Williams, GarageGames CEO, and Yang, GG Networks General Manager, said in an interview with Develop that the intense focus on casual gaming has left the core demographic unserved, a situation exacerbated by the growing development costs of AAA titles and the resulting high prices of the final product. "They've not been served," Yang said when asked whether gamers were being "left in the cold" by casual game development. "But even if they were served before, innovation has declined rapidly in the industry over recent years, and budgets are so large now that you can't really take risks, so we're seeing the same games over and over again."
One of the advantages of GarageGames' InstantAction service is that it opens up core gaming opportunities to people who can't afford the equipment costs usually associated with high-end gaming. Virtually any browser-equipped PC can use the service and its games, and InstantAction also has plans to expand to the Mac in the near future. It's a system they claim is also proving attractive to developers.
"Some of the teams we're working with are just three or four devs from the triple-A industry who are sick of being one of a hundred people grinding it out on a big project for two or three years," said Williams. "They're sick of it, thinking making games isn't fun anymore - or at least not as much as it used to be - so we've got a few teams like this that can still make really core stuff, things they dreamed about making when they were kids, but with smaller teams and less time."
GarageGames is also trying to make the system financially lucrative for developers as well. "Part of the thing we're trying to do in working with developers in an advantageous way for them so that even if we fund the title the developer owns the IP, it's a good royalty rate, and that's good because we get developers who are really passionate about the game they're working on, and in turn that means they're going to produce better games," Williams added. "But compared to a typical publishing contract for a PC game, it's pretty rockin' for the developer."
The InstantAction portal, announced in September 2007, is designed to offer "compelling original action games" over standard web browsers with no downloaded or externally-installed software. The company began an open beta period in March, with Marble Blast Online, ThinkTanks, Cyclomite and Screw Jumper available for play immediately and the Tribes-inspired Fallen Empire: Legions set to follow. Williams said the company current has "20 games in the pipeline" at the moment. The full interview with Josh Williams and Andy Yang is available here.