Sony Picks Up Cloud Gaming Patents As OnLive Shuts Down Later This Month

Business / Gaming / PlayStation

OnLive, the first cloud gaming platform, will be shutting down its services April 30 and will sell some of its assets, including some key patents, to Sony. OnLive customers will continue to have access to the OnLive Game Service, OnLive Desktop, and SL Go (Second Life). For the remainder of them month, the services will be free of charge and anyone who renewed a subscription since March 28th will get a refund.

In a statement on their website, OnLive posted:

After five years of uninterrupted service, the OnLive Game Service will be coming to an end. 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.

As the first-ever game streaming service of its kind, everyone who has ever played a game using OnLive has contributed to the technology and its evolution in some way. We’re immensely proud of what’s been achieved and extend our heartfelt gratitude to you for being a part of the OnLive Game Service.

Thank you from all of us at –

OL2, Inc. (aka, OnLive)

OnLive also has a basic Support FAQ up which includes some of the following information for current subscribers, which basically indicates those who purchased Steam games or hardware are out of luck when it comes to getting a refund.

What happens to my PlayPass games?
PlayPass games will no longer be available on OnLive after April 30, 2015.

What happens to my game save data and achievements?
Game save data and achievements will be deleted after April 30, 2015 unless it was on CloudLift, in which case the data will remain on Steam.

I bought a PC-only Steam game under the assumption that I could play it via OnLive on my Mac. Can I get a refund?
Unfortunately no refunds are available for Steam games purchased via OnLive.

I bought an OnLive Game System, or OnLive Universal Wireless Controller.  Does the hardware work with any other platforms?
OnLive’s hardware does not work with any other platforms. No refunds are available for hardware purchases, unless it was purchased on or after February 1, 2015. If your purchase falls within that window, you may request a refund by sending an email to [email protected] with the subject line Hardware Refund.

Sony’s PlayStation Now service was launched after it purchased the Gaikai game streaming services for $380 million back in 2012, and the OnLive assets as well as patents that cover “substantial innovations in cloud” gaming will only solidify PlayStation Now which allows PlayStation 4 owners to stream older PlayStation 3 games to their newer consoles.

“These strategic purchases open up great opportunities for our gamers, and gives Sony a formidable patent portfolio in cloud gaming. It is yet another proof point that demonstrates our commitment to changing the way gamers experience the world of PlayStation,” said Philip Rosenberg, the vice president of global business development of Sony Computer Entertainment.

Since the advent of OnLive and PlayStation now, other cloud gaming platforms are cropping up, including the recently announced NVIDIA Grid service which would provide PC quality game streaming on their Android-based SHIELD console. It could be interesting to see how the cloud gaming market shakes out as OnLive received a patent in the past which basically covers the invention of cloud-based video games – and one that Sony is no doubt interested in acquiring. The OnLive patent is for an:

Apparatus for video gaming includes a box having a slot with an interface that connects to a game card providing a platform to run a software video game. The game card outputs video game data through the interface at a data rate of approximately 200 Mbps or greater. A unit processes the video game data for output to a display device. A wireless transceiver is included to receive the software video game via a wireless local area network (WLAN) and to transmit game information to a remote player having access to the WLAN during interactive play of the software video game.

There is no word what will become of OnLive’s 80 employees, but it is presumable that some may find themselves working for Sony and their streaming service.

What do you think of Sony’s purchase of OnLive, and the shutting down of the service at the end of the month? Let us know in the comments below, or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

  Source: OnLive  Source: Venture Beat  Source: USPTO

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