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Daily Digest: What went wrong with OnLive?

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4. The lack of focus


What is OnLive for? At first, certainly, the message was that customers could play triple-A games instantly without waiting on 20 gigabyte downloads.

But quickly it was also pitched as a service that could play various indie PC titles that, if you had a connection speed required for OnLive, could probably be downloaded in a matter of minutes.

Then there was talk of OnLive's sophisticated server tech giving developers access to remarkably powerful development tools that would be streamed to them. Then there were the various expansions, to mobile and tablets, with the possibility of using the OnLive controller. Then there were various enterprise apps that could be streamed, such as OnLive desktop (which resulted in legal threats from Microsoft due to alleged violation of the Windows 7 license agreement).

Too many ideas and services with a lack of focus and purpose. That was the ultimate outcome. These were the hallmarks of a company with highly qualified technology experts within its executive circle (with some having come from Netscape, QuickTime and Nvidia), but not enough decision makers who understand the games business itself.

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