Hollenshead: id Tech 5 Will Not Be Licensed

Thursday at QuakeCon 2010, id Software co-owner and CEO Todd Hollenshead said that the company will not license out id Tech 5 to third party developers and publishers. This is a first for id Software, as it has licensed game engines without 3rd-party restrictions since the days of Doom (aka id Tech 1).

But things are different now. The infamous development studio is now part of the ZeniMax Media collective, joining the parent company's ranks last year. With that said, the latest id-developed game engine will be a ZeniMax/Bethesda exclusive, essentially making it unavailable to rival publishers and their associated developers.

"It's like, look, this is a competitive advantage and we want to keep it within games we publish - not necessarily exclusively to id or id titles, but if you're going to make a game with id Tech 5 then it needs to be published by Bethesda, which I think is a fair thing," he said in a recent interview.

Truth be told, only a handful of developers actually used an id Tech engine--Raven Software, Ritual Entertainment, Ion Storm, Valve Software, Gray Matter Interactive, Rogue Entertainment, Splash Damage and a few others. The list is miniscule when compared to Epic's Unreal Engine which comprises of an obscene number of developers, games and publishers.

"I think that [Epic] made a strategic choice to focus on the middleware service stuff, and we never pretended to be focused on technology licensing," he said. "It was that we made the technology for our games, and the philosophy was that with the one team the technology was wasted if you're just using it on one game, so we wanted to be able to license it out to a small number of developers."

"Epic's made a good business out of that so kudos to them, but I wouldn't change the way we've done things," he added.

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  • demonhorde665
    hmm are they tryign to hide something here ??? i wonder ,because doom 3's engine was heavily criticized for not handling exteriors well (ie frames dropped drastically in exteriors and they generally didnt look good in teh engine).

    hoenstly i think clossing out all chance of licensing this engine is a bone head move, as graphic power increased and dev times rise many more developers willstart lookign at licensing engines to cut back production cost and times, any one with a decent engine , will stand to make butt loads of money in the years to come,certainly more than what ID's mediocre FPSers will make alone.
  • icepick314
    but then again, do gamers actually CARE what game engine a particular game was made on?

    yeah it's exciting as far as technology is concerned but that's FAR down the list, at least for me, what kind of software was used...

    hell...I still have fun with L4D and L4D2 and those use Source engine that's 6 years old...
  • hellwig
    Just corporate pressure from a company that doesn't understand how things work (ZeniMax). Look at Atari, Activision, Vivendi, EA, Microsoft, etc.. etc.. They see these smaller companies with great IP and buy them up, then they completely try to change the way those companies work and end up destroying the IP in the process.

    This happens in all forms of business. Some small company, doing their own thing, becomes moderately successful. A much larger company, wanting to expand that success, buys the smaller company out then tries to incorporate the smaller company into their business management philosophy. The smaller company is suffocated and eventually dies. The larger company writes off the loss and moves on.

    I guess from the iD Tech engine perspective, if it wasn't a money maker, don't bother supporting it. At the same time, how much did it cost iD to support these licenses? Seems to me if you already have the engine, it costs nothing to license it. Like icepick said, gamers don't care what engine the game uses as long as the game is fun. Is ZeniMax really that afraid that other companies might use Tech 5 to create superior games to Rage and Doom 4 that they would lose money in reduced game sales as a result? Seems pretty far fetched to me.