OnLive, the ahead-of-its-time cloud-based video game service, is calling it quits on April 30. Sony is picking up the scraps, in the form of patents and other assets.
OnLive writes on its customer service page that "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. Your service should continue uninterrupted until April 30, 2015. No further subscription fees will be charged, and you can continue to play all of your games until that date."
OnLive's data centers will shut down after April 30, accounts will be closed and data will be deleted. Games purchased on Steam will still be accessible there.
OnLive's founder and former CEO, Steve Perlman, had big ambitions for OnLive when I interviewed him back in 2009 at an MIT event shortly before OnLive launched as a new broadband-powered game subscription and rental service.
Perlman boasted that his company had "solved cloud computing" in a lot of ways, investing in Ethernet switches, IP multicasting and broadband-connected servers that would enable subscribers to get and use the latest high-end games without having to buy discs and install them on their own consoles or computers.
OnLive grew its catalog to 30 games by 2011, but ran into obstacles working with game companies pursuing their own new online distribution models. OnLive wound up filing for bankruptcy protection in 2012 and Perlman left, then re-emerged about a year ago with ties to Valve's Steam service before finally calling it quits this month.
But don't think Perlman has disappeared from the tech scene. A creative guy, Perlman has a resume that includes a stint at Apple, co-founding WebTV and most recently, launching a company called Artemis Networks whose pCell wireless technology is designed as a challenger to traditional cellular networks and more modern LTE ones.