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Publishers see OnLive as second only to Steam, claims Perlman

Streaming games service also prepared to change prices in UK following feedback

Newly launched streaming games service OnLive has become the number two method of digital distribution for PC games, according to publisher feedback.

Steve Perlman, CEO, said that more companies are getting onboard the service and are increasingly keen to tailor content to its users demands.

"Publishers have bought into it, they get it, they know that it works, and the cheques at the end of the month help," he told GamesIndustry.biz.

"The publishers are telling us we're number two in terms of digital distribution behind Steam.

"We're getting exclusive demos. Doing a demo is something that's hard to develop. For example on Red Faction: Armageddon there was an Xbox demo but not a PlayStation 3 or PC version - they put it on OnLive instead. This is the first time a platform has been released that doesn't present itself as a direct competitor to the other platforms."

The US has been the UK's beta test. This is a new animal, there's going to be things we have to learn.

Steve Perlman, OnLive

Launching in the UK last week, OnLive has received some criticism for its pricing structure, in particular with new games - although prices are set by the publishers not the distributor.

However, in the US, where the service launched over 15 months ago, the company has continued to tweak pricing and offers in response to consumer feedback, with Perlman saying it plans to take the exact same approach in the UK.

"The US has been the UK's beta test. We've had 15 months of live experience there, not just on the technology side but with what users want, how to package features and build up the game library," he offered.

"Try it out, show your friends, give us feedback, we can change things. That's why we took it to the Eurogamer Expo to begin with, these guys are hardcore gamers and they will be vocal. This is a new animal, there's going to be things we have to learn. The whole Play Pack deal, the fact it even existed, is a result of feedback. This isn't movie streaming, you have to think about it differently," he added.

UK consumers can currently buy the OnLive micro console online or from retail partner GAME - although that partnership is likely to be short-lived once the technology is available built-in to consumer hardware.

"Over the next weeks we expect that we'll be announcing TV, Blu-ray and media players that will be available in the UK with OnLive built in," stated Perlman.

Although confident of the service and its offering, Perlman wasn't willing to reveal any target numbers for uptake in the UK, suggesting it's too early to make predictions on adoption.

"It's very hard to know," he said. "It's a new animal. In my career I've launched a lot of new things and it takes time.

"In the US we had to gradually build up from 18 games and some of the early adopters tried it but it didn't have enough for them so they moved on. In the UK we have a very robust system with a lot of games, a big library. This is one of the most difficult things in the world to predict."

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Matt Martin avatar

Matt Martin


Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.