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GameSpot Partnership Marks OnLive's First 'Large-Scale' Business-Facing Push

Streaming game firm OnLive said it partnered with GameSpot to let the gaming website's readers instantly play streaming game demos -- the first "large-scale" push for OnLive's B2B offering. [UPDATE: CEO comments.]
Cloud gaming company OnLive announced today a partnership with consumer games site GameSpot to position streaming game demos next to the site's reviews, allowing users to try games just after reading about them. OnLive CEO Steve Perlman told Gamasutra in a phone interview that the move is "in some ways the first large-scale announcement of OnLive's B2B [business-to-business] offering. The pieces have always been there, but it's such a new animal." OnLive is best known for its consumer-facing business, the OnLive storefront, from which gamers can buy and access full streaming games via an array of internet-enabled platforms. The company's wider push into the B2B side encroaches on the territory of cloud streaming company Gaikai, whose business-facing model provides game publishers with the technology to stream game demos to potential buyers. Gaikai-powered ads have showed up on sites including Walmart.com. Gaikai was unavailable to comment as of press time. Asked if OnLive has been in contact with retailers and other gaming sites about providing its tech for streaming games, Perlman said, "You'll be seeing announcements from retailers and other sites." OnLive has dabbled in embedded streaming games before, but on a smaller trial basis. On GameSpot, links to the OnLive versions of select games will appear right next to their corresponding review, and OnLive said that users will not have to download additional software or provide credit card data to access the demos. Currently, eight OnLive-enabled games are available for streaming via GameSpot, including Homefront, Splinter Cell: Conviction, Fear 3 (Multiplayer), Duke Nukem Forever, Borderlands, Just Cause 2, Batman: Arkham Asylum, and Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. "For as long as video games have existed, consumers have sought out information that helps them make smart purchases and get the most out of their gaming experience," said Simon Whitcombe, VP of games at GameSpot parent company CBS Interactive. "Now, the next big innovation is here: merging the editorial with the experiential." In addition, GameSpot notes that some of its video reviews and interviews will now be accessible via the OnLive platform. Recently, OnLive made its way into the retail space by including vouchers for a streaming version of Deus Ex: Human Revolution in every physical copy of the PC game (retailer GameStop rejected this strategy). The company also announced that it plans to expand its service into the UK starting September 22. [UPDATE: Added comments from OnLive CEO Steve Perlman.]

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