Steve Perlman Not Into Hardware
MARCH 15, 2010 • OnLive chief executive Steve Perlman told Joystiq magazine that he’d prefer not sell hardware for his game streaming service. OnLive will debut this summer via PC and Mac software. The Micro-Console, which is intended to bring the service to televisions, is currently in beta testing. Where TVs are concerned, Perlman would much rather deliver OnLive via cable set-top boxes. “We think the Micro-console is a cool thing, but we’d rather not have any hardware at all,” he said. “The fact that we have to sell a piece of hardware for the TV, if you will, takes us out of our core business.”
Impact: Not having to deal with hardware sales always seems to make good business. Making someone else take the hardware risk and piggybacking on distribution so that you can sell upgrade the user base on a software service seems to make sense. Unfortunately, the reality is without a hardware business you lose distribution control and, more importantly for a product like games, you lose the “Wow” factor that hardware provides. The idea of piggybacking on cable set-top boxes is clearly not a new one. The problem is it makes one dependent on the notoriously unreliable cable companies, who do not have that much of a vested interest in the success of a game product.