It was meant to be the future of gaming, but the future has caught up with OnLive. The online gaming streaming service has fired its staff and sold everything to new owners -- losing phonemaker HTC £25m in the process.
By selling up to new owners, OnLive has sidestepped bankruptcy and will continue operating. But shareholders, including HTC, which invested $40m to expand on mobile gaming, have lost everything. Even worse, OnLive's staff have all been canned, with only half of them to be rehired.
OnLive launched in the UK less than a year ago. While it's a great idea -- never buy a new console ever again, just stream the latest games over the Internet -- the service failed to capture enough paying players, leading to the current problems. More than 2.5 million gamers signed up for free accounts in the two years since the original launch, but not enough forked out for games -- it's reported as few as 2,000 people could be playing at any one time on up to 8,000 servers.
The cloud-gaming service has opted for an assignment for the benefit of creditors -- a kind of instant bankruptcy that allows everything to be sold off straightaway without actually going through bankruptcy proceedings.
OnLive claims it's in the process of rehiring half the fired staff as it sorts out funding. The service will continue under the new owners, with customers set to be unaffected and all previous purchases still available.
OnLive can stream games to your computer, TV or tablet -- pretty much anything with a screen, in fact. Because you stream the gameplay from a central server, you don't need discs, hard-drive space or high-end components. It's free to try, with a variety of payment options, including renting a game for under a fiver or signing up to a £7 monthly subscription.
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