Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Gaming the Clouds: Here Are the D Demos of Otoy (Still Standing) and OnLive (Who Knows?)

At our D: All Things Digital conferences, we’ve taken an interest in the cloud, including showing off two of the leading game streaming services — Otoy and OnLive.

(That’s OnLive founder and CEO Steve Perlman in the photo, demoing the service at D: Dive Into Mobile in 2010.)

Earlier today, in an epic fail of communication by Perlman, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based OnLive drastically reformed itself — mysteriously laying off its staff and then saying a new company had bought the pioneering start-up’s assets and could be hiring an unknown number of employees who had just been dinged.

Said OnLive, in perhaps one of the most ridonkulous statements I have ever seen:

“We can now confirm that the assets of OnLive, Inc. have been acquired into a newly formed company and is backed by substantial funding, and which will continue to operate the OnLive Game and Desktop services, as well as support all of OnLive’s apps and devices, as well as game, productivity and enterprise partnerships. The new company is hiring a large percentage of OnLive, Inc.’s staff across all departments and plans to continue to hire substantially more people, including additional OnLive employees. All previously announced products and services, including those in the works, will continue and there is no expected interruption of any OnLive services. We apologize that we were unable to comment on this transaction until it completed and were limited to reporting on news related to OnLive’s businesses. Now that the transaction is complete, we are able to make this statement.”

Forgive us if we can’t begin to understand the pointless machinations that went on.

On the other side of the coin is Otoy, an innovative Los Angeles-based software provider, which demoed its cloud-based 3-D rendering service called Octane Reader at D10 this summer, along with its game-streaming offering.

Otoy was founded in 2008 by Jules Urbach, Alissa Grainger and Malcolm Taylor — and they seem to be doing just fine as an independent start-up in the space.

Here’s the Otoy demo, as well as the two times OnLive came to D:

Otoy at D10 in 2012:

OnLive at D8 in summer of 2010:

OnLive at D: Dive Into Mobile in late 2010

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Silicon Valley is really quite a boring place. The story of start-ups should be a documentary on PBS, not a weekly reality show on Bravo.

— Nick Bilton on “Start-Ups”