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41032523)

Everyone here who is stricly opposed to cloud, gets a low post score.
Wonder how many corporate execs have slashdot accounts?

F the Cloud.
Never give a company that is pushing cloud a penny.

You might not agree with me now, but thats because the damage cloud is gonna create, hasn't truly happened yet.
Don't worry, you will agree when its too late.

To all who like the cloud. You are just as dumb as the ppl who like Apple products.
Hope u get cancer and die, before u have the ability to pass on your retarded genes.

-HasH @ www.trypnet.net

Re:LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41032981)

I can't stand the latency of OnLive. I generally play fast paced competitive shooters where anything over 50ms is too laggy. I could see it working for slow paced casual stuff, like the games you are playing, but it doesn't work for people who need the responsiveness.

Re:LOL (0)

citizenr (871508) | more than 2 years ago | (#41033195)

spoken by someone that clearly has never used the service.

i'm a subscriber and have purchased

pur_what? How are you going to play those RENTED games when they go into bankruptcy?

Re:LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41034671)

How are you going to play games from Steam if Valve ever goes bankrupt? Or how about Origin games or whatever other games you might think you own. I'm a bit surprised that onLive has yet to send me any notification that they're reorganizing. At this point, it seems like something odd is going on as if they've really fired all the employees, the customers have a right to know how long they get to use their games for.

Re:LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41034931)

How are you going to play games from Steam if Valve ever goes bankrupt? Or how about Origin games or whatever other games you might think you own.

Who said I think I own those, smartass? Indefinite rental for a single upfront price is still rental.

The difference here is that Steam is just a DRM storefront, the game is on the local drive and I can fuck with the files and my hardware all I want to mod it. OnLive gives me juicy network lag and a wonderful lack of control that makes TV look like a better choice.

Re:LOL (1)

Grieviant (1598761) | more than 2 years ago | (#41033721)

I can't agree that it was an "awesome idea". Game engine data is vastly more efficient than video data, by a factor of at least 10. Typical broadband connections, with their dodgy reliability and bandwidth caps, simply aren't up to the task of absorbing that inefficiency. You make a valid point about compatibility, but I much prefer the idea of installing the game locally and having it run smoothly at a comparatively low bit rate.

Re:LOL (2)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | more than 2 years ago | (#41033511)

Oh please.

When OnLive first came out and said they could do this there was a shitstorm of, "it's scam, this is impossible." I was one of the few that told this vocal majority sit down and wait to see what they had to offer before they go making stupid unsubstantiated claims. Once the service arrived for people to play the naysayers were wrong, it did work. Not without some technical issues, but OnLive was working hard to solve them (like wireless networks).

What OnLive did was downright bloody incredible. They really pushed the limits of internet and business to try to make this a reality. Now you didn't have to have a top of the line PC to play games at a respectable FPS, you could just use OnLive. Not only this, but they began their game library began to expand and get quite a few respectable titles, and even managed to come out with a low monthly access fee for what turned out to be a pretty extensive list of games, considering what they were doing. This was, as I had believed, an incredible solution to piracy and hardware challenges at the same time.

So why am I hearing a bunch of crap about the latency and video compression? Stuff that, in my experience, really didn't seem to affect me -- the latency was something you just kinda got used to. All I hear is a bunch of bigots unwilling to admit that this company did something innovative and did it pretty damn well.

It makes me think when car phones came out a bunch of people complained about how it couldn't work /everywhere/ and with perfect quality. Do us a favor and come down from your pompous pedestal and maybe actually see that the company accomplished quite a bit.

Re:LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41033679)

They did some impressive optimizations to remote desktop, yes. And you can get used to lag, yes, just like you can get used to walking 5 miles to your work if you can't afford a car.

Still doesn't mean it was very good and viable. Compression meant picture looked shitty and broke in artifacts on fast moving scenes, lag got in your way when action got hectic, and you'd better hope your connection is stable and good, and you should have been aware that all the games you spent your money on will just disappear when company goes belly up.

The only good thing that can come out of this is if they'd start selling their tech. Getting a full featured time limited demo in a single mouse click would be a great addition for Steam and its kin, for example.

Re:LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41033935)

just like you can get used to walking 5 miles to your work if you can't afford a car.

Some of us choose to walk to work because cars are a noisy, polluting blight. Not that we can't afford one, but we choose not to own one.

Try to open your mind.

Re:LOL (3, Interesting)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#41033713)

Once the service arrived for people to play the naysayers were wrong, it did work. Not without some technical issues, but OnLive was working hard to solve them (like wireless networks). ... in my experience, really didn't seem to affect me -- the latency was something you just kinda got used to. All I hear is a bunch of bigots

And some people are happy with VHS tapes on a 19" TV, congratulations. But the majority of the PC gaming market are not those people. They are willing to pay for the best video quality and lowest latency, so no, the technology, while impressive for what it managed to accomplish, did not accomplish what it *needed to*, which is be a replacement, not a shadow, of high end PC gaming. Casual PC games are already largely server-based with no significant hardware requirements, and thus have no need for what they built. They tried to break into the high end 3D gaming market with a product few people wanted, and it failed. As the "naysayers" and "bigots" CORRECTLY predicted.

So in the end, those people saying it wouldn't succeed were right and YOU were wrong. Have fun with all of your useless OnLive game "purchases" once they shut down.

Re:LOL (1)

irwiss (1122399) | more than 2 years ago | (#41033823)

I don't know where you live that you need "top tier PC" to play games, but where I live - I bought a cheap mid-tier PC with a mid-tier GFX card about 2 years ago and I can still play every AAA game ( if I turn down AA and AF a bit ) with much better video/sound quality and less input lag than OnLive will ever be capable of.

Also, the text doesn't smear into unreadable goo.

Not "Going out of Business," Persay... (4, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#41030717)

More like "Business going out.. of country"

Yea, I'm accusing them of ditching the American staff that grew the company into what it is today, so they can outsource the jobs to the 3rd World.
Here's hoping they prove me wrong.

Re:Not "Going out of Business," Persay... (2)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#41030763)

if they were just moving the things elsewhere, that would have been done in a different fashion.

they're out of money, out of liquidity - so instead of leaving employees hanging and telling them to come in without knowing if they'll be paid they showed them the door.

Re:Not "Going out of Business," Persay... (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#41032667)

If that's the case, then that's what they SHOULD be doing. It's illegal for a company to operate when insolvent. The directors could go to jail for that.

I wouldn't have. (2)

tlambert (566799) | more than 2 years ago | (#41034751)

if they were just moving the things elsewhere, that would have been done in a different fashion.

they're out of money, out of liquidity - so instead of leaving employees hanging and telling them to come in without knowing if they'll be paid they showed them the door.

I'd be an asshat for it, but it's pretty easy to deprive people of stock options the same way that the PGE/Enron thing played out with no discernible profit to the operating company that was left after the dust settled from which to reclaim damages. "Sorry guys, we are victims too!". I was pretty screwed that way once, but that was once too many.

You derez the current company to zero your debts then rerez as a new company that buys the old company's assets at fire sale prices to claim a tax loss on the old company holdings while transferring ownership to the new company at a new basis price.

This is pretty much "offload debt to the employees while protecting the named investors" 101.

The only place this doesn't work is real estate, and for that you have an LLC per property to keep yourself on the "I didn't sell the property, I sold the company that owns the property, so the property tax should not go up" side of things (Hi Kaiser family trust! Send me money K PLZ THX!).

Re:Not "Going out of Business," Persay... (1)

Lashat (1041424) | more than 2 years ago | (#41030769)

That would be really pathetic if they did that. I would rather see them bankrupt. Sorry, to those who have purchased games from the service.

Re:Not "Going out of Business," Persay... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41030797)

Sorry, to those who have purchased games from the service.

Why? These people were given plenty of warning that this company was never going to last. This is just what you get when you rent games.

Re:Not "Going out of Business," Persay... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41034691)

So, if something does disastrously wrong and Valve folds, it's too bad for buying rental games? Seriously, how fucked up is that.

And on a side note, I haven't received any sort of notification from onLive yet about this. I've finished playing the games I bought, but I do still have a right to a notification if they're folding.

Re:Not "Going out of Business," Persay... (2)

medv4380 (1604309) | more than 2 years ago | (#41030787)

Oh, and here I thought it was going bankrupt so that they can use their Cloud Gaming patents to become another SCO

Re:Not "Going out of Business," Persay... (1)

Lashat (1041424) | more than 2 years ago | (#41030841)

Definitely a possibility.

Re:Not "Going out of Business," Persay... (2)

wiegeabo (2575169) | more than 2 years ago | (#41030789)

If they're doing that, so what?

Sounds like the company was about ready to go out of business anyway. So those jobs were gone no matter what.

If moving to another country keeps them in business, then so be it.

Re:Not "Going out of Business," Persay... (0)

Lashat (1041424) | more than 2 years ago | (#41030827)

It's just a major F.U. to the employee ranks and most of the management who had been working there until today.

Re:Not "Going out of Business," Persay... (3, Insightful)

wiegeabo (2575169) | more than 2 years ago | (#41031061)

So it's better they just fire everyone and go out of business?

That makes no sense.

Re:Not "Going out of Business," Persay... (3, Interesting)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 2 years ago | (#41031799)

I figured they're just filing bankruptcy and reopening under another name so they can erase any money owed and keep moving along.

Re:Not "Going out of Business," Persay... (1)

Nrrqshrr (1879148) | more than 2 years ago | (#41032649)

But if they move to some random on-the-other-side-of-the-world country, wouldn't that affect their latency and lag performance? And if I remember correctly, latency was the first question everyone had in mind when they started the service.

Re:Not "Going out of Business," Persay... (1)

PostPhil (739179) | more than 2 years ago | (#41033855)

The Latin phrase "per se" means "in itself" or "through itself". It's not "persay". Also, don't use it when you actually mean to say "exactly". "Per se" is used when you want to say that something is intrinsically true about an object. If you mean to say that something "isn't exactly true", then simply say that instead.

It's true (5, Informative)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 2 years ago | (#41030813)

Ex-Onlive employee here (I left a couple of years ago). I've been hearing from my OnLive friends... yup. Big big layoff. Hire these people if you see 'em, folks, they're good workers who know their stuff and have a work ethic.

The tech works, and has been fine for almost three years now; I was doing all my gaming through OnLive when I worked there, and was about 50 miles form the data center. The trouble as I see it is the same that I saw back when I left: it ceased being a technology play when it worked well enough, and turned into a business development play. They needed to:

  • sign the majority of the major publishers
  • get them to release new titles simultaneously with physical retail
  • convince the publishers to charge somewhat less than physical retail and
  • form revenue-sharing-based transit agreements and peering deals with major ISPs to keep OnLive traffic out of the bandwidth caps

Unfortunately, none of the biz dev plays were driven to success.

Tech is easy. Business is hard. CUtting deals is hardest of all.

Re:It's true (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41030869)

I'm an ex-employee, too. Weren't you the guy who used to suck my dick in the restrooms every day at about noon?

Re:It's true (4, Funny)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 2 years ago | (#41030905)

I'm an ex-employee, too. Weren't you the guy who used to suck my dick in the restrooms every day at about noon?

No, that was some troll from Slashdot.

Re:It's true (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41030937)

I'm an ex-employee, too. Weren't you the guy who used to suck my dick in the restrooms every day at about noon?

No, that was some troll from Slashdot.

From SLASHDOT?!? Ew! That's disgusting!

Re:It's true (0)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 2 years ago | (#41031005)

Tell me about it, he refused to use mouthwash or brush his tooth in-between.

Re:It's true (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41031401)

I think you gave too much detail... you've left us all wondering.. "how would he know that?"

I assume you were second in line?

Re:It's true (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41031017)

So your dad?

Still was going to have a real tough time (5, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#41031095)

They can crow all they like about tech, the fact of the matter is that latency, which will be interface latency with remote video rendering, and quality will always be problems. Onlive promised to offer "maximum quality" on any device. The idea that instead of a $2k gaming rig you could get that on a cheapie computer. Ok well that might have been cool. However instead you got a 1280x720 4:2:0 video stream that was heavily compressed. That meant low rez and a loss of fine detail. Hence really you were getting the kind of thing that a low end video card or even integrated video can offer, and of course those don't have latency and downtime issues.

When the day comes that everyone has high end internet connections, maybe it is more feasible. However when you are trying to compress to a 1 mbps stream, quality won't be so impressive compared to cheap systems and that makes it a hard sell.

Re:Still was going to have a real tough time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41031353)

Latency really isn't an issue with single player games, however it's possible multiplayer gaming may not work as well (I didn't try multi when testing it). Low end/integrated gpus can't play modern games, so I would compare the quality to current gen (ps3/360) console graphics. It's no good for PC gamers, but for those on consoles it might even be a step up. I think it fills a niche somewhere but the industry is too concerned with preserving the current model to fully support it.

Re:Still was going to have a real tough time (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 2 years ago | (#41033641)

Latency really is an issue in single player games. It's only not an issue in turn based games. FPS, racing games, platformers all highly susceptible to latency.

Re:Still was going to have a real tough time (5, Informative)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 2 years ago | (#41031403)

Where do I begin...

With OnLive, you could play Crysis at 30fps on medium settings at 720p on a Celeron-equipped netbook with an Intel GMA950. So no, you were not getting the kind of thing integrated video can offer.

Latency depends entirely upon the quality of the network link between you and the data center. OnLive was not intended for people in Yellowknife or Cheyenne or the Azores; it was for people in densely-populated well-wired urban areas in which they had data centers. That's a lot of people, but no, it's not everyone, nor is there any sort of requirement that it be for everyone. Part of the setup was a latency/bandwidth test that you were supposed to run before you signed up. And if your ISP oversubscribed your last-mile connection to the point where you couldn't use it between 7pm and 10pm... yeah, that's a problem, but it's not universal, and it's not anything OnLive could do anything about, any more than Ford is responsible for whether on not your street has potholes. I suggest beating your ISP over the head with a lead pipe in such cases.

Yes, there's a loss of single-pixel detail. It's not perfect, and there is no requirement that it be so (any more that there is a requirement that lossy audio be forbidden for sale). Expectations must be reasonable (as must expectation-setting).

OnLive's video was tuned for 4 to 6 mbps with less than 30ms of latency, with low packet loss (less than 1%). Under such circumstances, it did well. When network conditions deteriorated, it had some automatic fallbacks to keep the framerate above 30fps for as long as possible; it would remain at least usable down to 2.5mbps/5% loss, though it wasn't pretty under those conditions. It was far, far more than glorified RDP and VNC (it wasn't a video memory buffer; the hardware captured and processed the digital video stream from a DVI interface and the digital audio stream as taken from SPDIF outputs, and injected control with a virtual USB HID). It was good tech. Low latency was achieved by essentially running unbuffered and a couple of other things that I'm not sure whether I could talk about yet.

But as I mentioned earlier, the real failure was the inability to make the deals with third parties that would turn that tech into something worth paying for.

Re:Still was going to have a real tough time (2)

locopuyo (1433631) | more than 2 years ago | (#41031945)

But the image quality is still bad because it is compressed.
I don't know about you but I can't stand playing a game with input lag. Those old LCDs with 16 ms response time make games unplayable for me. OnLive's latency is much worse than that.
If you're playing some casual facebook game you probably don't care about input latency, but playing any serious game with fancy graphics having a latency like that is a deal breaker for most people. Especially for multiplayer games.
But if you want to play against me with an input lag along with the regular network lag you get from multiplayer games be my guest.

Re:Still was going to have a real tough time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41032407)

You're talking theory, he's talking reality. Try asking questions instead of arguing.

Re:Still was going to have a real tough time (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 2 years ago | (#41033647)

No, reality is that it was widely reported to be muddy and blurry. That's reality.

Re:Still was going to have a real tough time (1)

Onymous Coward (97719) | more than 2 years ago | (#41033963)

Have you used it?

I played Metro 2033 and Borderlands (Game Of The Year Edition) on it. Worked just fine. Great games, both.

Re:Still was going to have a real tough time (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 2 years ago | (#41034039)

No, it's completely unavailable in my area. However, the countless articles written about it are enough. The fact that so many unconnected people and publications would report it as such vs a handful of anonymous voices that always seem to pop up to defend it via message boards and blog posts helps us determine the reality.
A google search shows countless people who have used it and all complaining about the video quality. With the reporting and public opinion being heavily against you, one can only wonder what it is that helped you form you opinion.
This is a screen cap one reviewer made of it running full screen on his machine:
http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/4/2011/11/08e019fb8f953a30370f6a1fa24bc8fb.jpg [gawkerassets.com]

Yeah.. just fine.

Re:Still was going to have a real tough time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41034327)

I see that the crowd is divided between those who played which say its good and those who didn't use it and say it's bad judging on reviews and hearsay

I've tried with saints row III and it was pretty good. Lag sometimes got me when sniping, but there is no reason to consider that 50ms lag unplayable when shooting full auto

Re:Still was going to have a real tough time (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 2 years ago | (#41035147)

So you've never played it but because journalists say it's crap you decide it's crap. I have used it and had no problems with the video quality. I think what helped him form an opinion is because he's actually used the service and isn't just talking shite on Slashdot. Batman Arkham City is as playable as it is on the PS3 for example and I can play it on every device I own.

Re:Still was going to have a real tough time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41034743)

You are of course aware that MS took steps to hide the input lag from people playing Halo, right. And other developers do it as well. Basically they use some server side cheats to adjust for the fact that the buttons aren't being registered as firing at the same time as it's actually executed by adjusting the point where the gun is aiming. The effect looks like the trigger is being pulled at the right time to hit the spot even though the server made adjustments to make things work out nicely.

I'm also going to have to call bullshit on you and your 16ms response time. So, you find games to be completely unplayable if the FPS on the monitor drops below 62.5hz? Really? More likely, you pulled the number out of your ass as games are easily playable for nearly everybody between 25 and 30 FPS. As a minimum rate that's perfectly fine for pretty much everybody.

As for the complaints about the lag, the fact of the matter is that everybody is on more or less an even playing field during MP games. Chances are good that people in a given region have the same ISP and as such a similar latency. Places like Seattle only have ISPs with high latency which was ultimately a challenge that onLive can't solve. As long as ISPs suck services like this are going to struggle.

Re:Still was going to have a real tough time (1)

Swistak (899225) | more than 2 years ago | (#41032209)

When I was reading this post I remembered a joke from Big Bang Theory, something along the lines of "I have perfect solution but It only works for square chickens in the vacum". If you are one of these "people in densely-populated well-wired urban areas in which they had data centers. " You usually also have awesome gaming rig, or at least playable one. 1% of population that could actually use you product, didn't really need it. Those who would like to use it - couldnt, and you're suprised you've failed?

Re:Still was going to have a real tough time (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41032451)

For calling decades old scientist's joke [wikipedia.org] "a joke from Big Bang Theory", you must immediately a) hand in your geek badge, and b) give up your 6 digit UID.

Failure to comply will be met with begrudging acceptance with prejudice.

Re:Still was going to have a real tough time (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#41034895)

Spherical chickens in a vacuum. Take the nerd card out of your wallet and hand it in at the front desk.

Re:Still was going to have a real tough time (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41032877)

What onlive gives you can't fairly be called 720p, it is compressed all to hell. No gamer would find what they deliver an acceptable replacement for what even low end graphics cards deliver for 720p.

Re:Still was going to have a real tough time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41033885)

You can argue the latency all you want, but cold hard fact of current technology blows their claims out of the water.

They claim the performance and quality of a high end gaming rig, the quality is doable if you allow for compression artifacts, but they don't stand a chance in hell of reaching the performance. On even a low end gaming rig, the latency on your mouse, keyboard, and any other controller devices is between 120Hz and 1000Hz (depends on USB version and the lowest common denominator). That's 8.1/3ms of latency for the worst case, but 200Hz for USB devices is much more common, so 5ms of latency to meet the common. Modern gaming computers come with at least 1 USB port separated from the rest on it's own host controller, that port is there for the sole purpose of plugging in an ultra-low latency device like a gaming mouse, so that it won't be limited to the lowest common denominator.

It would take cooperation the likes of which we'll never see from ISPs to reach the kinds of latencies required to match a low end gaming rig, serious technological advancement and new infrastructure to reach the high end gaming rig performance.

It may seem silly to argument gaming mice and keyboards when OnLive is a service that opens up high end gaming to people that won't buy a gaming computer. But you have to consider that if someone tries a high end game and enjoys it but finds their cheap office keyboard and mouse limiting, they will have the extra money to afford high end peripherals having not spent it on a gaming rig.

Re:Still was going to have a real tough time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41034769)

Back when I was using the service, I regularly hit the point of full graphic quality and it was stunning. But thanks to Qwest being over sold there were large parts of the day where I couldn't. But, when I would load it up during offpeak times it would generally meet or beat my gaming rig.

But, yes, this is apparently another business killed by crony capitalism and ISPs that don't feel the need to compete.

Re:Still was going to have a real tough time (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#41035259)

The basic fundamental problem is that ISPs do oversell their connections as SOP and people want to play games at prime time and therefore the product is useless to the majority of even the intended customers, let alone the customers further out into the boondocks. You may have had good results 50 miles from the server but that's not really much of an endorsement.

Great that users with pathetic computers can play games if they happen to have an ideal network connection, but that's just not that huge a market.

Maybe when more of us have network connections that are multiples of the required speed there will be some point. Then it will work even at prime time which is a basic requirement.

Re:Still was going to have a real tough time (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#41032169)

"When the day comes that everyone has high end internet connections, maybe it is more feasible."

yea, we said the same thing back in dialup days, guess what happened? The games got more complex, and the internet doesn't improve nearly as quick

Re:It's true (2)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#41031497)

And tech (as in physical hardware) doesn't exist without a viable business behind it.

The problem is quite simple - you have to buy computers capable of running the game, buy the game, buy the techs to support that all, buy the datacenter space and bandwidth to keep up, buy other things to capture the image and compress the streams, etc. and then sell it to the user for less than the cost of the game itself.

It doesn't work. And, that aside, it was nothing more than video-streaming of a moving image, something that we've had sorted for about 10 years now, and sending inputs to remote programs. It was basically "VNC with knobs on", optimised for games and nothing fabulous. The problem is not the tech, it's the business not existing behind it.

Some things work in the cloud because you can make savings, consolidate hardware, use one user's downtime to run another's uptime, etc. But with games, there's just too much required.

I used it. Once. They were offering free full-plays of WH40K: Space Marine. I got an account, got the game. Admittedly, it was a relief not to have to install much and to just connect straight to the game. But once inside, to me, it was an inferior window onto the game. Good enough to see what it was like, but only good enough to actually BUY the game elsewhere.

And I can't *imagine* the expense that my hour-or-so playthrough actually required to deploy that quickly and hand me a working copy of the game on a remote server with 1Mbps+ streaming of the video image.

There never was a problem with the tech once broadband became popular. There was *ALWAYS* going to be a problem with the business model, back-end hardware required, and aiming it at gamers. And, to be honest, even a techie should have seen that coming.

It's literally back-of-the-napkin maths that would have stopped me ever working for them. But hell, as a consumer, I took advantage of a free run-through of a (then) full-price game and then ended up buying it off Steam (which was the same price as OnLive "lifetime" subscription which only actually lasted three years).

OnLive's business model required people to own a computer in order to play games on a remote computer. The problem is, at the quality level that they could play them, most people already had a computer capable of playing them because of the LUDICROUS specs on even basic hardware now and OnLive was just an unnecessary level of indirection.

Re:It's true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41031501)

One of the major problems with OnLive is that it is an American company selling a bandwidth-dependent service, who's main market is the US, with one of the worst bandwidth of all countries in the developed world.

OnLive has been working perfectly in the UK and even the Europe for a long time, because the Internet infrastructure is much, much better.

Re:It's true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41032125)

why would I consider hiring one? They werent smart enough to figure out that working for a company no one has heard of, working on a dream no one wants, and has failed every single time, was a bad idea ... why the fuck would I want them?

They obviously were not producing quality work of note, so what were they doing? acting like a frat boy internet startup with their heads up their asses?

Good riddance (3, Insightful)

WaffleMonster (969671) | more than 2 years ago | (#41030951)

I never understood the appeal given many games must really suck to play with all the control latency and video buffering.

How much more can a used xbox/titles really cost over time vs subscription cost of onlive service?

No secret I've always had a negative opinion mostly due to the egregious waste of bandwidth and resources but also for failing to see the market value.

My bet at the time they would be done in three months and they lasted quite a bit longer so excellent job on execution.

Re:Good riddance (1)

firex726 (1188453) | more than 2 years ago | (#41031023)

While never using it myself, the reviews I saw did not make it seem that bad.

Maybe for twitch-tastic fighting games, you'd have an issue but you could easily play any RPG, FPS, or similar game without issue.

Re:Good riddance (3, Informative)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 2 years ago | (#41031105)

I tried it out. Latency wasn't great, but was tolerable. Major problem was image quality; no matter how fast a connection you threw at it, the bitrate never scaled high enough for good quality under high motion.

Re:Good riddance (3, Insightful)

Onymous Coward (97719) | more than 2 years ago | (#41033981)

Jesus H. Christ, people! What's so insightful about "I don't get it because I imagine it would suck" when there's a freakin' free trial available?

Go play the free games and decide for yourself just how good the technology is.

It's not hard and then you can stop talking out your ass.

The customers have spoken (3, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#41030985)

We still don't want computing to be a rentable service.

Re:The customers have spoken (2)

fm6 (162816) | more than 2 years ago | (#41031067)

What, you're under the impression that OnLive is a typical public cloud service? They rent virtual desktops, and there doesn't seem to be much demand for that.

More typical are services like Windows Azure and AWS, which concentrate on backend services. Those are very healthy indeed.

WOW, people are still renting gaming (0)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#41031097)

Millions of World of Warcraft players disagree with you, and EverQuest players before them.

Re:WOW, people are still renting gaming (3, Informative)

scot4875 (542869) | more than 2 years ago | (#41031341)

GP said computing, not gaming. WoW and EQ players don't rent the computers that run their game clients.

--Jeremy

OnLive vs. OnLive Desktop (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#41032475)

GP said computing, not gaming.

The article is about OnLive. OnLive began as a gaming service, and the content of the front page of www.onlive.com still mentions games, not OnLive Desktop.

WoW and EQ players don't rent the computers that run their game clients.

They do rent the computers that run their game servers. This raises the philosophical question of where the game actually is.

Re:The customers have spoken (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41031115)

Nope, a rentable game service would be great, however it needs rental-style pricing. Something like Netflix's "all you can eat" model.

Onlive tried to get you to *buy* cloud-hosted games at only a slight discount. Let's face it, 90% of video games are completely disposable, and this still could be a huge opportunity.

Re:The customers have spoken (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41031697)

Um, they do offer reasonably priced rentals for three or five days, which is plenty of time for a lot of single player games. Better than throwing money at GameStop's used game schemes.

Re:The customers have spoken (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41032171)

Better than throwing money at GameStop's used game schemes.

Is it? At least in that case I actually own the game...

Re:The customers have spoken (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#41033029)

You could rent a game for a short period for a very low price. you could perma-rent the game for a less low price. They also had a "play anything for fixed monthly price." deal. Finally, their trial deal was that you could play something like an hour of something like any forty things for free, and I think there was even a way to regenerate trial hours.

Tell me about GameStop's free trial period on used games...

Did 'The Cloud' finally burst? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#41031133)

Are we starting to see reality run into the cloud hype, or is this just ordinary everyday business failure?

OuLive-OnBox-SteamYa (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41031169)

My money is that Valve or someone with real business ability will absorb the tech and re-bundle it in new ways to serve advertisements on a premium paid service.

A shame for Ouya if not kept alive (2)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 2 years ago | (#41031179)

Seems a shame for the Ouya platform if their 'deal' with Onlive isn't kept alive after the restructuring/relaunching/whatever they're doing over there.

Ouya simply doesn't have the hardware to run e.g. battlefield. However, it has the hardware just fine to run an Onlive client, meaning even the 'hard core' gamers (if they can deal with the bit of latency) could get their fill.

It's unfortunate that it appears not enough publishers were willing to go with Onlive - although I suspect that's a combination of income from game sales themselves and pressure from certain hardware companies that like seeing their logo slapped on triple-A titles.

Hopefully they can reorganize, rethink their business strategy, and get to a successful formula.

On the other hand.. outside of the Ouya.. take a budget graphics card, drop it into a computer from 2 years ago, and you'll still be gaming along with the guy next door with a $4k setup - just slightly less flashy. Add to that data use limits likely to make their comeback (many ISPs in the U.S. already do, iirc), and perhaps it's just not as attractive as it was when they first launched.

Re:A shame for Ouya if not kept alive (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41031233)

even the 'hard core' gamers (if they can deal with the bit of latency) could get their fill.

No "hardcore" gamer is going to accept heavily compressed and blurry chroma subsampled video streams. Even a low quality video card gives better quality output.

Re:A shame for Ouya if not kept alive (1)

WilyCoder (736280) | more than 2 years ago | (#41031393)

We only accept luminance-subsampled images, you insensitive clod!

Re:A shame for Ouya if not kept alive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41032375)

Missing the point. The subsampled YUV video is noticeably blurrier and masks fine details than the RGB output you get when playing it locally.

Re:A shame for Ouya if not kept alive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41034117)

A "hardcore" gamer does not care about eye candy newb. It is all about performance IMHO.

Good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41031185)

There's already enough DRM in video games. OnLive is the epitome of a locked-down DRM clusterfuck. I for one will be raising my glass in praise of their demise.

Im Glad (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41031273)

Cloud is evil, and only a few things make me happier than seeing a cloud provider in turmoil.
I just hope that they disappear completely.
F the employees, they support evil.
SaaS (software as a service) must die, and hopefully, painfully.

-HasH @ www.trypnet.net

Re:Im Glad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41031421)

You're shilling FOR cloud services by making its critics look like morons. The only question is whether you're doing it on purpose.

Re:Im Glad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41032483)

How am I looking like a moron.
Can you point out one thing i said that is moronic?

I said I'm happy that cloud is suffering.
That I think cloud/SaaS is evil and that the employees service that evil by working for it.
That I want cloud computing to die a horrible death.

I think all the ppl who do not say what I am saying, are morons.
Brainwashed by an industry that is looking to take computing out of the hands of the common man.
You sir are the moron.

-HasH @ www.trypnet.net

Brain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41031451)

When did Brian Fargo change his first name? Doesn't he realize that this will make a prime target during the zombie apocalypse?

Total lack of leadership - Insert Dilbert Jokes (1)

mgideon (2710369) | more than 2 years ago | (#41031465)

This won't be the case if the people at the top had learned the proper use of leadership. So many companies promise so much, but forget on how to do business in the first place. You can make great things, but do not know how to sell it and cater to the market - then no one would ever care. Only if the CEO read Robin Sharma's leadership book, and Ranak Jones's Rogue's Guide to Acquisition book on how to sell. Oh well, You had a short live OnLive. RIP

That's what I don't like about Corporatism (3, Insightful)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 2 years ago | (#41031727)

the entire company's about to be gutted but that leadership will come out smelling of roses. How many times have we watch a company collapse and reform as a legal entity with no debt? I wish I (with my large looming debts from years of paycuts) could do that... back to the grind stone, except I don't really have a nose left to grind after 30 years of this $@!T

Gaikai (1)

BaverBud (610218) | more than 2 years ago | (#41031575)

So what does this mean for similar companies like Gaikai, that appear to have more mainstream titles and higher quality? Opportunity, or impending doom?

Was just a way to remove employee equity? (5, Interesting)

Graemee (524726) | more than 2 years ago | (#41032105)

It been reported that this move to fire the staff was just a way to remove the employee equity in the company, thus making the owners more of a share of the sale price. Steve Perlman may be a giant Scrooge. http://techcrunch.com/2012/08/17/source-onlive-found-a-buyer-cleaned-house-to-reduce-liability-prior-to-acquisition/ [techcrunch.com]

that is why we need unions in TECH (5, Funny)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#41032143)

that is why we need unions in TECH so employee don't get f* over.

Re:that is why we need unions in TECH (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41033021)

Right, so that the investors get screwed instead. Why would someone invest in a company (say, GM) when the company's just going to be handed over to a labor union, stripping the stock from the people who invested and allowed it to exist in the first place?

Re:that is why we need unions in TECH (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41033945)

I normally never post comments like this, but I had to make an exception.

You're a moron.

Re:that is why we need unions in TECH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41034149)

Right, so that the investors get screwed instead.

The investors will always be screwed. Perhaps you missed the part of this story where OnLive is seeking protection from them.

Re:that is why we need unions in TECH (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | more than 2 years ago | (#41035027)

In the case of a startup with stock options, the employees ARE investors.

Mod parent up (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#41033121)

Mod parent up. That appears to be exactly what happened.

Expect employee lawsuits over this.

Re:Was just a way to remove employee equity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41033933)

Firing all of the people who develop your software, as a way to remove the equity?

Well, what could possibly go wrong doing that...

Re:Was just a way to remove employee equity? (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | more than 2 years ago | (#41035059)

It seems to me that the key factor here will be whether this was a true arm's-length transaction or not. Were the OnLive assets sold at a fair market price because the company in its existing form just wasn't profitable? In that case, the equity probably was worthless, and it was reasonable to try to salvage something from the wreckage. Or were the assets sold at a knock-down price to a company controlled by the existing management, or people closely associated with management? If that's the case, then the courts would probably rule that it was a sham transaction entered into for fraudulent purposes, and the employees should be able to get compensation for their lost stock options. How much money Steve Perlman walks away with will be a big clue in determining which is which. Is he taking the same equity hit as his employees, or is he pulling in lots of cash? If the latter, it definitely looks fishy.

What a douchey email (1)

porges (58715) | more than 2 years ago | (#41032589)

"I wanted to send a note that...." should be followed by something like "...the refrigerators will be cleaned over the weekend", not "...you're all fired."

pressing charges? (1)

Gravis Zero (934156) | more than 2 years ago | (#41032757)

I wanted to send a note that by the end of the day today, OnLive as an entity will no longer exist.

but corporations are people too! if you cause them to stop existing then that is MURDER!

At interview time. I heard the following.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41034697)

So they run a Hadoop Cluster with 2 datacenters,etc,etc...

However ALL of the I.T. staff during my interview repeatedly said "I am not a gamer"... Indicating they have no real intention or feel for catering to their core demographic.

I had even registered a account for the free X hours trail I noticed they had several bots "liking" your "playstyle" and more over any so called "Multi-player" games would instance a server for only yourself.

The only explanation I can see for the walking papers is an acquisition is going to occur. They have one of the Netscape guru's architect the multi-render cloud protocol and possibly are going to go for a dissolution and sell that single patent.

The only company I can see MAYBE pulling this type of service off is either Amazon or Microsoft via their cloud infrastructure. Possibly even Google however I won't want the Wonka Factory spamming ads overlaying my gameplay.

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