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InstantAction/GarageGames shuts up shop, loses all staff

Louis Castle's firm closes just three months after InstantJam launch

Browser games firm InstantAction has ceased to operate, taking with it both the Facebook rhythm game InstantJam and the company's eponymous streaming platform.

"Today, InstantAction informed employees that it will be winding down operations," said manager Eric Preisz in a statement.

"While we are shutting down the InstantAction.com website and Instant Jam game, Torquepowered.com will continue to operate while InstantAction explores opportunities with potential buyers for Torque."

The Oregon-based company, formerly known as GarageGames before its acquisition by holding company IAC/InterActiveCorp in 2007, was also behind the much-licensed Torque engine. This now finds itself head to head with Emergent's GameBryo engine in seeking a emergency buyer.

InstantAction has had a colourful three years since birth - originally offering a number of free-to-play games and a browser 3D engine (comparable to Unity's), before switching to offering game-streaming tech to third parties.

With only one project released via the latter, it then switched its attention to the Facebook-based Guitar Hero clone InstantJam, released in August.

Signs of trouble arguably emerged last month, when the sale of GarageGames' Tribes IP to Global Agenda developer Hi-Rez studios was revealed - despite previous assurances that InstantAction was planning on a new Tribes game itself.

Local newspaper The Oregonian reports that InstantAction had around 24 staff in its Portland studios, all of which have been laid off but will receive their last month's pay.

The company had apparently lost several staff over recent weeks, due to their concerns about InstantAction's future.

One of these was director of operations Alex Reid, who revealed to the paper that the firm had struggled to turn a profit from its products and technologies.

InstantAction had lately been represented by Westwood Studios co-founder Louis Castle, who joined as CEO last year. He told GamesIndustry.biz last month that the company was close to signing up several partnerships for its game-streaming platform.

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Latest comments (6)

Brett Walton MD, VGChartz Ltd6 years ago
That's pretty sad as I hear they only relocated last year so a lot of guys just moved to a new state and lost their jobs 12 months later...
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Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 6 years ago
:(

Good luck to everyone there.
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Sad news. However such outcome was predictable. Torque engine was unique product for years however it always lacked quality and by no means was able to compete with AAA rivals. In deed after years and years of development T3D haven't gone far from its origins - Tribes 2 engine. It was acceptable when the price for the indie license was 100$, but when the T3D hit 1000$ tag it was the begging of the end.

Good luck to everyone affected.
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Show all comments (6)
Max Taha Project Lead, Lethal Concept, LLC6 years ago
As a Torque user I'm deeply saddened by this, but I must say that Garage Games jumped the gun with InstantAction and its publishing platform, especially when their flagship product, Torque3D, was still in Beta shambles. Plus, they spread themselves too thin with all the different engine iterations for several platforms in order to compete with Unity.

I hope all ex-GG/IA find new studios and jobs soon.
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Evan Managing Editor, Brave New Gamer6 years ago
Sad news indeed. And it wasn't just the loss of Tribes that made everyone weary. They also lost their deal with Penny Arcade to host playgreenhouse.com, along with losing an MMO from Mad Otter. All within the span of a week(roughly). As a member of their community for over 2 years, it's really sad to see this happen, but at the same time not entirely shocking given recent events. The employees, at least the community managers, really felt they'd get out of this rough spot. It's a damn shame things didn't turn around.
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Oliver Jones Software Developer 6 years ago
I think GarageGames is still an opportunity for a wise investor. Particularly as a middleware platform for Mobile and Browser based games. Hopefully someone snatches it up for a bargain and continues it on.
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