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back to article HTC takes another punch to the wallet, loses $40m OnLive investment

Taiwanese phone-maker HTC has just seen the $40m it shovelled into an internet gaming company go up in smoke. HTC [2498 Taiwan] invested in OnLive in February 2011 as part of its push into the gaming space. The American gaming company offered console-free cloud-gaming, and HTC bought the 5.33 million preferred shares in OnLive …

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Dear HTC

Please stop investing in useless gimmicks such as Beats and OnLive (though I find the latter phenomenal, it's not needed on a phone) and please concentrate on making awesome phones.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dear HTC

Yep, and that's "awesome phones" not "floods of poorly differentiated and increasingly mediocre phones". My HTC Desire was pretty much the best there was when it came out- when it died recently, I really could see nothing that made me want to go HTC this time around.

(Also, Beats.. sheesh, least said, soonest mended. Monster, of the scamtastic cables and now overpriced headphones with sound so T+A that Katie Price would consider it crass..)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dear HTC

The reason I DID go HTC: their stuff for the most part works. All of my Samsungs have been riddled with firmware issues. GPS that was super flakey, phone radio that was flakey, etc.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dear HTC

"their stuff for the most part works" is not my experience with the Wildfire. It crashes regularly in poor reception areas and the whole display is often unresponsive, and that is after factory reset and minimal stuff installed. And don't get me started on the POS that is their Windows-only updater.

So HTC maybe you should concentrate on making *good* phones and then supporting the bloody things afterwards!

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Silver badge

Isn't vertical integration exciting...

Or is that the wrong tense.

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Silver badge

Looks like the naysayers were right.

The world just ain't ready for cloud gaming As for being ready in the future...it's still a crapshoot. But in some markets, there will always be a need for locally-run software: mostly in performance- and security-sensitive applications. Too bad games fall into the performance sector.

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K
Bronze badge

Re: Looks like the naysayers were right.

Its not suitable for hardcore gamers, but works well for casual gamers who don't want to splash out or care about lag.

But saying that, I'm am surprised that BT didn't snap them up, after all it'd bring some unique to their broadband offerings.

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Silver badge

Re: Looks like the naysayers were right.

For casual gamers a cheap app works fine, requires no internet connection (works on the subway) and you don't have to worry about a server outage.

How would Angry Birds be better if it was Cloudy?

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Silver badge

Re: Its not suitable for hardcore gamers

Have you taken a look at [url=http://www.quakelive.com/#!home]Quake Live[/url] ?

Of course, not all games can be done like that, but Quake pretty much defined hardcore gaming, and its fluidity is nothing less than astonishing. I used to play Quake III on my PC - and I had to upgrade its essential components to get proper framerate and nice visuals.

With Quake Live, okay, the tech is old, but heck, I'm playing that monster in a browser ! Without installing anything !!

Beats me how they do it, but they did it.

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A sign of things to come

If you're dumb enough to buy something which exists only in the cloud, then pray the company doesn't go tits up, or suddenly "restructures", or arbitrarily decides to restrict access to your content.

These sorts of services should be strictly for rental / subscription only where at least if they keel over you're only out a small amount.

IMO it should be a legal requirement for any service which operates a purchase based service to state clearly and in some standard format what exactly will happen in the even of the company's demise. One would hope such a measure would see more companies providing for that contingency, e.g. putting software licence keys in escrow so that people could download and play the copy locally if the cloud dies.

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FAIL

Re: A sign of things to come

It is worth pointing out that an awful lot of people would be caught in the same situation if Steam fell over / was resold.

No rights to the physical media, no rights to refunds, requirement to agree to the Steam subscription to access any of the paid, third party, content.

Just because [encrypted .exe] instances of the game are installed locally, doesn't mean that a whole heap of PC gamers aren't entirely reliant on a cloud-based gaming service, and a large number of them don't even know it.

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Silver badge

Re: A sign of things to come

The ability though to buy half life 2, years in the past for a PC, forget about it and then recently download the steam client for your Mac and have most the games (many games of course have no Mac port) you purchased years ago available on the new platform is very nice. Like finding cash in an old coat you forgot about. Kinda of torn on Steam. Yes its DRM but its the only one done even half way right.

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Silver badge

Re: A sign of things to come

"Just because [encrypted .exe] instances of the game are installed locally, doesn't mean that a whole heap of PC gamers aren't entirely reliant on a cloud-based gaming service, and a large number of them don't even know it."

A lot of PC games these days are beholden to the cloud EVEN WITH physical copies because most if not all of them require a phone home, either for activation or for verification. At least Valve is the trailblazer and has a robust system. The odds of it going down at this point are slim, and not even EA has Valve's level of online infrastructure.

Someone high up in Valve has said they'll convert all Steam copies to offline ones in the event Steam were to go down permanently. However, I'm still waiting for that statement to be put in writing.

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Silver badge

One example comes to mind

I bought Hellgate: London, a Microsoft Games For Windows thingy from EA.

Since then, EA has pulled the plug on the multiplayer servers, forcing me to play only the single-player part.

Microsoft and EA were behind this game, yet I have lost 50% of what I paid for back in the day.

Last I checked, neither Microsoft nor EA Games have declared bankruptcy, yet I can no longer play multiplayer on that game.

How's that for cloud reliability ?

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Silver badge

Re: One example comes to mind

Funny that one. Usually, multiplayer games on the PC are fun from dedicated servers that most players can run (or perhaps rent) themselves. Wonder why EA didn't take that route in this game?

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Anonymous Coward

So let me get this right...

HTC bought a large number of shares knowing they were locked in.

Startup company sat on their arses for 18 months and burned through HTC's $40 million plus I assume similar amounts from other investors. I presume they all had very expensive "habits".

Then when all the money is gone they lay off their staff and tell their investors to basically fuck off..

Or maybe they spent all the money on developing a serious product and this was their plan all along - i.e. it was a scam.

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HTC. We make phones that work.

Now, there's a novel idea. A commercial objective that, if fulfilled, means the revenue stream needs no boosting from expensive investments in stuff that has fuck-all to do with a device's useability and dependability.

Currently, my HTC Desire HD is back in the repair shop, being sorted yet again because of the now all-too familiar 'intermittent network connection failure, Emergency Calls only / intermittent No Sim Card Found' phenomenon.

Well, I say 'well-known'. HTC seems unlikely ever to admit to this particular problem. But then again, it has been very distracted, looking away into other things, none of which have anything to do with customer care or the obligation is has to a purchaser to provide something that actually works.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: HTC. We make phones that work.

Samsung are as bad - they are in denial about lots of problems with the S3.

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FAIL

HTC: We (don't) listen to our customers.

I bought a Desire S at about the time the One came out, and as a combined phone, mp3 player and camera I think it's pretty good. But it's been spoilt by the preloaded, hardwired software, particularly HTC Locations, which tries to send you to a premium navigation service every chance it gets. I also don't want a Facebook app on my phone, but that can't be uninstalled either, without rooting. Emails to HTC get a reply starting "we listen to our customers" followed by "no, you can't delete all that rubbish we put on your phone."

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Facepalm

Simple

Have a removable battery and MicroSD card and watch your sales go up.

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