Every year, QuakeCon is John Carmack’s celebration of his technology and the games that the entire id Software team creates within it. Tom’s Games had the chance to sit down with John Carmack for a brief chat regarding Rage, id Software’s upcoming game slated for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
While digital distribution is an attractive option for publishers, developers and some gamers, Rage isn’t going to be an ideal candidate for that model. “It will be harder, because this is going to be a larger distribution; we’re at least at two DVDs and on the PC we might choose to be three DVDs to match what the game will look like for the PS3,” said Carmack. “So that makes for a pretty damn big download. I wouldn’t say it’s an optimal game for digital distribution, and I don’t think it’s a high-level strategic question.”
As primarily a developer on the PC, few know the shifts in the industry as well as id Software. Constantly are doom-and-gloom reports about how the PC is falling to the wayside of consoles, some even blaming piracy. Carmack isn’t so convinced: “Well, it’s hard to second guess exactly what the reasons are. You can say piracy. You can say user migration. But the ground truth is just that the sales numbers on the PC are not what they used to be and are not what they are on the consoles.”
Never is the shift from PC to console more abundantly clear than when Carmack asserts, “We still think the PC is a market worth supporting, but we’re not making decision around the PC. It’s probably more of the junior partner in the cross-platform strategy, although obviously, our day-to-day development is predominately on the PC.”
Such comments are hard to swallow for die-hard PC gaming faithful, but some may be able to find a little comfort in id Software’s dedicated to the open platform – at least for the foreseeable future.
“We certainly expect Rage and the Doom project on the PC. We’re contractually obligated to have Rage on the PC, and I would be stunned if we did not do Doom 4 for the PC,” Carmack added. “It would just be wrong. Even if it was a marginal business case, we would still do it because it’s the right thing to do.”