Torquepowered is dead, long live GarageGames

2 weeks ago by now, the Torque user community woke up under a new reality: the buyers of the Torquepowered part of InstantAction were revealed, operations restarted, and the old ‘GarageGames’ name was assumed again.

The acquiring company, mentioned very briefly and only once in the takeover announcement, is the kind of buyer most of the Torque licensees were hoping for : a games-related company that is more interested in sustained growth and a compatible business plan with that goal, than quick wins or a cash-and run strategy.

New Torque pricing

The indie aspect of the takeover has been made very clear by the new pricing policy: the $1000 Torque 3D engine license has been lowered to $99 for the time being, and the binary-only license is no longer available. The goal of this move is to restore community participation and momentum, and I think this might be a good move.

If you bought the engine at it’s former price, as I have along with many others, I see no reason to be angry. Some on the forums are. When I decided to get me a license at the $1000 price point, I considered it good value for money. The content of the package hasn’t diminished, so I got what I was promised, at a price I was prepared to pay for. No reason at all to be angry.

Sacrifices

Of course, there have been some sacrifices as well.

  • Torque X development was halted, and the engine will no longer be available after 28 February 2011.
  • Most of the games in the games store have become unavailable as of 1 February 2011 due to license issues that couldn’t be resolved in time. The contracts for the game distributions will need to be renewed, but that’s a matter for the lawyers now.

A fast recovery

The new pricing polics have already been followed by ArcaneFX, which slashed the prices of its ArcaneFX products line in half. The reasons given sound logical to me, You can’t expect people to shell out more for your addon that for the engine itself.

Feel the community

I’ve been very glad to see the GarageGames Survey. Eric Peisz is demonstrating good business sense, combined with a healthy dose of common sense. Instead of pretending that everything will be all right now that evil overlord IAC isn’t there anymore, he shows he is aware that the loss of feeling with the community played a large part in the recent problems.

Some people left the community during the difficult period at the end of 2010, and he wants to have a good grip on the type of community that’s there, and its expectations and needs.

Maybe it’s just because GarageGames is turning back towards the community that we now see these things. I do hope this survey will be done regularly, letting the community steer the general direction of its beloved engine.

The future

Even if I can’t look into the heads of the people at GG HQ (not yet at least, I’ve just ordered my crystal ball), I see great potential for the future. A new pricing policy, focusing on less but better engines, involving the community, a healthy and responsive ecosystem of addon developers and a community that is more vibrant and living now that during the last two years.

These are all elements that make me believe we haven’t seen the last of Torque or GarageGames. And I’m glad for that.

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