Since OnLive’s unveiling a little over a year ago, we have been inundated with requests to introduce the OnLiveŽ Game Service in Europe. Literally, not a day has gone by without requests pouring in. And, from the day we opened up sign-ups for OnLive’s US Beta testing—making it very clear the sign-ups are for US-only testing by gamers with a US zip code—a huge percentage of the sign-up requests came from gamers from European locations who used popular US zip codes to try to get into the US Beta (indeed, we had more sign-ups using zip code 90210 than the actual population there).
We got the message.
So, for all of you Euro gamers who have asked about OnLive, I have some very good news: OnLive is coming to Europe in a big way. Secretly OnLive has been operating a test site in Europe from a BT (British Telecommunications plc) data center in Wales since 2009. And I’m happy to report, that over the European Internet infrastructure, OnLive is AWESOME. We’ve tested OnLive across all of Western Europe spanning from the UK to Italy and from Scandinavia down to Spain.
Today we are announcing that BT, the largest broadband operator in the UK, has formed a partnership with and has made an investment in OnLive. We’ll be working together with BT to bring the OnLive Game Service to the UK, such that it operates reliably and with high quality over the UK’s Internet backbone to BT’s broadband customers. BT has an exclusive right to bundle the OnLive Game Service together with their broadband service offerings in the UK, although UK gamers will also be able to order the OnLive Game Service directly from OnLive to run over any UK ISP.
I know everyone would like the exact details of when OnLive will be available in the UK, but we are not announcing dates just yet. We’re completely focused on our US launch this summer. Once we get the US service up and running, we’ll be sharing more details, including when we’ll be starting a UK public Beta (with UK postcodes, no less). One thing I can say is when we do launch in the UK, gamers will have the benefit of everything we’ve learned from the US launch, as well as the latest OnLive features. Also, unlike the US launch, where we are ramping up with PCs and Macs, then introducing the OnLive MicroConsole™ HDTV adapter later, the UK will launch on PC, Mac and HDTV from the get-go. Still, I’d like to make it very clear that we still have a lot of work to do before we launch in the UK.
What’s great about Western Europe geographically is that so many countries are within a 1000 mile (1600 km) radius, which is within the latency limit for a single OnLive data center. For a technical explanation see Beta Testing at the Speed of Light. This means that all gamers in Western Europe can play multiplayer games together through OnLive. It will be pretty amazing.
Lastly, we’ve designed OnLive from the start to be a global service. Community features of OnLive work fine at any distance through the Internet, so this means US and Euro gamers will be able to spectate and chat with each other, and check out each other’s user profiles and Brag Clips™ video captures.
We’re really excited about OnLive’s potential in Europe, and looking forward to kicking it off in the UK through our partnership with BT.
—Steve Perlman, OnLive Founder & CEO