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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 website and Instant Jam game, 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 last month that the company was close to signing up several partnerships for its game-streaming platform.

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Alec Meer: A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.
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