Sony's purchase of OnLive means an end for OnLive's streaming services, but the influx of patents could help develop future Sony cloud gaming ventures.
The streaming game service OnLive has been acquired by Sony, who will be shutting down the service as of April 30th while the company repurposes OnLive’s patents and technology for Sony gaming services.
According to Josh Lowensohn of The Verge, this is not the first streaming game service acquired by Sony. In 2012 the gaming giant purchased Gaikai. which had previously partnered with Samsung and LG to provide cloud gaming for their smart TV lines.
After the purchase, Gaikai’s technology was integrated into both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita, as well as the upcoming PlayStation Now streaming service.
This latest sale nets Sony all of OnLive’s 140 cloud gaming patents. Philip Rosenberg, Sony Computer Entertainment America’s Senior Vice President for Global Business Development and Publisher Relations, said in a recent statement that the purchase, “gives Sony a formidable patent portfolio in cloud gaming,” that will open up new possibilities for the PlayStation crowd.
Although initially hailed as a wildly exciting mover in the gaming world and a very literal game-changer, OnLive has seen its share of ups and downs. In 2012 it saw a disastrous low point and universal layoffs brought about by interpersonal issues and a failure to achieve profitability, only to relaunch in the spring of 2014 with its Steam-streaming service Cloudlift.
OnLive’s tone was sorrowful and apologetic as they announced Sony’s decision. “It is with great sadness that we must bring the OnLive Game Service to a close. Sony is acquiring important parts of OnLive, and their plans don’t include a continuation of the game service in its current form,” after April 30th, although they noted that subscribers would not be charged for the remainder of their subscriptions.
OnLive closed their statement with gratefulness to their subscriber base, saying, “We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being an OnLive customer, and we wish you all the best.”
OnLive’s native OnLive Game System and OnLive Universal Wireless Controller do not work with any other game systems, but new subscribers who purchased either on or after February 1st, 2015 will be able to contact the company for a refund. Details can be found on their support site.