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OnLive Rolls Out Cloud Gaming Wi-Fi Beta
OnLive Rolls Out Cloud Gaming Wi-Fi Beta
September 2, 2010 | By Kris Graft

September 2, 2010 | By Kris Graft
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More: Console/PC



Streaming game service OnLive said Thursday that it will begin its beta for wi-fi support this month, along with Labor Day promotions that the company hopes will attract more users.

Currently, OnLive, launched in June, requires a wired Ethernet connection to play a library of server-based games.

OnLive's website explains that the service had to launch with no wi-fi support in order to allow technicians to root out and troubleshoot internet-related issues first.

"Since wireless connections are subject to interference and drop-outs, when users are connected to OnLive through wireless, it adds another layer of network issues that are hard for us to separate out from internet issues," the company says.

OnLive COO Mike McGarvey said that wi-fi support has been the "most requested feature" among OnLive users. "We’re continuing to add new features and enhance the service, as well as expand the list of top new-release games," he added.

In order to attract more OnLive users, the company said it is extending its AT&T "Founding Members Program" promotion, allowing new users to sign up for a free one-year subscription to OnLive and an optional second year for $4.95 per month. The program is now extended until December 31 this year, while the initial program ended July15.

Additionally, during Labor Day weekend in the U.S., OnLive is discounting all of its games by 50 percent. Currently, users can purchase an unlimited "Play Pass" to obtain the license to use the server-based games for between $4-$60. OnLive also game rentals for a lower price.

In August, reports emerged that OnLive has a hefty valuation of $1.1 billion, although the company is not commenting on those rumors.

Streaming services like OnLive have potential to disrupt the traditional game market, as the service allows users to run high-end PC games locally from remote datacenters -- players don't have to install the game onto their hard drives, and can select and play games from a browser. It circumvents retail and is not confined to a proprietary game console.


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Comments


gus one
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$1.1bn valuation haha. That's my laugh for the day. Assuming an average tech/software sectors EV/sales of 1.65x that implies revenues of $670m (that's rather a lot of subscribers paying $4.95 a month). The sector average PE of 12x implies earnings of $92m. That's my second laugh of the day. At least their investment bankers are earning their keep.

Rodney Brett
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I've never understood OnLive's pricing model. At first, I was pretty excited about the service. The idea of paying a reasonable fee every month to play the latest PC, XBOX, PS3 games without actually owning the hardware was attractive. Once the service launched, though, it was PC games only, quick moving games were unplayable(like the racing titles), the monthly fee is too high, AND, if you wanted to play one of the latest titles like, say, Assasin's Creed 2, you STILL had to fork over the $49.99 for a game that you don't even own.. So my question is, what market of demographic are they trying to tap into? Are there going to be enough players that are willing to pay full price for a game that is basically a DIVX stream of the same game they can just buy on their PC? Are there enough users that do not have GPU's capable of running a game bought through STEAM? I'm not slamming OnLive, I think it's a great idea, but NOT for the price that they have in place.

Mike Lopez
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I totally agree. I would be all over a Netflix/Gamefly type of pricing model where I pay say $15-20 a month for unlimited everything. As it is I will never pay those prices and I have not even tried the service though I got one of those free annual subscriptions. I suspect their pricing model was due to agreements with the Publishers who are still keen to keep their retailers happy, but that is just a guess.

gus one
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I've been thinking about this and the key fact is that the telcos (British Telecom and Belgacom) have made investments in Onlive that consequently value Online at an implied $1.1bn valuation. In Ol' Blighty there is a race to provide bigger and better broadband/TV/Phone packages. At the moment speeds are still on average 8megs over the phone line though they advertise 20 megs max (and get regulary slapped by the advertising regulator since that's BS). The point is differentiation. You can see what they are thinking. 'What if we could provide a gaming system as part of the package?". Makes sense, could work and I understand why they invested. That said the valuation is laughable and OnLive will end up being bought by a telco or cable company.

Merc Hoffner
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Perhaps they see a wider technology possibility here, not that BT are that smart - besides which, for all the investment, Onlive still won't be accesible here for a while. Anyway, back on point, maybe they see a wider technology possibility here: They might figure if the infrastructure is there to stream games over the ether, then they can stream everything and anything, and have an in on charging subscription rates on all your computing needs down the line. No more computer, OS, software, upgrades or piracy. Just a floating account and any old netbook/TV/smartphone and the telco gets to charge a daily toll on all of it.

Mike Lopez
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Has anyone tried the service and care to comment on the gaming experience for various genres and platforms?



A few weeks back I asked in my Facebook status if anyone was using or had even tried OnLive and got no responses, despite having over 150 developers in the 10-20 year experience range on my friends list. Sure not everyone responds to FB status inquiries but I often get several comments on game related news and questions and in this case got zero.

Kevin Reilly
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I haven't tried the service as I already own too many game consoles and one more box in the living room ain't going to happen for a while.



The "valuation" is most likely derived from the certificate of incorporation which states how many shares have been issued and at what price they were issued. This is public information that can be searched on the secretary of state website (probably Delaware). Whether its "earnings" or potential "earnings" justify that valuation is somewhat irrelevant. The investors invested cash in exchange for a percentage of equity and that transaction reveals what they believe to be the Fair Market Value of the company on the open market. It does not have to be logical or based on fact, just a negotiated amount. It will be interesting to see how the pricing adjusts if they can't gain traction considering iTV is going to be battling for the same consumers.


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