Square Enix's cloud-based gaming portal Core Online was born out of a "selfish" need to grab more gamers, according to the company. While Square Enix would obviously want more people to enjoy their various titles including the upcoming "Hitman: Absolution" and "Tomb Raider," the company also offers browser-based versions of games like "Mini Ninjas" and "Hitman: Blood Money." This news comes from Eurogamer.
Phil Rogers, Square Enix's European boss stated "Take Mini-Ninjas. We think it should be played by multiple millions of people and actually it's not, it's played by single millions of people." The general idea, with Core Online is to bring Square Enix's impressive lineup of addicting and enjoyable titles to a wider audience. "Hitman: Blood Money," for example, is a game that's around six years old, but is finding a new audience through a browser-developed version. It helps that the original game is still as fun today as it was back in 2006, remaining one of the higher-reviewed entries in the series, according to IGN.
"So how can we expose it to a broader audience? Technically how can we do that - is it possible by re-working the code? What sort of service and delivery platforms can we build around it," Rogers continued. "Very much on that innovative experimental axis, that's how we started it. We believe in our games, we believe that the more people that can find and play our games, the better."
News of Square Enix entering the cloud-based gaming world comes not long after OnLive, a pioneer in cloud gaming, announced its restructure. Kotaku reported that OnLive executives had gutted employees' benefits and stock option packages, which led to the company being more attractive to potential buyers. Eventually, OnLive would be purchased by Lauder Partners, a group heavily invested in experimental tech, according to Forbes. Many of the employees who found themselves out of a job as a result of OnLive's difficult financial situation have received new offers from the restructured company, according to Neoseeker.
Microsoft was hot to begin courting former OnLive employees, posting an invitation to an employment mixer on Eventbrite. The current Xbox 360 makes use of cloud-based technology, and there is speculation according to Silicon Angle that the next Xbox could make use of Microsoft's Azure technology. If this is the case, then bringing on former OnLive staffers makes sense.
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Steve Perlman, CEO and creator of OnLive, stepped down in late-August not long after the company's restructure and sale was announced. In a Eurogamer article published around the time of the OnLive drama, Gary Lauder, head of the investment firm that purchased OnLive stated "Steve has created an extraordinary company that no one else could have created," said new chairman and owner of the investor firm, Gary Lauder. "He is a unique entrepreneur and deserves his legendary status in Silicon Valley as a creator of groundbreaking companies."
Rogers commented on the OnLive drama, saying "I guess in some ways we've been travelling fast. There's been a lot written about the OnLive situation - often pioneers end up in a position where they get shot in the back."
Square Enix's Core Online gaming portal is powered by advertising, in that the more advertising you watch, the more game time you accumulate. There are also tiered levels of entry for players including the options to pay per level or unlock the entire game, according to Eurogamer. While this is certainly an interesting way to present media to the player, Phil Rogers equates the model to services like Hulu or On Demand programming, "frankly speaking some people say, 'I could love this, play for free and watch adverts, why not, I do it with TV.' Other people can't think of anything worse. I think that sort of binary reaction is something that we have to expect from an industry where there's increasingly choice and more opportunities for people."