back to article Sony nabs cloud gamers OnLive, administers swift headshot

Subscribers to the OnLive cloud gaming service have just 27 days of playing time left before the corporate servers that host their fragging sessions are to be shut down by Sony, which announced that it had acquired the service on Thursday. "It is with great sadness that we must bring the OnLive Game Service to a close," the …

  1. Fibbles

    Buy up the competition then shut it down.

    For the players, my arse.

    1. Breen Whitman

      This is not the case.

      onLive had already filed for bankruptcy, and their viability was into the weeks of trading left.

      Sony merely came in and bought some assets, just like occurs with countless other business collapses.

      As a business case onLive was flawed. Input lag and image quality dogged the service which meant hardcore games rejected it. The only audience was low income games and demo-without-installation which other game services such as Steam did better.

      1. goldcd


        I played with their free demos - and it was actually quite impressive (actually playable) - but never quite understood who their market was.

        People with decent internet connections, who couldn't afford to buy a GPU?

        I vaguely thought about it as a way to play games when travelling with a shitty non-GPU work laptop, but then realized that scenario normally comes with a shitty hotel internet connection.

        Only conceivable market I saw was if you wanted to play PC games on your big TV downstairs - but that got stomped on by stuff like nVidia's gamestream.

        Gakkai's alternative - play a demo of the game immediately, seemed a bit rubbish - but at least I could see there might be an actual market for it.

        Sad to see them go, but no loss.

        1. OldCrow

          Re: Yep

          Except in Europe.

          I get 10Mbps cable as part of the house utilities in my current apartment. I get 10Mbps 3G for 13e/month with data cap in tens of Gs and then throttling.

          In my student times I got 1Gbps straight to the local backbone from the student dormitory.

          An Intel i5 costs 250e minimum (including VAT) here, to give a scale of electronics cost.

          For casual/RPG games, I could live with the lag.

      2. Dave Bell

        That's the first I had heard of a bankruptcy filing. I've been seeing OnLive suggested as a solution for games I play, though it seemed to be a tradeoff between computer power and connection quality. And I saw no mention of financial failure.

        I can see why it might not be mentioned, but right now the apparent silence leaves me sceptical about what you say. It's all a bit academic now, but if you're going to say such things, and can't give us a link to a source, are you trustworthy?

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Good question, but I bet it something like a Pi or AVR based board being storage is elsewhere (cloud). However, I do like the look of it and I'm wondering right now if I can fit my Pi in there. Cut a couple holes with a rotary tool and it would be a nice sitcky/non-sliding compartment. The controller looks O.K., but I wonder if you can use it without the doorstop.

  3. Mark 85

    Sony strikes again...

    And they really have to wonder why they're hated? Now that they have the patents and nothing using them, they can become just another patent troll which is probably the plan: No worker bees, no costs other than some lawyers. Far cheaper to the bottom line than having workers actually doing stuff.

    I find this whole corporate mindset disgusting to say the least.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sony strikes again...

      Breen Whitman posted above that this company was in bankruptcy, so if it wasn't Sony buying the patents, then it would be... BUT, I agree with you because it is the particular company named Sony. Large corporations have payed off governments to kill off the little patent trolls so they can roll all these patents into one big patent troll club (well, not yet, give it time).

      The corporate mindset is just greedy. It does suck that we live in a time where greed is king and everything else is just potential for the greedy. But, then again, even if it was different right now, companies would still fail and be bought.

      Anyways, how much longer until all patents are either laughed at enforced by gun point? This patent thing is out of control, it has lost all it's foundational reasoning. You might as well attempt a patent for a patent and be done with it all.

    2. Bill B

      Re: Sony strikes again...

      I'm sorry Mark, but did you actually read the article? Sony has its own equivalent of Onlive, but for its Playstation platform only, so it's not exactly 'patent troll ... Nothing using them'.

      Sony could have sweetened the deal for existing Onlive customers,must I suspect that they are a bit oblivious to their 'bad big Corp' reputation.

  4. x 7

    does this really matter?

    I asked my son about it and his response was "yes, seen it, tried it, its shit". Apparently totally useless gaming experience. Sony are welcome to it...

  5. Stuart Moore

    And they wonder why there's a hard push back to any game experience that requires servers to work...

  6. Crazy Operations Guy

    "demonstrates our commitment to changing the way gamers experience the world of PlayStation."

    Changing from a fun experience to being propped up over a barrel...

    1. Teiwaz

      Re: "demonstrates our commitment to changing the way gamers experience the world of PlayStation."

      > "Changing from a fun experience to being propped up over a barrel..."

      Some good games out there involving barrels...

      Donkey Kong, erm, ah, no.

      I can Definitely think of non electronic games involving barrels, but most of them you can't do in public without ending up in court or dead, or both.

      1. Richard Taylor 2

        Re: "demonstrates our commitment to changing the way gamers experience the world of PlayStation."

        What's wrong with Donkey Kong?

  7. Captain DaFt

    Whee, games on the cloud!

    I bought 'em, I paid for 'em, they're mine.

    Company closes.

    I bought 'em, I paid for 'em, I got nuthin'.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Whee, games on the cloud!

      And queue the dude that states you don't own the game, but rather license it....

      You can't own shit if the shit is in a 'cloud'. Shit...? And queue the dude who wants to put your sanitation district in the 'cloud'.

      1. L05ER

        Re: Whee, games on the cloud!

        you forgot the guy who says "stop playing with semantics, you know damn well what they mean. you can't revoke a license to a physical good without possessing that object. numpties..."

      2. Pookietoo

        Re: queue the dude

        That would be "cue the dude".

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    This keeps happening with software and hardware that depends on online services and it is really starting to get on my nerves. While I don't use this, I have several "games" which are no more than digital garbage now.

    I think there needs to be some kind of legislation that states if a service that a product depends on is to be discontinued and that will stop the product from working (i.e. you cannot get into single player without connecting), it should be a legal requirement that the service should be open sourced and released to the community so that they may continue to use the product they have purchased.

    1. Hans 1

      Re: Legislation

      > (i.e. you cannot get into single player without connecting)

      BS, even if you can get into single player mode ... if the game has an online gaming feature, then all software required to maintain that feature should enter the public domain the second the company retires it. I am looking at you, EA, Battlefield 2, anyone ?

    2. Pookietoo

      Re: the service should be open sourced

      But while it may not be profitable to continue the service, there might be value in the software used to provide it, and it's not reasonable to deprive the owner of his ownership simply because he can't justify running the service.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: the service should be open sourced

        "But while it may not be profitable to continue the service, there might be value in the software used to provide it, and it's not reasonable to deprive the owner of his ownership simply because he can't justify running the service."

        But it is reasonable to deprive thousands of customers of their purchase simply because he can't justify running the service? Sorry but that is no excuse, they could release binary packages if they want to maintain control of the source. So long as the customer still has access to use the product they purchased, I see no problem with a binary release.

  9. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Seek other services instead

    "OnLive customers facing a doubling of their monthly costs – and a little butthurt from the abrupt closure of OnLive, which will wipe all their stored gaming personas and achievements – might seek other services instead."

    And I encourage anyone in this situation to seek other services instead. You've seen within the last week how Sony treats their customers.

  10. Frank N. Stein

    Another reason why I don't own any Sony hardware anymore and won't be paying for Playstation Network access.

  11. Epobirs

    I just don't see the value of Playstation Now. For a year of the service you could buy a used PS3 and a good pile of games. It will always work whether your connection is fast or slow or even out of commission.

    1. Charles 9

      Not unless the game's key component is online, which means you eater pay up or pack up.

    2. Dave Bell

      I can also use my PS3 as a Blu-Ray player, so Sony would have to do something pretty deliberate to disable it. I wonder what the legality of a killer firmware update would be? There would be possible criminal charges under the Computer Misuse Act.

      1. P. Lee

        I wonder what the legality of a killer firmware update would be?

        I imagine it would be fine if you only licensed the OS and the license could be terminated at will.

        But why bother doing that when you can bring out a new console and just terminate a required cloud service for the old one?

      2. Adam Foxton

        What, like having to choose between being able to use a linux installation on your console or having it locked down to be a dumb gaming rig, even when when sold it included both features simultaneously?

        Sony has form on this sort of thing. The sooner people stop buying Sony products the quicker they'll learn.

  12. GreggS


    The Nvidia GRID gaming system is very similar to the OnlIve one, i.e. games are streamed to its SHIELD devices. My son happily plays Batman Arkham Asylum and most of the other games available which are free at least until 30th June :-( without any lag or gameplay issues, so it can work.

  13. St3n

    Also seen that if you paid outright for a game with onlive, you'll lose it with no refunds.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oz consumer law

    I don't know about other countries, but I am fairly sure that under Australian consumer law you would be entitled to a refund of any purchased games and the hardware. Under the ACL guarantee, a product that stops working within a reasonable period of time (generally several years, but depends on type of product and cost) would be classed as a major failure. This entitles the consumer to a refund. repair or replacement (consumers choice) from the company which provided the product.

    A major failure is anything which would have prevented a 'reasonable consumer' from buying the product if they had known about it. As a reasonable consumer, I would think that shutting the service and turning the hardware into a doorstop would fall into this category.

    Failure to honour these guarantees can lead to hefty fines.

    Unfortunately, many retailers seem totally ignorant of their obligations under the ACL. If I have a problem with a product I always ensure I take a copy of this document with me to show them:


    This generally gets the required result.

  15. x 7

    you're missing a fundamental point:

    the company being purchased is bankrupt. Its unable to trade. It would soon close whatever happened, and whatever the law the customers would be left abandoned because theres no money to pay for their services.

    Sony have not bought the company. Sony have just bought some assets from the bankrupt company: the patent portfolio. As such, there is no continuation of the business, and Sony has no responsibility or liability for the customers of the bankrupt company. All it means is the bankrupt company now has a bit of cash to set against its liabilities - but the customers, being unsecured, are unlikely to see much of that. I will go to secured creditors: the taxman, banks, investment sharks.....

    Nothing unusual here - its standard practice when a company goes bang

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