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But InstantAction uses a lightweight 150 kilobyte download that takes seconds to download just once over a broadband connection. Josh Williams, chief technology officer of InstantAction, said that the company worked on the technology for the past four years. The company launched a beta test in March, 2008, and has been working on the technology until now. There are 1.2 million users to date. Those users have played 11.4 million games and spend an average time of an hour and 35 minutes on the site with each visit.
The benefits of running a game in a browser are plentiful. Since players have to log in, their identities can be verified, eliminating game piracy. The company has free games now, supported by advertising. Games can be distributed digitally, bypassing retail. And players can access their games from any location, since all they have to do is log into the site from a browser on a PC or a Mac. The games can also be improved without requiring users to download lengthy updates.
The site also has a social network for gamers. You can add friends, chat, and create game parties which can jump from one game to another. Diller’s InterActiveCorp has $6.4 billion in revenues and a collection of web properties such as College Humor.
The proof will ultimately be in the pudding. Williams said that the games will have accurate physics, such as real-time collision detection, meaning that objects will behave the way their do in the real world, bouncing off each other and what not.
Andy Yang, general manager of InstantAction, believes that game developers can use the site and its tools as a test bed. They could try out a game concept on the site and see how fans like it. If they do, the developer could proceed with a high-budget version of the game. InstantAction has 100 employees, most of them working on the technology platform and some working on games.
It remains to be seen if InstantAction can really meet the quality bar that gamers expect when you tell them that they can play a game in 3-D. I played Ace of Aces on the site. It was fun, but it didn’t really meet the bar on high-quality 3-D graphics for me. It almost felt like I was playing a game from a decade ago.