OnLive sold for only $4.8 million

OnLive was sold for only $4.8 million, a creditor letter has revealed.

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The struggling games streaming company OnLive sold its assets in August. Although users have been unaffected by the transfer, many have been wondering what OnLive is worth now. It's not pretty. The company once valuated at $1.8 billion (with a "B") sold for only $4.8 million (with an "M").

The figure comes from a creditor letter obtained by Mercury News (via Rock Paper Shotgun). Granted, the figure of nearly $2 billion was probably a tinge exaggerated, but it does show the dire straits the company was in. Gaikai, by comparison, sold to Sony for $380 million.

The company was also reportedly in $18.7 million of debt, and as a result creditors will only receive 26 cents on each dollar. The new owner, a venture capitalist named Gary Lauder, believes that the problem with the company was that it lacked a large enough investment, so presumably we'll see it attempting to beef up its operation as it rehires staff.

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  • reply
    October 10, 2012 1:00 PM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, OnLive sold for only $4.8 million.

    OnLive was sold for only $4.8 million, a creditor letter has revealed.

    • reply
      October 10, 2012 1:08 PM

      this article/headline isn't correct. the video game portion of OnLive sold for that amount, however, all of Rearden Labs, which also changed its name to OnLive, sold for more.

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        October 10, 2012 1:09 PM

        but I guess being a gaming site, that's probably not that important. I should hush up.

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      October 10, 2012 1:15 PM

      ouch. at that price it makes me wonder if whoever is buying it is just gonna basically gut it for assets

      i don't know what that means it just sounds smart and like i know something about business

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      October 10, 2012 1:23 PM

      This kind of tech is the wave of the future. I've said many times, that if the next gen xbox/playstation don't use this kind of tech the gen after absolutely will. And, with the many recent acquisitions, I'm starting to think it could be this next gen (not sure about the Wii U, but it's still possible).

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        October 10, 2012 1:52 PM

        I highly doubt it.

        You sacrifice rendering quality, latency, and run up against bandwidth caps.

        Hardcore gamers won't bother with it because it looks and plays like crap.

        Casual gamers will just play Facebook games, phone games, or hell just play Popcap games which can run on anything and so they make no sense to stream in video form.

        No one liked the idea that they had to pay for games which will all be gone if the company ever goes under.

        OnLive had no chance since they were completely beholden to the content makers. Their maneuver with EA and (reportedly) Valve backfired when they required exclusivity and the companies involved told them to go fuck themselves.

        Game console manufacturers will never incorporate this technology in their consoles except for something like game demos to sell games through normal regular channels. To make something like this work would require a huge investment in hardware server-side. The console manufacturers are pros at getting end users to pay them for the hardware. Why would they bother to try and make some cheap box and then manage all the hardware themselves?

        The only people who think this is the wave of the future are the ones without business sense (like the people who ran OnLive, apparently). Just because something is a neat idea doesn't mean it's a good idea.

        I actually figured that the people who started OnLive did so not because they wanted to actually make the thing work, but rather to get bought out by someone for patents (the "we worked on this for seven years" dirge sounds like about the amount of time it would take to get a patent on the stuff). Now I'm thinking that's what Gaikai did, whereas OnLive actually thought there was a business case here.

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          October 10, 2012 3:30 PM

          All of your other points are completely valid, but it usually takes years to start profiting on console hardware. For one, this kind of tech could be used to eliminate piracy.

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            October 10, 2012 3:43 PM

            Oh sure, and the console makers keep dropping the prices of their hardware to compete so they're usually taking a loss. I'm just saying that at least some of the cost of the hardware is offset by purchase price. Here, all of the hardware cost is on OnLive's end.

            And really that's the other reason why you won't see a console maker use this, they would have to convince people to buy hardware as well as run their own hardware on the server end (as in, more than before since obviously XBL/PSN use server hardware already). OnLive, in theory, had the advantage that it could be hardware independent on the client end. If you're in the business of selling hardware, that's a problem.

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          October 10, 2012 9:33 PM

          Latency, like the typical 100ms latency typical of games running on consoles?

          It's true though, it looks like crap, played okay for me, although, I used a Gakai demo, so, hardly definitive. However, you're overlooking one key point about this technology. Encoding methods continue to advance. The replacement for x264 is going to be HEVC, doubling the efficiency. It's really only a matter of time until visually lossless 1080p content is easily streamed over a 10Mbps connection. On top of this, as terrible as ISPs currently are, things will inevitably improve in both bandwidth and data caps.

          It's really as simple as this. There will be a point in time where the h/w limitations of future consoles will enable your everyday computing tablets to vastly surpass those limitations in every meaningful way through streaming services similar to Gakai.

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          October 10, 2012 9:47 PM

          all this text, while not insane, strikes me as very shortsighted

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      October 10, 2012 2:07 PM

      We're living in a fuckd up world,this is sold a lot less than some the stupid image-hosting service and camera (instagram)

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        October 10, 2012 2:09 PM

        Yeah, that stupid image-hosting service and camera used by millions upon millions of people! Why is THAT so expensive?!

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        October 10, 2012 2:17 PM

        But Instagram actually worked well and did something people actually want.

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          October 10, 2012 2:29 PM

          It also didn't have to deal with a problem inherent in OnLive's architecture: latency. The speed of light is 1 foot per nanosecond, and when the user is thousands of miles away from the device rendering the image and accepting the control input, there will be latency. For action games, latency is bad. There was no magical way that OnLive was going to deal with this, aside from setting up servers on every shore, and in every major metro area.

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            October 10, 2012 2:51 PM

            Honestly, lag really isn't that bad on Onlive, you might be surprised. They have data centers in strategic areas in the country. It depends on the game. I'm sure Street Fighter probably isn't the best application there but I've played several hours of Darksiders on Onlive and it's really fine. What little lag is there you get used to and forget about. Cloud gaming is definitely doable. I think their problems were not latency, I think they made some poor choices along the way.

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              October 10, 2012 3:12 PM

              Yeah but your experience had to do with

              a) How far you lived from a datacenter
              b) How good your Internet connection was, based on factors you can control (i.e., pay more for the fast plan)
              c) How good your Internet connection was, based on factors you can't control (i.e., if your ISP is any good, if it's having a bad night, if your next door neighbor is streaming 1080p Netflix video to five TV's at the same time)
              d) How many people were on OnLive at the time (it's my understanding OnLive wasn't very popular so unless they could scale well this was bound to get worse over time)

              That's what I couldn't stand about it - way too many factors being out of your control.

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            October 10, 2012 9:42 PM

            The lag wasn't bad, the graphics and pricing model weren't that great. Also, I don't think they did a great job of marketing the thing at all or partnering with companies to strengthen the brand.

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        October 10, 2012 3:00 PM

        reports said that steve perlman rejected many acquisition bids, which presumably were for a lot more than 5mil. also presumably before they racked up so much debt and drove their core business into the ground

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      October 10, 2012 2:20 PM

      came out too early. when consoles go away eventually and get replaced by something similar years from now it will be very successful

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      October 10, 2012 2:26 PM

      "Only 26 cents on the dollar"... that doesn't sound too bad for a bankruptcy, compared to 15 or 10 cents on the dollar.

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      October 10, 2012 4:14 PM

      I think cloud gaming is viable but it needs to be introduced slowly by a trusted company such as Valve.

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        October 10, 2012 4:22 PM

        I don't. Good luck to the one company that wants to front the costs of buying, supporting and maintaining the hardware needed to equal hundreds of millions of private high end PCs.

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        October 10, 2012 11:07 PM

        cloud gaming at the moment is impossibile, since most ISPs in the world just suck ass. i live in italy and i can tell you that you're lucky if you can get a gaikai demo to work. 7mbps is the best connection available here, and it's barely enough for that, but there's also about 200 ms of lag, so it's total garbage.
        a lot of people also have traffic limitations because they're stupid enough to use 3g connections at home even if they can pay less for a faster, more reliable, cable connection.

        apart from that, i don't like cloud. i want my games to run on my computer.

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        October 10, 2012 11:25 PM

        That guy who played xcom on his iPad at work streaming from his home PC was the first instance of remote gaming that looked good to me

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          October 10, 2012 11:31 PM

          What did he use for streaming/transcoding?

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        October 10, 2012 11:35 PM

        I'll get into cloud gaming when they can teleport packets.

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      October 10, 2012 4:24 PM

      oh dear

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