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Pip-pip, OnLive reaches agreement with BT, launching in Europe eventually

Tim Stevens

We're still about a month away from OnLive dropping the green flag for American gamers who want to stream their games over the internets, but already the company is looking to colonize. It has reached an agreement with BT that sees the artist formerly known as British Telecom acquiring a 2.6 percent stake in exchange for exclusive rights to bundle the OnLive service with broadband packages. However, this startup doesn't like to be tied down, so will still be offering its unique abilities on the side to anyone with a fat enough pipe -- that's download speeds, dig? OnLive isn't saying exactly when its service will launch in the UK (or anywhere else in Europe, for that matter), just that the company is "completely focused" on the US release first. As well it should be; it has some mighty skeptical gamers to win over.

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BT Agrees commercial partnership and investment with OnLive Inc.

BT has entered into a commercial partnership with OnLive Inc., a Silicon Valley based, cloud computing video gaming business, which gives BT exclusive rights to bundle the OnLive® Game Service with broadband in the UK. In conjunction with the commercial partnership, BT has taken a 2.6 per cent shareholding in OnLive Inc.

The revolutionary OnLive® Game Service is a new way to purchase and play video games, which are streamed over the internet, using video compression technology, so the customer can just connect and play. There is no need to wait for games to be downloaded, they run instantly.

It delivers the latest games from many of the world's leading publishers direct to a customer's TV, PC or Mac. OnLive works over a wired broadband connection and customers do not need high specification computers to use the service as the complex processing work is done at remote data centres.

OnLive unveiled their service in March 2009 after seven years in development and it officially launches in the US this summer following a successful beta trial. BT will announce further details about its launch plans later this year.

The move by BT into cloud gaming enhances what the company already offers in the entertainment area with BT Vision its on-demand digital TV service.

Gavin Patterson, CEO of BT Retail, said: "Entertainment is going to be at the heart of what we offer customers in the future. The partnership with OnLive complements our existing BT Vision service. It's great for our customers - they'll have access to a huge catalogue of games, available instantly on their TV or PC without expensive hardware. And it's great for BT - it will enhance our premium broadband position and we'll be entering into a market that's worth more than £2billion."

Steve Perlman, CEO of OnLive, said: "The UK market is extremely important to OnLive and our videogame publishing partners as we expand into Europe. We view BT as the ideal UK partner. As gamers are moving increasingly to online game distribution, OnLive delivers video games as a pure form of online media, playable instantly on almost any video-capable device attached to the internet. The implications are nothing short of transformative to video games and in time, all interactive media. OnLive is delighted to be pioneering this revolutionary technology in the UK together with BT".

Enquiries about this news release should be made to the BT Group Newsroom on its 24-hour number: 020 7356 5369. From outside the UK dial + 44 20 7356 5369.

About OnLive

OnLive is the pioneer of on-demand, instant-play video game services, delivering real-time interactive experiences and rich media through the Internet. With groundbreaking, patent-pending video compression technology, OnLive harnesses cloud computing to provide the power and intelligence needed to instantly deliver the latest, high-end game titles directly via a sleek, inexpensive MicroConsole TV Adapter™, or on PCs and Macs via a small browser plug-in. OnLive technology is backed by over 100 patents and patents pending. The company is headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, and investors include BT, AT&T, Warner Bros., Autodesk and Maverick Capital. More information is available at

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