Sony acquired 140 cloud gaming patents following the closure of OnLive. OnLive confirmed that will terminate service on April 30th. Subscriptions for users will be refunded and all gaming services will be online until the end of April.
Following an optimistic launch in 2009, OnLive failed to live up to success even after relaunching last year. The company’s biggest success was SL Go, a mobile Second Life viewer that allowed users to fully experience the game on tablets. Sony certainly is capitalizing on the moment, coming to an undisclosed deal with the company for the patents. Philip Rosenberg, VP Global Business Development of SCE and SVP Business Development and Publisher Relations of SCEA, stated, “These strategic purchases open up great opportunities for our gamers, and gives Sony a formidable patent portfolio in cloud gaming.”
It does give Sony a much needed boost in an area that has received far more attention by their competitor, Microsoft. The Xbox One uses far more cloud processing than the PS4 and Microsoft is exploring how to expand the role of cloud gaming. However, this is not the first cloud gaming company Sony has bought. In 2012, Sony purchased OnLive’s rival, GaiKai.
Companies will often buy companies without immediate plans to use the purchased company’s assets; nonetheless, it is strange that Sony would buy another cloud gaming company if it didn’t have a strategy in place. With a company as large and diverse as Sony, there is a division working on how best to implement the acquired patents into the PlayStation experience. Rosenberg articulated that Sony is committed to changing and evolving the PlayStation experience for gamers.
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[Edit: The article was edited to clarify that OnLive didn’t develop/publish Second Life, but created an application for mobile users. We apologize for any confusion.]