Netflix revealed today that they are acquiring the cloud based OnLive gaming company for $1.1 billion. OnLive currently offers a free membership. Once you have the membership you can then purchase the rights to play individual games for a one time fee ranging in price or you can get play passes for multiple days or playpack subscriptions.
Netflix has stated that the Netflix branded online streaming of games will keep the OnLive interface intact, but will offer different pricing plans to be announced.
Netflix will be combining resources between OnLive and their own servers to provide even more quality to the streaming of the games. This teaming will also prove beneficial in the battle to get the licensing figured out for the OnLive cloud based Windows-on-iPad service (OnLive Desktop), which was recently tagged by Microsoft as violating licensing terms.
Netflix has indicated that the existing mini-console offered by OnLive for playback of video games on TV's will also support the playback of all Netflix content, making it an all in one multimedia device. There are some rumors that Netflix may try to offer playback of video games on existing game consoles (where movie streaming supported), but some manufacturers may try to block this feature.
This move by Neflix is possibly Foolish, given their past moves such as with Quickster.
The Tech-Stew Take Home **Update**
Well as you might have guessed from the last line of the main article... APRIL FOOLS!. This topic does make good fodder for discussion or in a future podcast. There could be many negative side effects to such a merger if it were to happen. The first would be less competition. Less competition usually leads to less quality in a product. With Netflix being the only major streaming company around right now, there is not much room for competition. Sure there is Hulu and Amazon, but in the big market, Netflix leads the way as of now. Verizon is to have streaming of their own soon, so is Comcast with Xfinity Streampix, but that's for Comcast customers. I think most would say that OnLive remaining a solo act, is a good thing for the time being, especially as they begin to move into other areas outside of just gaming, such as their service called OnLive Desktop that runs Windows on iPad and even streaming movies.
As we move into next generation consoles, we will see more of a shift towards downloading the games (possibly the only way to get new content), but that is downloading, not so much streaming as of now anyway. OnLive graphically is already pretty good, not quite as close as top end PC graphics on a stand-alone-machine, but very playable. OnLive is leading us into this new frontier of streaming games and with a bit more time, it will become an even more solid platform for the future. At any rate, Happy April Fools 2012 to everyone.
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