OnLive's Woes Caused By One Man's Ego
It seems a company with a great premise and fantastic ideas can truly be laid low by a single person. That's the case of OnLive, the darling game streaming service which we reported on earlier was dissolved and its assets purchased by Lauder Partners. It seems that this could have been avoided had the ego of CEO Steve Perlman been kept in check. During the 2009 Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco, Perlman started screaming at Gaikai CEO David Perry, who came by to see his competitor. When Onlive launched on June 17th 2010, Gaikai announced a deal with Electronic Arts - and a multi-year one to boot. Now, EA had already been on board with OnLive with Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age: Origins ready to launch, but Perlman's reaction to the Gaikai deal and his demands for EA exclusivity caused problems. EA ended up denying him exclusivity, so he pulled all their games from the service at the last minute. Add to this the fact that any game which ended up on Gaikai had its plug pulled from OnLive even after testing, compatibility etc you can see why the company was hemorrhaging $5 million a month with a user base of just 1600 subscribers.
The question is what happens now. The new OnLive says it hired nearly half the staff back and intends to continue the business as if nothing happens, but employees dispute that, stating that only around 60 employees got rehired, and a number of them only on 30-day contracts. Sources tell us that critical departments got scuttled, including the teams responsible for onboarding new games. It seemed like the company brought on a skeleton crew to keep the ship running while it preps the company for a sale. Then, something strange occurred. Employees convinced the new owner, Lauder Partners, to let Steve Perlman go and put employee-friendly former head of operations Charlie Jablonski in charge.
Posted by | Thu, Aug 30, 2012 - 11:39 AM