The near-failure of OnLive is clearly a cautionary tale to those of us who get overexcited about new technologies. The prospect of streaming games rather than loading them off a disc or hard drive was enticing, but the critics had a very good point about the technological hurdles such a project would face.
Of course, every new product is risky, and we need people to take those risks if we're going to have new things. But we should never assume that a major breakthrough for technology will be a major breakthrough for gaming. OnLive did something that many people thought was impossible, but it still didn't improve the actual experience of playing a game.
There's reason for optimism, too. OnLive didn't go out of business; it just changed ownership and reduced its staff. Venture capitalists don't buy businesses that are destined for failure; they buy businesses they think can turn a profit. A profitable OnLive may be much smaller in scale than we thought it might be. But maybe someday—when Internet speeds are higher and run-of-the-mill computers are a little more powerful—OnLive will truly bring cutting-edge games to the cheap laptops of the masses.
OnLive once looked like the future of gaming. Today, it's clear the company has not lived up to its hype, and there's no way to tell how long it will even last. Let's hope for the best, pay more attention to the skeptics next time, and keep the company's laid-off employees in our thoughts.
Date: August 22, 2012
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central. This week's is also purely a work of fiction*