Former InstantAction CEO: Company didn't make money fast enough

Why did InstantAction get shut down? That's a question that's been hanging over the industry since its parent company, IAC, made the decision to close InstantAction's operations last November. It's former CEO Louis Castle, now the new VP of Studios at Zynga, has finally spoken on the reasons behind the closure of InstantAction to IndustryGamers.

In short, Castle said that the company, which was trying to push technology that would embed high end games into web sites similar to Flash web videos, wasn't making enough money for its parent company IAC. He states, " ... 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."

He added, "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." The game engine part of InstantAction was successfully sold off and is now a separate company under its original name of GarageGames.

GarageGames revived; new owner of Torque game engine business found

October 2010 saw the shutdown of, the streaming/embed game publisher. However the company's Torque engine game business stayed operational while it tried to find a new owner. Today it was announced that new owners have indeed been found and the Torque game engine business will continue under the game company's original name GarageGames. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The newly revived GarageGames is now owned by Graham Software Development and will continue to support and update the many Torque game engine and development tools. The company has also lowered the price of all of its tools to just $99 each for a limited time. In a post on the company's web site its mentioned that the company will remain in Las Vegas and is currently hiring.

Fallen Empire: Legions to be revived as Legions: Overdrive

Last month, Hi-Rez Studios bought the rights to the Tribes series of games from just before the latter company shut its doors. Now comes word that another game owned and operated by could be getting a new life as well.

It's Fallen Empire: Legions, the "spiritual successor" to Tribes that was released by's first incarnation as a free-to-play browser-based multiplayer shooter. A group of the game's loyal community members reached an agreement with to obtain the source code for the game. The team plans to re-release the title as a stand alone game (no browser needed) under the new name of Legions: Overdrive. The team is already signing up people to beta test the game but there's no word yet on when the game will get its re-launch. to shut down; Torque game engine business to continue for now, the heavily hyped browser based PC game service, is shutting its doors. In a post on the message board (owned by InstantAction) its director of operations Eric Preize stated, "Today, InstantAction informed employees that it will be winding down operations." It's currently unknown how many people are affected by the shut down of the company which had offices in Portland, Oregon and in Las Vegas. was formed in 2007 as a subsidiary of from the now former GarageGames as a web-based PC game site with a number of original 3D titles that ran in a browser. In 2009, Louis Castle, the founder of Westwood Games, came on board as the company's new CEO. Under his leadership's business model switched to support games that are embedded to web sites like Flash-based videos. It released two games that used that technology (The Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition and its own game Instant Jam) before today's announcement.

The company, whose parent is internet conglomerate IAC, has continued to support and develop GarageGames' Torque game development tool business throughout these changes to its business models. In his message today Preize stated, " will continue to operate while InstantAction explores opportunities with potential buyers for Torque." Last month Hi-Rez Studios purchased the Tribes game rights from for an undisclosed amount.

[Via Gamasutra] presents embeded version of Monkey Island SE

After nearly two months of inactivity , the web site actually has a game to play on it. As promised, the browser based gaming web site is moving slowly into its next phase by releasing LucasArts' The Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition. The big difference between the version and the one that's already available for download is that this port can be embeded onto web sites and even your Facebook page. Yep, just like a Flash video.

We would actually put the embeded version on our site but unfortunately there are three fixed widths to choose from and none of them fit in our layout. However you can head to the site to see it for yourself. The embeded version is for Windows PCs only (sorry Mac owners) but it does allow you to play the game for free for 20 minutes. You can then buy the full game for $9.99. to offer rent-to-own downloadable PC games

The web site has still not relaunched yet but the browser-based PC game web site is starting to reveal more about the kinds of features they plan to introduce when they come back online. The latest video blog from the team has revealed that will offer the ability for publishers to have their PC titles be available on a rent-to-own basis.

Basically the idea is that some PC games on the site can be downloaded and purchase for a small fee to play for a certain time period. If the player decides he or she wants to play the full game they can go ahead and pay for the full price tag minus what they have already paid for or they can simply wait and pay in increments until they finally do own the game. Details on how this system will work are still being worked out. The video blog states it will be up to the publishers of the games to decide if they want to use the rent-to-own feature and what prices and time limits they will set for each game.

So does that mean there won't be any free game demos on the site? In an addendum on the video blog post, the company states, "We plan to offer demos as well as rent-to-own." Unfortunately there's still no word on when will relaunch.

Release of free browser version of Tribes still up in the air

Some of you may remember that over a year ago GarageGames and its business announced that they had purchased the Tribes IP rights. They also announced plans to offer the original Starsiege: Tribes multiplayer shooter as a free game via the browser site. They even showed a beta of the browser version running at PAX last September.

Since then, however, there's been little news on the progress of bringing the version of Tribes to the public. In a recent video blog on the blog site, reps from the company state," . . . we absolutely want to do these things but we have to take care of ourselves (InstantAction) first)." is still in transition as of the time of this post; the main site is still down as they move to a streaming game business model. However the the video blog gave no clear idea of when will be back in operation, nor when the promised Tribes release will take place. You can check out the video blog after the jump.

GDC 2010: Gaikai streaming PC game service to be free

OnLive's announcement on Wednesday that their streaming online service will cost $14.95 a month when it launches (not including rental or full payment for the games) took a few folks by surprise. However the folks behind one of its main rivals Gaikai told our sister site Joystiq at GDC today that there will be no such monthly fees to use their own service.

As we reported earlier today, is partnering with Gaikai to use their tech to offer streaming PC games that can be embedded to any web site. Gaikai's founders also said they will have streaming servers at a whopping 300 locations in the US. In addition they say they have got deals with local broadband providers to put in servers at another 900 locations nationally. But when will all this actually go live? Unlike OnLive, who said their service will launch on June 17, there's no word yet on Gaikai's launch date.

Westwood Studios founder now CEO of InstantAction

InstantAction, the browser-based action game developer-publisher, is getting some high-powered new leadership. IndustryGamers is reporting that Louis Castle, the co-founder of Westwood Studios, is joining InstantAction as its new CEO. Castle has been at publisher Electronic Arts since Westwood Studios was bought by the publisher and has spent most of his time at the company's Los Angeles dev studio.

IndustryGamers is also reporting that InstantAction, formed in 2007 by indie game developer-publisher GarageGames, is leaving its long time headquarters in Eugene, Orgeon and splitting up into two separate offices. On is located in Portland, Orgeon and the other is based in Las Vegas where Castle will be based (and where Westwood was once located by the way). This story is still developing and we hope to get more info on InstantAction's transition later this week.

More info on InstantAction's port of Tribes; GarageGames now owns Tribes IP

On Tuesday we reported that GarageGames was going to port the original Starsiege: Tribes game to work with their browser based game web site. Today the site's official blog page has some more info on this new development.

The big news: GarageGames does indeed now own the Tribes IP. It bought the rights from Activision Blizzard late in 2008. Previously all Tribes games were published by Vivendi Games but, as with many game franchises absorbed in their merger with Activision last year the management team decided not to move forward with any more Tribes titles.

The original Kotaku story, however, was wrong in saying the game will have upgraded graphics. However it does support modern file formats. It will also be distributed as a stand alone game but can also be played via the browser site. More info on the port is expected to be announced next week.

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