OnLive reboots itself; will now stream games people already own on Steam

OnLive was once the toast of the game industry. The company first revealed itself in 2009 as a way for gamers to stream titles from a cloud server to most PCs and televisions for a monthly fee. OnLive promoted itself as the future of gaming, with promises of people no longer needing to own discs or download large files to a hard drive in order to play the latest games.

OnLive officially launched in 2010 but the reviews were mixed. Yes, the service worked but the visuals had some major compression issues. Also, people had to buy each game via OnLive in order to play it on top of its monthly fee. The company later launched a new tier of service that offered a number of games that could be played for one $9.99 monthly subscription.

However, it wasn't enough to bring in a large number of users and in August 2012 the company laid off as many as 50 percent of its employees over rumors that the service had an average of just 1,800 concurrent users, Since that time OnLive has been almost silent in terms of news, while it continued to run the streaming game service.

This week, OnLive came alive again with news of a new business model called CloudLift. While it continues to run its traditional service, CloudLift is designed to let users stream games they already own on other devices for a $14.99 monthly fee. At the moment, CloudLift only supports 20 games on Steam, but the company claims it will add many more games in the weeks and months to come. People who own those titles can sign up for CloudLift to stream them on PCs and Macs, Android tablets and selected LG smart televisions, along with the Visio C-Star set-top box.

Will this reboot work? While offering to stream games from a user's Steam library to multiple devices is welcome, Valve is already beta testing its own streaming games solution and could easily compete with CloudLift once the beta is over. One thing is for sure; streaming full games is something that will still take a long time to become a mainstream business.

Source: OnLive | Image via OnLive

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chrisj1968 said,
I think I heard a stat where the US is like 31st or 21st in the world on internet speed. hmm

You have the cable companies to thank for that

Edited by Caleo, Mar 9 2014, 10:23pm :

Agree, the #1 reason this failed is that quality high speed internet is still not available everyone. However had they launched this service in say Korea.. where the average internet connection is 1gb or better and the average PC is crap(afaik)... it would have been a hit.

Basically it was launched in the wrong market at the wrong time, but this is service of the future. Just look at what M$ is doing with the Windows Azure platform and XBOX Live. While not 100% the same, the systems match up.. rather then streaming the entire game, certain assets are offloaded to be processed in a cloud and then sent back to the users.

It wouldn't surprise me in the least bit that within the next 20 years that "consoles" no longer exist and instead people just subscribe to XBOX Live and get all their games streamed to their TV/PC.

Honestly I don't know why more companies don't offer a similar system. Ubisoft's uPlay and EA's Origin storefronts would be amazing as "Services" where you pay a montly fee and get access to ALL uPlay/Origin games for use on your PC while you subscribe.. it would make the "Always Online" DRM make SENSE and probably give them more money then selling individual titles ad-hoc.

I can see two problems with streaming games

1. Decent bandwidth on your internet
2. Not all ISP's are totally unlimited internet, as some still have capping...

That's why this idea failed the first time around.