Wednesday, 29 August 2012

OnLive Updates

 OnLive's CEO Hits the Ol' Dusty Trail.

I promised to deliver news should the situation with OnLive have any developments, and yesterday there certainly was a major one. The CEO of the company, Steve Perlman, exited the company which he founded. OnLive's current owners, Lauder Partners, LLC have replaced Perlman and done some slight restructuring of the company, as outlined here:

"OnLive announced that investor Gary Lauder, who stepped in to save the company from bankruptcy earlier this month, would be taking over as chairman of the video game streaming company. Charlie Jablonski, who formerly headed up OnLive’s operations, would become the company’s chief operating officer and acting chief executive."

This came out of the blue, as previously to this it had been stated that Perlman was slated to remain CEO of the company. Lauder Partners has made assurances that it would be business as usual at the new OnLive, but behind the scenes it seems to be quite a different story, one that sheds light on a good deal of the circumstances behind Perlman's departure as well.

A lot of the employees of OnLive were quite angry about what happened. No doubt because they had been shown the door with little to no indication that everything was about to come crashing down around them. The misgivings haven't been focused on Lauder though, but rather on Perlman, who many believe could have taken earlier steps to save the company from floundering. This article, while long and also somewhat biased, does have a damning outline of events that occurred through the downward spiral of the company. Said article is also where this tidbit of information comes from:

"The question is what happens now. The new OnLive says it hired nearly half the staff back and intends to continue the business as if nothing happens, but employees dispute that, stating that only around 60 employees got rehired, and a number of them only on 30-day contracts. Sources tell us that critical departments got scuttled, including the teams responsible for onboarding new games. It seemed like the company brought on a skeleton crew to keep the ship running while it preps the company for a sale. Then, something strange occurred. Employees convinced the new owner, Lauder Partners, to let Steve Perlman go and put employee-friendly former head of operations Charlie Jablonski in charge."

It seems that many employees would be willing to work for OnLive as long as Perlman was no longer the one helming it. It seems possible that in the face of pressure from employees and perhaps also taking a look at some of the history that lead to Lauder's acquisition of OnLive, the group simply decided that it would be a good idea to let Perlman go as a way to mollify current employees as well as make former ones consider coming back.

Perlman says that he has plenty of other projects to work on, and there is no doubt that the man is quite skilled, but at the same time it seems that his skill also had a habit of making him difficult to work with and find middle ground. With his departure and of course the new backing, I wonder if OnLive will find any greater success than they have in the past. At this point it seems unfortunately frank that any success at all would likely be an improvement.

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