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Castle: InstantAction could have been saved in under a year

Tue 08 Mar 2011 9:41am GMT / 4:41am EST / 1:41am PST
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But new Zynga VP doesn't blame parent company for stopping the cheques

Lou Castle, previously CEO of InstantAction and recently hired as VP of Studios at Zynga, has told press that he could have had the service on track to make money within a year, but understands the reasoning behind parent company IAC's decision to call time on the enterprise.

Speaking to Industry Gamers at GDC last week, Castle said that the company was slow to manoeuvre, especially when it came to technology involving social platforms, but was beginning to turn to the right heading.

"I think the concise answer to what happened was there were a substantial number of technological improvements that needed to be undertaken, quite a wide range of new functionalities that needed to be addressed for social networks. We had started to turn that ship, a big heavy cruiser going in a certain direction, and when I came on board I changed the course.

"I would say we were changing course, and we were definitely making strides, but we weren't changing fast enough, as it were. So, we became... I don't know if victim is the right word, but we certainly were affected by the fact that it was quite an expensive operation. We still had quite a ways to go, six months to a year, before we would be completely on track."

That cash shortage is not something which Castle feels was the fault of IAC, though. He acknowledges that the sort of overheads the project was generating were simply too high for the company to sustain.

"I can't blame IAC, which put a ton of money into the project. At that point in time they just said it would just be better for them to discontinue operations and take the write-offs, because they had a strong year, and not continue to play in a space that they weren't comfortable in.

"They're not EA, they're not a Zynga; they're not a group that's comfortable spending the kind of overhead to keep over one hundred people working on a project, with no real assurance of success, because you're doing something different. You can't say, 'this is what's going to happen.' That's the quick answer."

Just yesterday Castle was announced as the new VP of Studios at social giant Zynga. The projects he'll be supervising there are yet to be confirmed.

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