According to Eurogamer, OnLive founder and CEO Steve Perlman has stepped down as head of the company, making way for new ownership in the form of Lauder Partners, an investment group specializing in technology. What this means for the business as a whole, and whether or not initial plans to re-hire laid off employees is still in the cards is a different story.
A little over a week ago, OnLive's restructure was detailed, illustrating that the company would see a shift in how it does business. Kotaku Australia made the connection that OnLive execs might have butchered employee stock in order to make the company a more attractive buy for potential investors. Gamasutra, in their report, discussed the terms of OnLive declaring a form of bankruptcy in greater detail, including a part of the company's statement, "The asset acquisition, although a heartbreaking transition for everyone involved with OnLive, allows the company's core innovation and ongoing offerings to survive and continue to evolve."
Initial estimates that Perlman was to receive millions in the liquidation of the stock was unfounded, however; in that, according to VentureBeat, the former CEO used money from the shares to pay health-care costs for former employees. The money was used to bridge the gap between OnLive's restructured insurance plan and the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) plan that was put in place to help employees cover health care costs. Perlman was quoted as saying "This is a really good alternative. I just added $50,000 to the bucket and will add more as needed. We've already hired more people back this week, and my hope is to get a lot more back before COBRA kicks in."
The employees of OnLive have since been courted by Microsoft, to work on their Xbox Live cloud-based gaming development. Microsoft's Eventbrite invitation (courtesy of VentureBeat) stated "We are eager to speak to individuals and teams affected by the OnLive transition. With the stunning success of Xbox/Kinect and the accelerated growth of this business, we are looking to add key players who want to make a real impact in creating groundbreaking new products and services."
Microsoft is making a big push towards cloud-based gaming and streaming, so, it makes sense that the company would want the experienced talent from OnLive to join the team. Considering the networking event was yesterday (August 27), there's no way of knowing just how many former OnLive employees jumped ship to Microsoft.
Gary Lauder, new owner of OnLive, stated "Steve has created an extraordinary company that no one else could have created, he is a unique entrepreneur and deserves his legendary status in Silicon Valley as a creator of groundbreaking companies."
What this change in ownership means for the Ouya, the Android-powered console alternative, remains unknown. OnLive was scheduled to be part of the Ouya's launch package, with players able to utilize the Ouya as a means to stream games directly through the OnLive cloud service. The Verge broke the news that the Ouya would include OnLive support, however; with OnLive in a state of transition, whether or not the Kickstarter-funded system will still be a platform for OnLive remains to be seen. Predictably, the Ouya would serve as a connection to OnLive's service, eliminating the need to obtain the OnLive controller or the need to connect the OnLive system to one's computer.
OnLive has begun actively seeking staff members, going against Perlman's original plan to hire back a majority of the workers who were laid off. Whether those who have been laid off remain earmarked for certain positions within the company, is anyone's guess.
"The new OnLive is emerging with greater financial security and a brighter outlook on the future. OnLive is now positioned to execute against longer-term projects with our breakthrough technology, products and services," Lauder said. "I spent my first week with OnLive listening, to gather people's thoughts and suggestions. It's an impressive group, and I am even more convinced that this company is poised for greatness."
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