Diller Speaks Geek

Barry Diller's consortium of leisure-based websites is getting its game on. IAC/InterActiveCorp (Nasdaq: IACI  ) is acquiring a majority stake in GarageGames.com, a website devoted to arming developers with game-making tools for all of the leading platforms.

At first glance, you'd think the catch seems out of place. IAC's properties include local social hub Citysearch and the Ask.com search engine. A Web-based promoter of indie developers would make more sense under the wings of Dice (NYSE: DHX  ) or Jupitermedia (Nasdaq: JUPM  ) , with their techie job-centric slants. Garage Games would fit in perfectly at CNET (Nasdaq: CNET  ) , home to both Gamespot and Tech Republic.

So what is Diller doing with an indie game publisher? Well, the two companies will now be teaming up to launch InstantAction.com, a website dedicated to rolling out Web-based games.

This makes more sense now. Diller's already got you if you need a review of a hot new nightclub, tickets through Ticketmaster, or a date through Match.com. But those sites can't reach the youth that are spending hours a day on their video-game consoles. Bringing them online with engaging titles is one way to get the joystick jockeys pecking away at their computer keyboards again.

Instant Action will also be launching a fund to help bankroll promising new developers. It obviously won't be enough to win over the key hires of video-gaming giants such as Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS  ) , Take-Two (Nasdaq: TTWO  ) or Activision (Nasdaq: ATVI  ) , but it may be just the ticket to get a cash-strapped developer on board with what should be a pretty popular website.

Why popular? Well, IAC owns sites including CollegeHumor.com and the social-event-planning Evite.com, which draw from the same target audiences that gamers come from. If it is able to redirect its community members toward the networked multiplayer games that will begin popping up on Instant Action, it's an easy way to create your own crowd.

Diller knows what he's doing, even if you think that you can blow him to bits in a multiplayer game of Halo 3 later this month.   

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