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Gamers Flock to IAC's InstantAction

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NEW YORK IAC's InstantAction.com, a Web-based gaming platform aimed at the hardcore gamer audience, which typically gravitates to Xboxes and PC games, has garnered 800,000 registered users since its March launch -- and is set to widen its potential audience by launching a version developed specifically for a less saturated gaming platform: the Mac.

Created by GarageGames, in which IAC acquired a majority stake last year, InstantAction employs a technology platform that reproduces the elaborate graphics and multiplayer functionality common to console or PC games along the lines of World of Warcraft or Halo.

To date, the site averages roughly 300,000 unique users, but has grown continuously since launch, particularly in regions outside the U.S. More that 60 percent of that traffic is international.

People are always going to want play games in front of their big screen TV," said Andy Yang, general manager of InstantAction.com. "But the traditional retail model is dying. The Web is the largest digital distribution platform in the world. Our mission is to bring video games to any Web enabled device. You can always be a URL away from playing a game."

And Apple's Macintosh platform is a key part of the plan.

"For our demo, the Mac is potentially dominant. The Mac is a very underserved gaming market. It's something big publishers haven't been focused on. Through our anecdotal research among users, one user usually has five good friends [that want to play games], and two of them have a Mac," said IAC svp Shana Fisher.

Besides reaching Mac users, plans are also in the works to expand InstantAction's reach through social networks like Facebook and devices such as the iPhone. "By the end of the year, we hope to have a million users," she said.
 
Currently, the site features banner ads from brands like Blockbuster and Monster.com, which are delivered via various ad networks. Down the road users will likely see more video ads.