OnLive CEO says that publishers see service as second only to Steam

According to Steve Perlman, CEO of OnLive, OnLive is doing quite well. "Publishers have bought into it, they get it, they know that it works,” he said. “And the cheques at the end of the month help." He claims that “publishers are telling us we're number two in terms of digital distribution behind Steam,” which sounds more impressive than it really is. As far as digital distribution goes there aren’t really many players – there’s Steam (obviously), Origin (hilariously), Impulse (which is owned by GameStop), and… erm… that’s it, right? Do torrent websites count?

We kid, of course – this is great news not only for OnLive, but for the future of streaming gaming in general. Onlive's service might have started off slow, with only a handful of playable games, but it has grown over time to include an impressive stable of publishers. It seems like every few months another big company throws their support behind OnLive, and with every publisher comes more titles, more profit, and more improvements to their system. Pricing has been higher than some would like, but that’s something Perlman claims is left to the publishers, and is out of its hands entirely. Still, anyone who has used OnLive has likely noticed that it has had regular sales, with games dropping in price on the fly to stay competitive.

The future is looking good for OnLive, which launched in the UK last week. Perlman teased the announcement of TVs and Blu-ray players with OnLive built in for the UK, which should help early adopters feel better about buying digital games. He also explained why he believes that the UK side will launch more smoothly than the US side: experience. "The US has been the UK's beta test. We've had 15 months of live experience there, not just on the technology side but with what users want, how to package features and build up the game library."

Streaming games is an exciting concept, and one we expect to grow over the next few years. Who knows? Maybe OnLive will be bought out by one of the big three console makers and turned into proprietary hardware for the next generation of games; or even more drastic, what if a publisher like Valve or EA picks them up, and enters into the console race with a dedicated box that can stream thousands of games on day one? Welcome to the future, friends – let’s hope your internet doesn’t go down.

Sep 29, 2011




  • mockraven - September 30, 2011 6:36 a.m.

    Onlive is a pretty good service if you have great internet and a computer that can't quite handle the modern games. For things like shooters there is a little lag (less than a second from what I could tell) between when you move your mouse and when your character turns. It's a little disconcerting but one can adapt. Also, the graphics are fairly low resolution so it shows on the bigger monitors but it looks gorgeous on smaller screens, like for netbooks and laptops. Personally, I still prefer to have the games installed on my computer over streaming but for people who use a laptop (on the go or at home) or an older desktop, it's still very nice.
  • Chimy - September 30, 2011 4:54 a.m.

    Nobody cares about GoG or Green Man Gaming :( (Well, I use steam, but... they still exist)
  • OTLeon - September 30, 2011 3:05 a.m.

    When I was playing games on Onlive, the graphic looks quite blurring which makes me feel very uncomfortable. I still experienced some lags in some games like Dirt 3 even I have a 50Mb LAN connection. The worst thing is, we can't play AAA titles like MW3 or BF3 or Diablo III on Onlive. Overall, Onlive is a great idea but at the moment, there is only a few old PC games on this platform. Steam is still my No.1 choice if I want to play PC games.
  • punkduck2064 - September 29, 2011 7:07 p.m.

    I've been loving OnLive since they launched. They've got a solid operational and business model. If a game is available on OnLive it's my preferred platform, I only use my Xbox and PS3 for exclusives anymore.
  • SirNinja - September 29, 2011 6:46 p.m.

    OnLive's a pretty cool service (well, if you've got a better-than-decent connection, at least). There's not as much lag as I thought there would be, and seeing people's reactions as I play stuff like Borderlands, Just Cause 2 and Deus Ex HR on my puny netbook is priceless.

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