InstantAction had okay-to-passable games, and a lot of micropayments for maps and such.

InstantAction, a website for browser-based games using the Torque engine, is shutting down.

“Today, InstantAction informed employees that it will be winding down operations,” wrote Eric Preisz, director of InstantAction’s Torque game engine operations on Torque’s community forum.

“While we are shutting down the InstantAction.com website and Instant Jam game, Torquepowered.com will continue to operate while InstantAction explores opportunities with potential buyers for Torque,” he added. “We thank all of our past and current customers for their support.”

Read the rest at Gamasutra. While it’s sad to see people lose their jobs, let’s hope this acts as a lesson for the plethora of browser-based games trying to make a living off micropayments. It can work, but it’s risky business and not the goldmine people think it is.

Old photo of Harmonix guys, for more recent photo just add tears and impending joblessness.

Harmonix, creators of the original Guitar Hero and Rock Band, is being sold off by its owner Viacom.  You can read the full story here. The reason for the sell-off most likely has to do with Rock Band 3 utterly tanking at retail. Combined with how badly all the various music-games are doing, it’s clear Viacom thinks there’s no more money left in it, aside from a trickle of sales from DLC for Rock Band.

Fallout and Oblivion are two examples of the Gamebryo engine.

Lastly, Emergent Game Technologies, creators of the Gamebryo engine that Bethesda is so fond of, is shutting its studio down. It’s unclear what Bethesda will do for an engine now, but probably they’ll go Unreal Engine. Read more about it here.