Cloud-gaming company OnLive returns in a big way

Company hires former EA and Disney veterans to lead the outfit, as it announces new CloudLift streaming subscription and OnLive Go service.

Cloud-gaming company OnLive has flown under the radar since its dramatic corporate shakeup in summer 2012, but the outfit is back, and in a big way. The company announced today that it has assembled an "all-star" team--including former Electronic Arts and Disney veterans--to lead the group as it launches a new streaming subscription program CloudLift and a new service called OnLive Go.

Leading the round of new hires at OnLive is former IGN and VUDU executive Mark Jung (executive chairman), former Electronic Arts director of partner management Carrie Holder (VP of business development), former Disney Interactive VP Rick Sanchez (VP of product and marketing), and former VP of broadcast solutions at Gracenote Inc. Don Gordon (SVP of engineering).

"Not that we ever went anywhere, but we're back," Jung told GameSpot today. "There is one thing that we believe as a mantra, which is gamers come first, always. And we are so customer-oriented, we're so gamer-centric. We understand the gamers and who they are and that's the most important thing."

OnLive's main announcement today, however, was CloudLift, the latest addition to its OnLive Game Service. A subscription-based offering ($15/month with free 7-day trial), CloudLift works by linking a player's game library with their OnLive account to sync cloud saves automatically through the cloud. This means that when the functionality goes live (should be today), you'll be able to begin a game on your PC and then sign into OnLive from any other device and pick up right where you left off.

The CloudLift subscription works with "supported games" purchased from any download retailer (including juggernaut Steam) and fully supports multiplayer gaming, the company said. In short, through CloudLift you'll get access to streaming versions of games you already downloaded. What's more, OnLive will also sell Steam download game codes that include a 7-day free trial of CloudLift. This makes OnLive the only digital retailer that offers cloud play as part of a game purchase, the company said.

"We've listened to our players. They want the convenience of instant access to their games wherever they are, but they also want to own the game and be able to play it locally on their home PC," Jung said in a statement. "With this new offering, we’re continuing to expand on the compatibility, freedom and instant access our users enjoy, with the added flexibility of owning a local copy of their games."

OnLive says CloudLift is a "win" for publishers and developers alike, as it complements their own digital distribution channels. At launch, CloudLift will support new games like Batman: Arkham Origins, The Lego Movie Videogame, and Saints Row IV. More will be added in the future.

The company will continue to offer its PlayPack subscription ($10/month), which allows members unlimited play for more than 250 games.

OnLive's third announcement today is for its new OnLive Go business line, which the company says brings the benefits of cloud gaming to MMOs and virtual world experiences. The first app to showcase OnLive Go is a mobile viewer for Linden Lab's Second Life called SL Go. OnLive has also partnered with War Thunder developer Gaijin Entertainment for a new OnLive Go app, though this was not detailed at all.

Finally, OnLive said it has invested in "significant technology upgrades" in the past year, including the addition of "thousands" of new servers that use the "latest available technology." OnLive has also opened data centers in Chicago and Seattle, and beefed up its existing centers in Virginia, San Francisco, Dallas, and Luxembourg.

OnLive works by streaming games from its data centers in the cloud to a range of devices, including PC, Mac, many Android tablets and smartphones, and through your high-definition TV if you own the $99 OnLive Gaming System. You can also buy a $50 wireless OnLive controller to play on your PC or Mac.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

112 comments
Thunderbear24
Thunderbear24

Come and join Onlive so that you can play thier very small selection of games. I looked through the 250 game offer, and there was only one big title there that I would play. It was Civ 5, {but without any of their expansion packs which were released ages ago}


With Onlive you can't play all the big titles such as,

Call of Duty {all of them}

Battlefiled {all of them}

Civilization apart from the 5th, {without expansion packs}

GTA games

Far Cry titles

Crysis

Titanfall

Dead Space

Tomb Raider {new one, not old}

Resident Evil

Fifa

Pro Evolution Soccer

Xcom Enemy Unknown, {which one game of the year}


These are most of the big titles that I can think of for now, but I'm sure there's lots more, did I miss any? With Onlive, you can only play smaller titles, but very little few of them too. There are some bigish titles out there such as F1 2013, and The Witcher 2 for example, but barely.


These are the games that make lots of money. Call of Duty alone makes more money then a Hollywood blockbuster. Onlive don't have Call of Duty, and will most likely never do. If they did, I would want to own the game myself, not play it on Cloud. 

Onlive say that they offer downloads and key codes now, but why should we buy? Seems to me that if they become more popular, all games could then turn to Cloud which I think willl happen because Cloud Gaming is what their mainly trying to accomplish here, REMEMBER THAT ! The offer of keycodes is to gain popularity because Cloud Gaming is failing.

neonakaa
neonakaa

If I had a fast, unlimited broadband and a subscription to Onlive, I would use it.

ArchoNils2
ArchoNils2

How does anyone proofe he owns the game? Can you link it to Steam, GoG, Origin and so on? I'll still prefer to play on my gaming rig, but it could be interessting for mobiles

crushbrain
crushbrain

Look. This is not going anywhere until they come out with the most awesome technologically advanced piece of software anyone has ever seen. The problem with a service like this is that it offers no real value beyond its novelty. The only way I am going to pay for something like this is if they use the "power of the cloud" to deliver a game I can't get on consoles OR PC's because the computing power wont allow it. That IS the point right? To deliver something only the cloud can offer?  Otherwise, it is just another alternative to my console/pc, oh yeah, except my console/pc is better in everyway. In other words, until they come out with a game that makes our eyeballs explode, their business is going nowhere.

Kayweg
Kayweg

I know, zombies are (or at least were until recently) all the rage.

But perhaps some things just should stay buried....

rawkstar007
rawkstar007

The world just isn't ready for this yet. The streaming is inconsistent, the resolution is okay at best, and the library support is not impressive. 

This can have potential in 4-5 years, me thinks.

NTM23
NTM23

I just downloaded it again about 30 minutes ago. I played Arkham City for a little while. Still looked like a high resolution YouTube video, not sure if that'll get fixed, but it was nice how it ran faster on occasion compared to the 360 versions 30fps. I also had a problem trying to get out of the chair at the beginning of the game. I think it's due to the fact my brother was uploading a video from PS4 to Facebook. It ran jittery then.

NTM23
NTM23

Boy, I haven't had that on my computer for a long time now. Perhaps it'll turn around in some way, making me want to install it again. I'm not a fan of current streaming services when it comes to games. On one hand, it's interesting, but then again, it practically at times looking like you're playing a YouTube video is kind of crappy. I also hate monthly fee's. Yearly subscription's better if anything. Everyone remember when they had Crysis going for it?

jurk182
jurk182

Being "super serious journalists", I don't have to tell you that when you quote a bunch of single statements in a paragraph, it looks like you're being sarcastic and/or hyperbolic. You should quote the entire message, or don't quote it at all. 

1wikkid1
1wikkid1

This is obviously the future of gaming, no argument there. But it's much too raw at this point to really make an impact IMO. The necessary tech isn't yet where it needs to be in order for this service to really be feasible. I mean look at it! It's ugly as heck! 

Today the hardware to play games in quality better than what they (onlive) offer isn't expensive, especially when you consider that this costs $15 a month for essentially cloudbased savegame storage... everything else they offer is subpar ATM.

hystavito
hystavito

Hmm, CloudLift is actually pretty interesting, bridges the gap between local and remotely streamed games.

firetraq
firetraq

Its not their tech we really care about, its the fact they have hardly any worthy games to play. So what does it matter.

Kr3isen
Kr3isen

Im sure this kind of streaming will be a thing..........20 years from now when half the earths population has some kind of futuristic fiber or whatever.

DAOWAce
DAOWAce

So.. why would I want to use OnLive to play Steam games if Steam games support Steam cloud?


I guess I'll never see the point of online streaming services unless I actually travel and have low-powered/cheap devices.


Now if it let me play console exclusives on my PC (sans emulation, aka 360/PS3+), then that's something I'd sign up for immediately.

markg1150
markg1150

I have a rubbish pc and laptop that struggles with the graphics for solitaire but iv got a kick ass broadband . I wanted to play civ 5 without wasting wasting time and money on another pc that will hardly get used . So I use onlive. Problem solved. So it does have a purpose. And it's not complete sh*t. , but can't can't think of any thing else to do with it as there is just enough lag to be annoying for anything but slower paced games

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

I've tried it. It sucks so bad. I'd rather play a game locally on low settings than use Streaming. Fucking screen artefacts all over the place, low resolution. Terrible.

If Playstation Now is anything like OnLive it needs to be killed with fire.

godfather830
godfather830

$15 to play an inferior version of a handful of games I already paid for?

Please, OnLive, just die.

Jinzo_111887
Jinzo_111887

I wouldn't even use this if it were to let me play Playstation 3/4 games on my PC or Wii U. Sorry, but if I have learned anything during the last 8 years, it's that cloud services are not reliable. Here are a few examples of problems:


Content getting pulled from servers.

Data caps from ISPs.

Lag.

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

I really loved the idea of the service and everything about it and really wish it did better. The only problem is that being into computers I always had a great gaming rig so I didn't need the service and it didn't offer me much personally. Really wish I could have done more with the service but it unfortunately just wasn't for me.

demondogx
demondogx

I already dislike how i dont really own my games as a steam user, i really am not in the idae of loosing acces to a game and my progress if the contract to a developer and onlive would end, or if onlive would go bankrupt

WingChopMasta
WingChopMasta

Ha Onlive. If you want subpar resolution and being stuck to having pretty much all of your gaming required to be online get an Xbox One.

PETERAKO
PETERAKO

I can't really stress enough how much of a hoax cloud is. Essentially it exists since the dawn of the internet. There are even services that get renamed to cloud that precede the idea of the cloud.


ITS JUST FOR BRANDING


Using the so called cloud, you don't do anything particulary cool or innovative.

cosmo_swag
cosmo_swag

@ArchoNils2  Why would you want onlive if you already have a gaming rig? The whole point is that you don't need a nice computer for it. You can play arkham asylum on high settings, 1080p, on a $400 toshiba shit laptop. To me, that's pretty impressive.

cosmo_swag
cosmo_swag

@crushbrain No. The point is you can play even games with high technological requirements without buying a console or gaming PC altogether. I thought it was awesome that I could play borderlands with friends on even the shittiest 10 year old dell laptop i have with only slight lag on some occasions. If you already have a gaming rig or a console, onlive is not for you.

The only exception for that is if you like to play games somewhere other than at your house, and you don't want to buy a gaming laptop. Just a regular laptop, or even a netbook works just as well, for way cheaper than a $1000 MSI or twice that for an alienware. In that case, even if you do have a gaming rig at home, onlive is a good option for playing games on the go.

hystavito
hystavito

@markg1150  I signed up when they had that Saints Row The Third promo, played it for several hours.  It definitely didn't look as good, and there was a bit of lag here and there, also completely paused twice, but overall it was still enjoyable.


However, I can certainly see how the game is an important distinction.  I was just trying it out so I didn't care much, and a game like SR3 doesn't have punishing consequences for messing up.  I can certainly imagine some games where one pause or moment of lag could be infuriating and ruin the overall experience.

atornsock
atornsock

@markg1150  Sounds awesome to me, especially since I get over 400mbps down/up.

philnolan3d
philnolan3d

@markg1150 I've been on Onlive since they launched and It's been my main gaming console as well as frequent on-the-go gaming. Heck I went through most of Darksiders on my phone. I love having access to tons of games without needing to wait for downloads or use up space on my drive.

philnolan3d
philnolan3d

@Dannystaples14 I'm skeptical that you actually have tried it. If you actually have then you you probably have very, very, low speed internet.

Sohereiam
Sohereiam

@Dannystaples14 Well, PS Now will be a success(on Beta), but once released in multiple countries
 it will start to lag(a lot).


People believe that streaming is the future of any entertainment material, however they only believe that because piracy is strong on internet, but they forget that pirated stuff on internet is distributed by thousands of sites and servers at same time, official releases only have one or more(it never reach's 10) servers, because of that too many people will be using at same time and it will lag, and the worse is that people that wants pirated stuff will always obtain, specially since releasing on internet makes a lot easier to rip.

philnolan3d
philnolan3d

@godfather830 How else would you play Your high end games on your tablet or at grandmas house? When you go to a friend's house do you expect him to download all of your games so you can play there?

philnolan3d
philnolan3d

@Jinzo_111887 In the extremely unlikely case that the content got pulled it wouldn't matter since you can download it.

normanislost
normanislost

@Jinzo_111887  


"Content getting pulled from servers."


is that really a factor with this? you're paying a subscription to play their games not paying for individual games


ofc the other 2 points are completely valid

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

@PETERAKO  Being able to run a game like Just Cause 2 on a low end $200 laptop is pretty cool considering you couldn't do that any other way.

Thunderbear24
Thunderbear24

@cosmo_swag @ArchoNils2It seems to me that Onlive are targeting to earn money from people that want to play games, but don't own good consoles or gaming PC's. How many of these people are out there?

Thing is, most people that love gaming has invested in good hardware, so how can Onlive make any good money if most gamers own their own system. Pluss, will we all in time not upgrading because of Cloud gaming? I don't think so because a fast computer generally performs better and if your only into PC gaming, Steam are releasing a cheaper console so that you can play PC titles on a cheaper system.


So yes, soon we don't need to buy a expensive gaming PC to play big PC titles anymore, {apart from origin games which you won't find here on Onlive anyway}

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

@philnolan3d I do have a slow(ish) internet connection.

5MB to be exact. Enough to download most current games on Steam overnight but obviously not enough for something like OnLive to be even comparable to local play.

I tried Witcher 2 and it looked horrible compared to playing it locally. And I'm playing it on a laptop at 720p to start with that is how bad it looked.

I mean if it was JUST resolution I'd be okay but having bad resolution AND screen artefacts it just looks terrible.

If the future of gaming is Streaming then the future is grim. It shouldn't be that way. Streaming is so bad because gaming is supposed to be one glove fits all. Everyone should be on a level playing field. That is fair.

That is one reason I hate playing multiplayer on PC. My PC isn't that fast so will be at a disadvantage at 30fps and my internet is slow so will have higher latency. Being hit from both sides.

Why would I want to play a game online for example if I know I'm going to get rolled flat simply because fibre optic broadband hasn't come to my area yet?

godfather830
godfather830

@philnolan3d @godfather830 I don't want to play high end games on my tablet! they are not meant to be played on tablets. If I go to a friend's house, I can just bring the game with me.

Jinzo_111887
Jinzo_111887

@philnolan3d @Jinzo_111887I can name a few that you can no longer buy on digital servers. If given an option to download games, you do have that as a back up, but isn't OnLive a STREAMING company? I don't think they'd offer downloads.

PETERAKO
PETERAKO

@Toysoldier34 @PETERAKOI would have had no problem with streamed games if it remained an alternative, but in the first sign of it making money major publishers would start ditching the typical and convinient one time purchase for one thats more or less gloriphied renting. 

like what is currently happening with microtransactions. Some will tell that if you dont like it dont pay it, but the problem is that no one is unaffected.

philnolan3d
philnolan3d

@Jinzo_111887That's the whole point in CloudLift You can download or stream, your choice. It even says that in the image at the top of this page.

philnolan3d
philnolan3d

@Jinzo_111887 @normanislost The games are all available on steam and OnLive. The odds of the game being removed from both services at the same time are pretty darned slim.

Jinzo_111887
Jinzo_111887

@philnolan3d @Jinzo_111887@normanislostNot what I mean. Imagine being near the end of a long game and saving near the end. Now, imagine if the game got pulled from the streaming service. You wouldn't be able play it any more. If you can't find it on a digital download service, you're out of luck.