OnLive, an online game streaming service, is closing down at the end of this month, after selling its patent collection to Sony. The haul of 140 US and international patents will be picked up to help Sony improve its own rival PlayStation Now streaming service, with the shutdown of OnLive servers on April 30 effectively ending the troubled streaming company's existence.
TechCrunch reports that, though the service has 80 employees, it is unclear if any will be making the transition to Sony along with the patents.
The service initially launched in 2010, providing customers with the ability to play games on its cloud servers via streaming video, allowing underpowered systems to be able to play games at a higher quality. Running through apps on desktop and mobile, as well as its own MicroConsole, the service struggled to find its feet, laying off its entire staff in 2012 and causing HTC to lose $40 million in investments. OnLive continued to survive, with assets sold to a venture capitalist for under $5 million the same year, followed by an attempted relaunch last year and the creation of the CloudLift Enterprise service.
OnLive's main competitor throughout was Gaikai, which launched at roughly the same time. Gaikai seemingly fared better, being bought by Sony in 2012 for $380 and used to power PlayStation Now, a system that worked under the same cloud gaming concept, but streamed games solely to Sony game consoles.
According to the support pages, PlayPass games on the service will not be available on OnLive after April 30, with save data and achievements being deleted unless it was stored on CloudLift, in which case it passes over to Steam. Refunds are not being provided to customers who bought PC games via OnLive so that they could play it on a Mac, but they will continue to own the Steam version. Refunds are being given for hardware purchases, but only for those bought on or after February 1.