ImaJAN Media Network
MeltedJoystick Home
   Games  Members
Search +
Searching... Close  
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
  Login Using Facebook

The Life and Death of OnLive

View Nelson Schneider's Profile

By Nelson Schneider - 08/19/12 at 03:14 PM CT

OnLive, the video-of-a-videogame streaming service that launched in 2010 died this week. I can’t say I will mourn the loss, nor do I think the entire videogame industry will even notice such an insignificant passing. Only those who think The Cloud is the universal solution for everything computer-and-data-related should have even cared about OnLive and its wacky plan to turn videogames into software-as-a-service.

When OnLive first launched, I remember breathless coverage in the gaming media about how it would revolutionize PC gaming. Gamers would no longer need to own a $2000+ gaming PC to experience “AAA” PC games. Gamers would instead be able to “purchase” licenses of these games that would dwell on OnLive’s servers. These servers would then run the games remotely, streaming a video of the on-screen action to the player via an OnLive app or OnLive “console” (really a dumb terminal) and uploading inputs from the player’s controller/mouse/keyboard. It sounds brilliant in its simplicity, doesn’t it? But OnLive’s problem was never a lack of simplicity, but a lack of perspective with regards to Internet infrastructure and the PC gamer mindset.

OnLive was a product marketed primarily toward users located in the United States. The United States has, for the better part of a decade, struggled behind other first-world nations in getting its Internet ship in shape. The United States is dominated by teleco monopolies and duopolies, price-fixing, and unconstitutional legislation preventing municipalities from creating their own Internet services where the Corporatocracy has failed to provide a compelling product. We have God-awful Internet service in most parts of this great (size-wise) nation. When Bill Clinton gave the telecos big bags of money to build Internet infrastructure, they spent a token amount on running fiber, did nothing with that fiber, and gave the rest of the cash to their CEOs. My house, which gets awesome 1.5Mbps “best effort” DSL, sits less than 100 yards from a fiber line that was built with that Clinton money. That fiber line is DARK. There is nothing running through it, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the local teleco didn’t even know this line exists.

Anecdotes aside, the United States just doesn’t have the Internet capability for the majority of the population to do something in The Cloud as intense as playing a twitch-action FPS or other action game. Lesser games might work fine as streamed data… but those lesser games also don’t require the expensive PC hardware that might drive someone to subscribe to OnLive in the first place. Sure, there are some places and some people in the United States that have spectacular Internet access… but those tech-savvy, well-monied (good Internet is not cheap) individuals are the ones more likely to enjoy the act of building and tinkering with a high-end gaming PC. Thus OnLive created a product with no real market: Those who have access to and can afford good Internet would not want or need a streaming videogame service, and those who would need a streaming videogame service don’t have access to or the means to pay for the requisite Internet connection.

With its mere 2-year lifespan, OnLive has shamefully provided some fierce competition to the Sega Dreamcast for the fastest failure of a gaming platform. Of course, the Dreamcast is remembered fondly by fans, who are still able to play functioning (or pirated, err… privateered) game discs on the original hardware. What will OnLive fans (all 1600 of them) have to show for their support of the doomed platform? Well, since their game licenses were only for games on the OnLive servers and the OnLive console doesn’t actually do anything, it looks like they have NOTHING.

OnLive: You were a failed attempt at taking games out of the hands of gamers. You were a failed attempt at turning a purchase into a service. You were blindly optimistic and ignored the real-world conditions that made (and continue to make) your ideas impossible.

OnLive is dead, long live gaming. None shall mourn OnLive’s passing, for it was for the greater good.

MeltedJoystick Gaming Blog RSS Feed

Avoid spam Captcha: Sign Up + or Log In +   

View Jonzor's Profile


Wrote on09/17/12 at 12:11 AM CT

Technically it was directed at Anonymous.

Write on Profile +

View Nelson Schneider's Profile

Nelson Schneider

Wrote on09/06/12 at 07:59 PM CT

@Jonzor: Who are you griping at, me or Anonymous?

Write on Profile +

View Nelson Schneider's Profile

Nelson Schneider

Wrote on09/03/12 at 10:15 PM CT

@Chris: The thing about Ouya is that it's still vaporware. Sure, it's vaporware sitting on top of a big pile of cash, but until I see Ouya consoles on store shelves or on Amazon, I won't be convinced to buy one.

However, I do kind of want one. It's only $100. I have spent nearly that much on crappy peripherals for my other consoles. Square Enix seems interested in making old school Final Fantasy games for smartphones, so they'll be available for Ouya as well.

If Ouya isn't stillborn, I predict it will actually make quite a splash, especially compared to the Durango and Orbis, which will probably cost LOTs of money.

Write on Profile +

View Chris's Profile


Wrote on08/27/12 at 10:13 PM CT

So, who is going to be the first to predict the success or demise of the Ouya? It did raise nearly $8.6 million on Kickstarter with a goal of $950,000, so I would say a good start - but is it enough? I know Nelson already wrote a blog on this, but I'm opening this up again - success or failure - lets take the bets now, people.

Write on Profile +

View Jonzor's Profile


Wrote on08/27/12 at 06:15 PM CT

I think we may want to resist the urge to pat yourself on the back for calling your shot on the OnLive issue.

The product flopped. There are literally millions of people out there who heard about it, and didn't buy it. I don't see all of them making sure the world hears they knew it wouldn't work.

It would be one thing to predict the demise of an established company ("The Wii U will be the end of Nintendo as a hardware company!"), or something that got really hot and then crashed like Zynga ("See, I told you not to buy that stock!"), but predicting the death of something this small, easily-missed, and experimental doesn't make a person Nostradamus.

Write on Profile +

View Matt's Profile


Wrote on08/26/12 at 03:39 PM CT

This is also an auspicious view into a potential future for anyone who buys a product or service that relies on a companies existence to function. Games, music, videos, etc. that have DRM which relies on a server will eventually be doomed and your product will no longer work.

Write on Profile +

View Nelson Schneider's Profile

Nelson Schneider

Wrote on08/26/12 at 02:58 PM CT

@ Nick: OnLive changing hands is merely a life-support move to prolong its horrible, painful death. It will not recover.

@ Anonymous: I enjoyed reading your articles. You should sign up for MeltedJoystick and help us stimulate some thoughtful discussion in the forums.

Write on Profile +

Anonymous MeltedJoystick user


Wrote on 08/25/12 at 02:07 PM CT

Its funny how, now that OnLive is dead, all of a sudden people are comign out of the woodwork to agree with what I've been saying 9and blogging) for years...

So, while I could see someone buying out the technology, buying the business team is truly a non-sensical move.

Report as Spam +

View Nick's Profile


Wrote on08/21/12 at 03:56 PM CT

sounds like OnLive simply changed hands, and is still running. This article claims customers will not be affected?

Write on Profile +

View Nick's Profile


Wrote on08/19/12 at 11:42 PM CT

So they won't give you a useable license for your games? That's cheap, they should give them a steam code!

Write on Profile +


Previous Blog Posts


All Posts

February 2024

January 2024

December 2023

November 2023

October 2023

September 2023

August 2023

July 2023

June 2023

May 2023

April 2023

March 2023

February 2023

January 2023

December 2022

November 2022

October 2022

September 2022

August 2022

July 2022

June 2022

May 2022

April 2022

March 2022

February 2022

January 2022

December 2021

November 2021

October 2021

September 2021

August 2021

July 2021

June 2021

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021

December 2020

November 2020

October 2020

September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

December 2019

November 2019

October 2019

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

December 2018

November 2018

October 2018

September 2018

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

Log In
For members wanting to use FB to login, click here
remember me

What Members Are Doing

Comments about...

New Game Reviews

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart game review by Nelson Schneider
MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries game review by Chris Kavan
Super Mario Bros. Wonder game review by Nelson Schneider
Rage 2 game review by Chris Kavan
Cthulhu Saves Christmas game review by Nick
The Alliance Alive game review by Nelson Schneider
The Legend of Zelda: Breat... game review by Nick
A Hat in Time game review by Nick

New Game Lists

Top Wii Games by Megadrive
Backlog (Multi-Player) by Nelson Schneider
My Backlog by Chris Kavan
Games I Own: Switch Digital by dbarry_22
Top Nintendo (NES) Games by Nick
Backlog by Matt
Top Game List by SIngli6
Top Game List by Jonzor




Contact Us Public Relations MeltedJoystick Friends    

Advertise and Business

Contacts Us


About us



Support Us

FAQ and Help

News and Press

Terms of Use


Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Are you sure you want to delete this blog?