It's just been revealed that Sony will be acquiring "various assets" from cloud-gaming specialists OnLive, to be integrated with its PlayStation business.
Though the "terms of the transaction were not disclosed", the acquisition includes OnLive's "U.S. and foreign patent portfolio covering its substantial innovations in cloud gaming."
“These strategic purchases open up great opportunities for our gamers, and gives Sony a formidable patent portfolio in cloud gaming. It is yet another proof point that demonstrates our commitment to changing the way gamers experience the world of PlayStation,” said Philip Rosenberg, VP, Global Business Development of SCE and SVP Business Development and Publisher Relations of SCEA.
The deal also means that the current OnLive service, at least as it exists now, will cease to operate. According to the press statement, users that currently game with OnLive will continue to have access to the service until April 30th of this year.That includes the OnLive Game Service, OnLive Desktop and SL Go (Second Life). However, you'll no longer be able to renew subscriptions for those services, nor will new sign ups be accepted. Users whose subscriptions renewed on or after March 28th will be refunded. This will eventually mean that "OnLive will engage in an orderly wind-down of the company and cease operations".
So what's Sony's interest in OnLive? Almost definitely to beef up its promising-but-not-quite-there-yet PlayStation Now offering, which is slowly rolling out around the globe, allowing users to stream PlayStation's back catalogue of classic games. With backwards compatibility missing from the PS4, it's important that Sony nails the game streaming tech if it want's to make any money out of its older stuff. OnLive, who have been working in the game streaming sphere since 2003, should be able to massively help in this area.