Barry Diller's Interactive Corp. announced tonight that it is taking majority share of Eugene, Oregon based GarageGames, a company that shepherds independent online game developers to market. IAC will place GarageGames at the center of an innovative project called InstantAction.com - due for release early next year. InstantAction will include a fund to publish games and will begin accepting applications from developers on Tuesday. This according to the Wall St. Journal, who reported first on the move. The price IAC has paid isn't being disclosed. Independent game lovers can take heart, the company tells us that IAC has taken zero positions on the GarageGames board of directors and will support the company's original mission with an infusion of cash.
InstantAction will be a continuous social gaming environment, where users can move from one game to the next without web page reloads or leaving the basic environment in any other way. User profiles will be carried from one integrated game to the next.
GarageGames was founded in 1999 and currently offers developers a 50/50 revenue split. The new infusion of cash will enable outright payment of developers and an expansion of the small company's international outreach efforts. GarageGames staff is already traveling around the world to meet with local game development communities and bring those developers into the fold. They also employ social media heavily, see the company blog for more on that.
There is no shortage of competing game development community sites and GarageGames isn't alone among startups targeting User Generated Content, either. Kongregate, for example, is a Flash site for social or casual games and has taken $5million in VC funding. While Kongregate offers some social features and is a great company, GarageGames is arguably a more full-service shop - in addition to distribution the company offers a game development engine called Torque and does extensive in-house game development. GarageGames also fosters development across several different platforms, including the Nintendo Wii. For more information about GarageGames check out this extensive interview on gaming blog Destructiod.