Opinion: OnLive is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma

OnLive was the first high-profile advocate of a newfangled concept called “cloud games.” With the company on the ropes, Chris Morris examines the unanswered questions surrounding OnLive’s future.

Whatever becomes of OnLive in the months and years to come, one thing is certain: Its handling of its ongoing transition (or rebirth or metamorphosis — whatever you choose to call it) is going to go down in the halls of video game infamy.

It’s a change that, in terms of confusion, has been handled about as well as the early days of the Sony hacking incident and the 2010 “shut down”/rebirth of Good Old Games. And while there is more solid information today than there was when word of the mass layoffs came about on Friday, there are still plenty on unanswered questions.

Read more at Gamasutra

Mass layoffs hit OnLive, company assets sold

OnLive, the cloud-based streaming media company that many believed was the future of video games, reportedly laid off virtually all of its employees Friday, raising questions about its future.

The OnLive service is still functioning at present, and company spokespersons say that’s not going to change, but some insiders say a new company is being planned to rise from OnLive’s ashes.

Read more at Yahoo! Games

Google partners with OnLive

Video game streaming service OnLive has taken another big step towards mass-market penetration.

Google has partnered with the company and will begin offering the service through all of its Google TV distribution partners. Though the company will initially offer just social features, it plans to let subscribers play popular console and PC games in the months to come.

Read more at Daily Variety

Tablets get in game

Tablets offer plenty of games from Apple and Android’s app stores, but the selection can leave hardcore gamers frustrated.

While there are some exceptions, most of these app-based games are seen as the equivalent of a midday snack — fun diversions designed for short bursts of play, but ultimately disposable. And though there are some familiar console franchises in the mobile space such as Activision’s “Call of Duty Black Ops Zombies,” the depth of gameplay on those titles doesn’t begin to compare with the offerings on the Xbox, PlayStation 3 or PC.

Read more at Daily Variety

Analysis: How Netflix Could Shake Up The Game Rental Business

Gamasutra columnist Chris Morris looks at how Netflix’s recent decision to add video games to its rent-by-mail service could pose a threat to competitor GameFly and shake up the video game rental market significantly.

Maybe it’s a good thing that GameFly has been unable to get its act together and launch that IPO it filed for last February – because if it had, its stock would surely be taking a prison yard beating today.

Netflix has made some baffling moves in the last couple of months, and Sunday’s announcement that it would be spinning its DVD-by-mail service into a separate division certainly qualifies as one of them. But the addition of video games to its offerings could be just what the business needs to prop that service up for a few more years.

Read more at Yahoo! Games

Playcast raises $10 mil in expansion bid

As interest revs up in the cloud gaming world, venture capitalists are doubling down.

Playcast has raised $10 million in a Series B funding round to help it expand its ongoing rollout of services to telecommunications companies and cable television providers. MK Capital, a Chicago/Los Angeles-based venture fund specializing in digital media, and JVP, a leading Israeli venture capital firm focused on media, technology and content, led the round.

Read more in Daily Variety

Interview: Playcast Raises Additional $10 Million For Cloud Gaming

With $10 million in new venture capital, Playcast tells Gamasutra editor-at -large Chris Morris how it’ll compete with cloud gaming services like OnLive indirectly, by providing a standardized service that can be integrated into any number of set-top boxes.

Playcast may not be the most familiar name in the video game world, but it’s one that’s certainly turning the heads of venture capitalists.

The cloud gaming company has raised $10 million in a Series B funding round to help it expand its ongoing rollout of services to telecommunications companies and cable television providers. The company previously raised $2 million in funding in 2009.

Read more at Gamasutra

New game systems being built into your TV

A slumbering giant appears to be stirring in the video game industry — and that could be bad news for Microsoft and Sony.

After quietly sitting on the sidelines for the entire console war, the television industry is starting to get into the fight. Vizio announced plans this week to integrate the OnLive game streaming service into all of its 2011 HD TVs and Blu-ray players, as well as forthcoming smart phones and tablets from the company.

Read more at Yahoo! Games

 

7 Game Changers of CES 2011

With more than 2,700 companies displaying new products at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, there’s a lot of competition for attention. While many are fighting for a coveted “Best of Show” nod, that label is too often given to products that simply have a “cool” factor but won’t necessarily have a lasting impact.

So as we’ve wandered the floor this year, we’ve kept our eyes open for items that can have a momentous impact on their market segments. Here are a few gadgets we think will move beyond novelty status.

Read more at CNBC.com

Analysis: How Gaming Seeps Into CES 2011

[Reporting from Las Vegas’ CES, Gamasutra editor-at-large Chris Morris looks at video games’ presence at the major electronics show, examining how the show hints at the blossoming of a post-console future for games.]

For a trade show that’s not about video games, there sure are a lot of people talking about and playing them here at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show.

OnLive, Kinect and Playstation are being discussed nearly as much as tablets, 3D TVs and cameras. It’s some of the clearest proof yet showing that as video games evolve and grow, the industry is moving closer and closer to the world of mainstream entertainment.

Read more at Gamasutra