Good News, Bad News for OnLive Employees

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Onlive, the streaming game company, looks like it will survive in some form as it proceeds with an asset restructuring under venture capital firm Lauder Partners. While fully half of its staff will be hired back by the new venture, the other half are the big losers in the deal.

Lauder Partners will operate the company under the OnLive name. Late last week, all of its employees lost their jobs as well as their stakes in the business. However, about half have been offered positions, at current salary levels, with the reset company. The rest will be offered contract work in exchange for stock options. With additional funding, they, too, will reportedly be hired back.

But writing on SiliconBeat, San Jose Mercury News columnist Chris O’Brien said the deal leaves too many unanswered questions, and more transparency will be required to maintain the trust of both players and future investors. He pointed to email from VC Gary Lauder:

In the email, Lauder declined to say how much the new OnLive paid for the old company’s assets. He also declined to say how much money he invested in the new company, saying only that it has ‘more than enough (funding) until it has additional investors.’ OnLive has also not disclosed the assignee.

O’Brien says that’s not good enough:

If Lauder and the new owners of OnLive want our trust and support, they need to provide a stronger accounting of how this deal went down, how much money changed hands, and who owns and runs this thing.

OnLive’s service has been unaffected by the situation.

It’s not clear whether founder and CEO Steve Perlman — who was among those dismissed, and who has received no cash compensation in the deal — will be offered a contract with the new company. In some reports, Perlman has been blamed for OnLive’s predicament.

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