In his keynote to the recent IndieGamesCon, GarageGames CEO and CTO Josh Williams talked about the company's past, along with his involvement in its growth and development, and what the recent acquisition by IAC would mean for the future of Torque, InstantAction, and its work with the independent development community.
Williams, at 27 years old, is one of the industry's younger CEOs, first learned about the company as a 19 year old finance student in 2000, interested, he says, because he was a "big Tribes guy."
Though he originally tried to apply to Dynamix at that point, it wasn't until after the creation of GarageGames that he returned in 2003 for an internship. There he worked as an unpaid intern writing documentation and then working with external developers to get their tools and other products on the company's website. After that, he moved to the Torque 2D development team and worked on the Torque programmers guide.
Referring to the IAC buyout, Williams said that he thought the company thus far was "able to demonstrate it hasn't changed us as far as our goals and culture. I think we can show we haven't sold out." He listed a number of the developments from the past few years developing new products, acquiring companies such as Brave Tree and doubling its size twice, and said "what we try to be vigilant about is 'are we staying true to ourselves during these changes.'"
Williams said the company had worked for seven years "bootstrapped with nothing but sweat equity," and needed an outside source of funding to do what it wanted to do with Torque.
"We were paranoid because when you take money from venture capitalists you're looking at the company being flipped in five to seven years or less," he said, "So we ignored a lot of offers."
Williams said GarageGames was "shocked" when IAC came to the company "along with a vision that matched ours for InstantAction. They're really smart and they also recognize they don't know our industry. They wanted to find a team that could run without them needing to manage it. So we baked it into the deal and its part of the overarching strategy."
"The way its structured is that we have a fund we manage to do investment in our technologies. We have a fund for InstantAction and a fund to develop games internally or externally, and manage it the way we want," said Williams.
"We have a multimillion dollar fund to build innovate games that run in the browser, and we're funding them on the most developer friendly terms we can where you own the IP," he continued.
"You don't get an advance, you get a development fund and then get royalties from day one at a decent rate. We can work with folks who have developed prototypes all the way down to folks with a good design doc and a history that convinces us they can produce," Williams concluded, "That's incredibly rare."