Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Monday, November 15, 2010

Instant Action, Gamebryo Shut Down

A couple of high-profile companies serving the game industry announced last week they are ceasing operations. Emergent Technologies, which has offered the Gamebryo middleware for a number of years, has decided to liquidate its assets and shut down. Their middleware had been used by many companies, including EA and Activision.

Lou Castle's InstantAction browser-based technology (which allowed to play Secret of Monkey Island, among other things) is also shutting down. They're looking for buyers for their Torque engine. It's too bad, because the idea was pretty cool: You could start playing a game right away without a lengthy download, and you could embed a pretty cool game on a website or a blog.

It's hard to tell from the outside why such efforts fail. Sometimes the idea isn't compelling, or sometimes they just don't have a revenue model that works (or works fast enough to overcome the initial capital outlays). Sometimes it's the structure of the company, or management issues, or just financial overreach.

I'm hoping that some buyers step forward and grab these technologies, because I think middleware is a very important part of the industry going forward. Middleware makes it easier for developers to bring creative game concepts to market and reduces development costs. InstantAction had some very interesting ideas that could bring gameplay to a much wider audience, and offer smaller developers ways to reach an audience and make some good money.

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