Report Alleges That His Gaikai Obsession Crippled The Company
OnLive co-founder and recently-departed CEO Steve Perlman has issued a parting message of hope to the community, urging players to "please give the OnLive team a chance to regroup." However, a new report alleges that his fierce rivalry with Gaikai led him to make some incredibly poor decisions, scuppering deals that indirectly led to the company's bankrupcy/buyout/cynical employee equity grab last week.
"No doubt you have all heard the news that I have left OnLive," reads a missive to OnLiveFans.com. "Since Gary and I told you less than a week ago I was staying, I want to explain why I decided it was time to move on."
"While the last week’s reset was a difficult transition, Gary set up a well-funded new company in a go-forward position with all employees having an opportunity to participate, we had critical matters like healthcare in place—with financial support fellow employees arranged themselves—and we even partnered with other companies to set up job mixers and recruiters to help find new jobs. By the end of a very tough week, we had actually reached a point of stability."
"I’d like to ask everyone to please give the OnLive team a chance to regroup and get rolling again. It’s the same people who created the amazing stuff you’ve been enjoying over the years, and Charlie is the guy who’s kept the service running 24/7 since launch. No small feat."
It's a heartfelt plea and one that will doubtlessly resonate with fans of the cloud gaming service, but there may be another side to Perlman's departure. A new report from The Verge alleges that the ex-CEO became obsessed with Gaikai, who offered a similar service but concentrated on demos and marketing initiatives. According to several unnamed OnLive staffers, he shouted at David Perry at GDC 2009 so loudly that reps were forced to close the door and massively increase the music volume just to drown them out, and then proceeded to blacklist any games that Gaikai had secured first - including several major EA titles, The Witcher 2 and Ubisoft's entire back catalogue. If true, this effectively sabotaged OnLive's success based on rampant egomania.
“He went ballistic. We had to slam the conference room shut and crank up the music so people wouldn’t hear him,” one of the redundant OnLive staffers reportedly stated. “We were instructed in no uncertain terms to pull the EA games at the very last minute."
These sources also accuse Perlman of "obsessive micromanagement," "favouritism" and public dressing down of employees in front of their co-workers. "He would tell people they were stupid in front of the entire office," moaned another staffer.
It's difficult to verify these rumours, and since they're likely from employees made redundant by the recent shady buyout, it's likely that some serious bad blood has coloured their impressions of the controversial CEO. However, the report makes for an interesting if uncomfortable read nevertheless- and if true, Perlman's departure might be a case of good riddance.