TorquePowered and InstantAction are shutting down

Shocking news this evening : TorquePowered just announced that its partner company will be shutting down, and that they are seeking for a buyer.

InterActive Corp has been creating some very big waves recently in the technology landscape as they are reviewing their business. After a period when the company was buying as much companies as it could in an effort to differentiate its portfolio, that strategy has changed. It seems IAC now wants to focus on a limited number of assets, and the ones that aren’t in the core portfolio have to go. And going in this case means being sold or closed down.

I’ve always had doubts about the reasons for which IAC bought Garagegames. True, IAC has some game properties (like retrogamer and Ask!Games), but that’s not quite the same as managing a company that develops game engines. I guess the real reason was InstantAction, as the original goal of that service was to offer browser-playable games through a plugin.

What happened with InstantAction? Nobody outside of the company knows.

After a web launch that went quite smooth, suddenly the site disappears and remains for a long time inaccessible. When the new InstantAction site appears, the company now has a totally different business model of online game distribution. At about the same time, game distributor Greenhouse is incorporated in InstantAction.

That new business model pitches InstantAction against the industry behemoth of Valve’s Steam, and also against a plethora of other distribution systems like Direct2Drive and Impulse. A very difficult market. The InstantAction site wasn’t overflowing with news, so I guess that business model didn’t yield the returns that were expected.

As TorquePowered was part of InstantAction, they are impacted as well. On 11 November, at around 10 am, the TorquePowered team was informed that InstantAction would cease operations, and that a buyer would be sought for TorquePowered.

I hope a buyer turns up that keeps the business model alike. It would be a shame to see the technology become proprietary and internalised by a studio that wants only the technology. There are so many cool community members, and there is such a wealth of knowledge on the community, that it would be a real waste.

On the other hand, a Blender scenario would be great for all parties involved. Have the community buy the rights away from IAC and release the source code to the public. That would be a huge step forward for the indie and amateur game ecosystem.

Still, this must be a huge blow for the people that have been working very hard to advance the great technology that T3D is. I hope it turns out well for all of them, as this is just a business decision, not a negative verdict on the work and the technology.

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