OnLive's Perlman explains departure

First he was staying, then he left. Now OnLive founder Steve Perlman is explaining why he changed his mind.

In a note posted on an enthusiast Web site, Perlman said he decided to leave OnLive because he had other projects  he had neglected while focusing most of his attention over the last 10 years on the streaming game company. After helping guide the company through the bankruptcy-like process it went through earlier this month and into the hands of investor Gary Lauder, Perlman felt he was finally able to step away from OnLive.

“For me, the end of last week was the first time in a very long time where I could actually consider the possibility of moving on without having to worry about the company,” said Perlman, who served as OnLive CEO, in his note, which was posted on OnLivefans.com. “It’s hard to leave my creation behind, but there is also a huge sense of relief that I can finally step off the treadmill and know that OnLive is in good hands.” OnLive spokeswoman Jane Anderson confirmed that the note was written by Perlman.

Perlman’s explanation agrees with that given by OnLive on Monday when it announced his departure. The company said he was leaving to work on other projects. Perlman was not available for comment following the company’s announcement.

Neither OnLive nor Perlman specifically mentioned the projects on which he now plans to work. In addition to OnLive, he also runs Rearden Labs, a technology research and development firm that birthed both the streaming game company and Mova, an OnLive subsidiary whose motion-capture technology is used in movies and games. Last year, Perlman and Rearden announced a new wireless communication technology that purports to solve the problem of over-taxed WiFi hotspots and cellular towers.

Earlier this month, OnLive, which had outstanding debts of between $30 million and $40 million, went through an alternative to bankruptcy called an “assignment for the benefit of creditors.” Unlike a bankruptcy, the assignment process operates under state law and typically can be concluded in rapid fashion.

OnLive’s assets were assigned to Insolvency Services Group, which turned around and quickly sold them to a new company funded by Lauder. The new company has adopted OnLive’s name and has continued operating its services non-stop. All of OnLive’s approximately 200 employees were laid off as part of the assignment process, although the company later offered jobs to nearly half of them.

Perlman was expected to remain at OnLive following the transition. But the restructured company announced Monday that he was leaving. The company’s new leadership team includes Lauder as its chairman and Charlie Jablonski, the former vice president of operations, as its acting CEO and chief operating officer.

Troy Wolverton Troy Wolverton (252 Posts)

Troy writes the Tech Files column as the Personal Technology Columnist at the San Jose Mercury News. He also covers the digital media, mobile and video game industries and writes occasionally about Apple, chips, social networking and other aspects of technology. Previously, Troy covered Apple and the consumer electronics industry. Prior to joining the Mercury News, Troy reported on technology, business and financial issues for TheStreet.com and CNET News.com.