The Uninitiated and SLGO

Many of you would have been hearing about the demise of OnLive, a online streaming service for games. It’s even been in the news in the gaming circles I run through (I’m not one for Second Life) as OnLive was one of the first major set-ups for game streaming. A popular OnLive game,  Gaikai, was bought by Sony, ironically enough, and became Playstation Now. For those that have no idea what is going on, here is a quick brief…

OnLive was a subscription based game streaming company. Thegame files were installed and played on their computers, then the video signal of the game was streamed live to you to play it through the internet. It sounds like this sort of system wouldn’t work and in its early days, back in the early 2000s it didn’t, Onlive was originally set up in 2003 but didn’t release any content until 2009-10.  High end server gaming systems were expensive to get and maintain in those days and the internet service weren’t great either. .

So, returning to the present day, what happened to OnLive? Well, that’s still being debated. OnLive just said that it had sold its computers to Sony, (most likely to be merged with Playstation Now). But why did it sell? The company just folded. The money slowly ticked away and one day the money pool was empty with no way to full it back up again. It wasn’t a screwing by financials like THQ or and explosive final moment of a company like 38 Studios. It came to work every day, did its job and worked pretty hard do it, then one day it just hands in its resignation and goes home.

Even the Gaikai (Playstation Now) head saidOnlive was a heck of a competitor to Gaikai, at every single turn we made different choices.

I have a lot of personal respect for the management at Onlive, I’m personal friends (from the past) with executives and staff there and I wish them the best of luck going forward.

With the end of OnLive, all of its proprietary technology is now useless, when the service ends all of its content will be gone.. Every single one because they are not on your computer and there is no way to download game files, unlike Steam were you download and install the game on your computer. A comment made on the OnLive website confirms this:

After April 30, 2015, our data centers will shut down and the service will be offline. All accounts will be closed, and all data deleted including game save data, achievements, and credit card data will be deleted. If you purchased a Steam game from OnLive, that game will still be available on Steam. No refunds will be available for any game purchases, hardware purchases, or subscriptions.” (OnLive.Com)

So what of SLGO? Well, SLGO was the streaming system that OnLive used to stream Second Life. That’s really it, it was only a front end for basically Second Life streaming. SLGO was developed by volunteers but people who wanted to use it had to get the OnLive subscription to use it. It did use their servers so they had to recoup the costs some how. It seems like SLGO was meant to become the feather in the OnLive cap, its the only application that got its own place on the sites banner bar,  but it was only released last year so it is possible it was just put on by a man already in the process of writing his resignation to use the previous analogy.

Now you know everything, time for the outsiders opinion (AKA my opinion) on the end of SLGO.

~ Will it end Second Life?

God no! Linden Labs is doing that fine by itself. Second Life seems to be going down hill right now, some may put it down to losing multiple CEOs, controversies surround its  ToS, and other issues.

~ Will people leave Second Life?

My few experiences with Second Life cemented the idea that it is extremely resource heavy. Even the bigger systems I’ve had chug playing it. So with the more consumer open and mobile version of ending, yes people are going to leave. The “SL Aristocracy” (as I put it) won’t because they all play on specially made PC’s. Not on streaming services. They have more control that way.

~ Does this, in the grand schemes, actually matter?

Well, no. The user base for virtual worlds can be divided into two groups, in my opinion. The first are those that live in that virtual world. The aforementioned “SL Aristocracy”. They own all the land, all the shops, are the ones in the real world press and they make bank. The second are the ones that more fluid. Those that come in and out and sometimes buy some land for some Minecraftein big project that after completion they just stop paying the rent for because something new has come up and they’d rather play that. That is the group that will go. Maybe they will come back. Maybe they won’t.

~ Why didn’t Sony want to keep SLGO going?

Sony had a virtual word called “Playstation Home” on the PS3 console. It shut down in full on 31st March 2015,  I think they’re still bitter. Or they see that virtual worlds, as they are now,  are a dying breed like me because they ended up closing PSHome as it was not profitable.

~ Will SLGO come back else were?

SLGO as a brand, no. Sony owns that and it is curtains for them. As something else, maybe but most likely no. SLGO was a volunteer project so the chances there will be something like it is small. I think it depends on whether Linden Labs thinks it’s worth making another front end so you can play on mobile. But as SL as it is makes regular computers sweat, I don’t think the chances are just small. I think it will never happen again. I can say that a solid prediction is that SL won’t be coming back to mobile platforms ever again. The only way they could is if they basically re-start SLGO and that is going to require getting a streaming company on board and no streaming company will because its too niche and too expensive.

The only people that are truly affected are the ones that don’t have decent end PC’s or just just have unstable internet. But those are problems that can be fixed in the real world. Your computer is bad? Get a new one if you can afford it, or campaign to Linden Labs for them to optimize their viewer so it can run to half decent standard on lower settings. You internet is bad? Yell at your internet provider because they are obviously crap. Unless you are with Time Warner/Comcast. Then I feel deeply sorry to you and my condolences.

Also I would like to note that I do know about the other Second Life mobile viewers, Lumiya and Mobile SL Gide Client, my opinion still stands. I was speaking about Linden Lab created partnerships and those who frequently use Second Life mobile viewers know, Lumiya and SLGide Client boldly say that Linden Lab have nothing to do with their viewers.

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