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Carmack on PC Gaming

id Software's John Carmack and Marty Stratton Talk Quake Live, PC Gaming, and More on Shacknews offers a Q&A with id Software. Topics include the accessibility being built into Quake Live (or QUAKE LIVE, as the case may unfortunately be), Carmack's regrets that id "didn't have the manpower to do something that would be what we would consider our best foot forward" for the new iPhone (wtf?), Rage, community support, and more. Of particular interest are Mr. Carmack's reflections on a changing landscape for PC gaming:

Yeah, I think that the PC definitely can't.. we can't go on making PC games like we used to. The combination of the dominance of the consoles, as far as market forces there, and piracy.. the traditional AAA, media-heavy boxed game that sells for a bunch of money, and goes out on the PC for a single player experience--it's just not happening. Even if we look at something that had such a push like Crysis, it didn't really do all that well.

While at id Software we're still certainly doing those types of AAA titles on [the PC platform], we have to look at it from a cross-platform product perspective on there, rather than being PC-focused like we used to be. I mean, all the way up to our last major title, which was Doom 3, we were a PC company. We made PC games, and we gave some thought to how they might be deployed on consoles, but that wasn't what we were fundamentally doing. And that has changed with this generation.

But still, there are some things that the PC does fundamentally better than the console. I mean, the internet interaction, as far as displaying and navigating large amounts of information on a website--while you have web browsers on consoles, they suck, you know, they're just not good. It's not like what you've got on the PC.

And from a first person shooter perspective, the keyboard/mouse interface is still just a lot better than a console interface. It's a much more direct position vs. integrating over time.. it's just plain better, and that's one of the things we want to cater to.

So there are strengths that the PC has, and we think Quake Live is very much playing to them. While given infinite resources, yeah, it'd be great to go ahead and do another technology showcase on the PC, because you've got a couple times the power in a modern high-end system than you do in a current generation console.

But it's just not feasible for us as a company to continue taking that route. So we are branching out into some different areas and diversifying a little bit, where we've got our id Tech 5, cross-platform, high-end stuff that we are pushing, and we've also got Quake Live and our mobile products.

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108 Replies. 6 pages. Viewing page 1.
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108. Re: ... Jul 18, 2008, 05:21 Paketep
 
(still about the 3 million)

A guy in here:

http://forums.gametrailers.com/showthread.php?t=421163&page=2

says:

I have the July issue of PC gamer and there is nothing in it about Crysis selling 3 million copies and others on PC Gamer forum have confirmed it to be fake. Maybe you can provide a link?

Damn, I'm going to end up buying PCGUK just to clear it up!

 
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107. Re: ... Jul 18, 2008, 05:17 Paketep
 
(about the 3 million)

I find that sales number hard to believe, as in the latest PC Gamer US issue Cevat Yerli says 1.5 million. You sure you're not mixing it up?

This is all I know:

On the latest PC Gamer UK mag, July 2008

PC Gamer Magazine had an exclusive interview with Crytek, where Crytek states Crysis has sold 3 million through retails sales worldwide.

That is a huge success for a game of such high requirements.

This interview can be found on page 27 of the PC Gamer UK Mag

I've seen it cited in several places and refuted in none. I bought PCGUK when I lived there, but sadly dropped my subscription a couple of years ago.

Anyway, I can believe that Crysis sold 3M given the visibility it has. And even if it was 1.5M, the 20:1 ratio is pure bullshit.

As for the hardware requirements, perhaps they weren't so high, but Crytek didn't exactly help by making them look higher, and I'll give some credit to Cevat Yerli for the misnaming of the graphic settings. They hurt.

But yeah, appart from the graphics, for me Crysis was more of the same. I like Far Cry a bunch more.

 
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106. Re: No subject Jul 18, 2008, 02:29 bionicweirdo
 
Carmack has never been commited exclusively to a specific architecture (nor should anyone). If I remember correctly, he was using a NeXT box to develop at least some part of the Doom engine. I think hes just trying to be honest and stay adaptive, like early on at Softdisk moving from the Mac to the PC which was just beginning to emerge as a gaming platform. This wasn't necessarily desirable, but imperative for survival.

"IDs offerings will do just like Johns spacecraft. Nose dive."

Even if John Carmack fails at everything he does for the rest of his life, hes already accomplished more than most people ever will. But I doubt any problem he commits himself to will be a complete failure, given his track record.

Isaac Asimov - "The only constant is change..."


 
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105. No subject Jul 17, 2008, 18:45 [VG]Reagle
 
Down with Carmack. Power has gone to his head. ID cant make a good game and now he realizes that he cant program his way ahead of the competition. Now you actually have to make a game not just make a game engine and some crap art.

IDs offerings will do just like Johns spacecraft. Nose dive.
 
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103. Re: ... Jul 14, 2008, 23:10 Creston
 
According to PC Gamer UK, Crysis has sold 3 million. 2.5 more than it deserves, given the mediocre gameplay and the high hardware requirements.

According to Cevat Yerli, if they were pirated 20 to 1, they should have sold 60 million units.


Cevat : "Damn those pirates! They cost us 2.8 billion dollars in sales!!!!!"

You know, one thing we've never considered. Maybe Cevat is actually really really clever, and he just keeps bleating about how badly crysis was pirated and how that hurt his company, to let people that didn't pirate it think "Hmmm, if 600 billion pirates downloaded it, it must be a good game!"

and suddenly his game has sold 1.5 million more copies?

Nah.

Creston

 
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102. Re: ... Jul 14, 2008, 23:01 Creston
 
It's like being attacked by a Mud Crab in Morrowind or Oblivion when you're level 50. RPG developers seriously need to add common sense to enemy creatures.

How the hell is that mudcrab going to know if you're level one or level 50?

I doubt it thinks to itself "Hmmm, full daedric armor, that sword looks like that thing the Knights of the Nine lost ages ago, and he's glowing about 8 different colors from all the spells he's got active. Maybe I'll give him a pass!"

That said, I agree with the general gist of your suggestion. A bandit wouldn't attack a heavily armed traveller all by himself.

Creston

 
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101. Oh well Jul 14, 2008, 22:44 Creston
 
If there's ONE GUY whom I'd trust to be able to code for an individual system's strengths, it's Carmack. So if they go multi-platform, at least I'd still have some hope of getting an actual PC game, rather than some piece of shit console port.

Creston

 
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100. ... Jul 14, 2008, 16:47 theyarecomingforyou
 
I suspect the majority of PC games are still being sold the old-fashioned way, through retail.
It depends how you define "retail", as I only ever buy games via Amazon/Play (or Steam) - I also buy all my music CDs and most of my books online. I haven't bought a PC game at retail since Battlefield 2 and even then it was unusual for me to do so. Most people I know buy games the same way, so it doesn't surprise me that PC games display areas are small to non-existent in B&M stores.

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99. Re: ... Jul 14, 2008, 16:03 Animals for Crackers
 
Correction. Digital distribution is STRONGER in the US. I suspect the majority of PC games are still being sold the old-fashioned way, through retail. Unless you have some numbers to show the contrary.

 
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98. Re: ... Jul 14, 2008, 15:53 elefunk
 
Then why is the PC section of most any videogame retailer/Gamestop basically the same size as the now non-existent Mac section of yore? I came to a dreadful realization when I first saw that, and it depressed the hell out of me. I'm not saying it is dead/will die, but it certainly seems to be approaching "life support" status.

You the hell can you still using the retail space excuse for reasons why the PC is dying? God damn, even NPD says that NPD's retail reports are inaccurate bullshit. Retail is strong in Europe, but in the US, it's digital distribution all the way.

Fuck retail with their shitty displays, open boxes, and ignorant employees who don't know the first thing about PC games.

This comment was edited on Jul 14, 17:45.
 
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97. ... Jul 14, 2008, 15:52 theyarecomingforyou
 
Crysis has sold 1.5m copies worldwide as of June 27, 2008. There is no way that the figure is 3m.

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96. Re: ... Jul 14, 2008, 15:47 Animals for Crackers
 
You're an idiot if you think PC gaming will ever be as insignificant as Mac is now, let alone dying in the foreseeable future.

Then why is the PC section of most any videogame retailer/Gamestop basically the same size as the now non-existent Mac section of yore? I came to a dreadful realization when I first saw that, and it depressed the hell out of me. I'm not saying it is dead/will die, but it certainly seems to be approaching "life support" status.

This comment was edited on Jul 14, 15:50.
 
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95. Re: ... Jul 14, 2008, 15:38 elefunk
 
According to PC Gamer UK, Crysis has sold 3 million. 2.5 more than it deserves, given the mediocre gameplay and the high hardware requirements.

I find that sales number hard to believe, as in the latest PC Gamer US issue Cevat Yerli says 1.5 million. You sure you're not mixing it up?


Mediocre gameplay? Whatever, I fucking loved the game. High hardware requirements? Well apparently, since it sold so well, they weren't that high were they? In December, you could build a PC from scratch for under $900 that could play the whole game on High details.




[edit] After searching around, it seems that the 3 million number for Crysis is bullshit. Everyone seems to bring it up on message boards as something that someone else saw in a magazine, but no one with the magazine can actually find it.
This comment was edited on Jul 14, 15:51.
 
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94. ... Jul 14, 2008, 14:11 theyarecomingforyou
 
I wouldn't be so sure about that. Buying PC developers and forcing them to make Xbox exclusives isn't exactly supporting PC gaming. Neither is bribing PC developers to make Xbox exclusives.
I never said they didn't prioritise the X360 but they do support gaming and shape hardware advances through the DirectX specifications.

The C.E.O. or some other suit of Microsoft Europe basically confirmed as much, stating that they don't do concurrent Xbox/PC releases because the PC releases would sell a lot more than the Xbox releases in Europe.
Yeah, I read that too. A pretty shit thing to admit to, but pretty obvious considering what they did to Halo.

Simply put, Microsoft stands to make a lot more money off the console market.
Absolutely. However, they make the majority of their money by ensuring that Windows, and Office, are market leaders - gaming is one of the strengths that Windows has above Macs and Microsoft plays off that. That doesn't mean Microsoft doesn't do shit things to PC gaming, as I'm far from impressed by the Games For Windows scheme. So the Apple / Microsoft comparison I made is fair, even if Microsoft could and should do more for PC gaming. PC gaming isn't going to die anytime soon, if at all.

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93. Re: ... Jul 14, 2008, 12:01 Jerykk
 
Microsoft supports PC gaming.

I wouldn't be so sure about that. Buying PC developers and forcing them to make Xbox exclusives isn't exactly supporting PC gaming. Neither is bribing PC developers to make Xbox exclusives. The C.E.O. or some other suit of Microsoft Europe basically confirmed as much, stating that they don't do concurrent Xbox/PC releases because the PC releases would sell a lot more than the Xbox releases in Europe.

Simply put, Microsoft stands to make a lot more money off the console market. They get a slice of every Xbox game made and people have to buy the Xbox to play them. They also have to pay for Live to play online, buy the official $100+ 20 GB Microsoft hard drive for more space, buy the official Microsoft gamepads, memory cards, etc. On the PC, MS only makes a profit off games they actually publish.

 
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92. Re: ... Jul 14, 2008, 11:18 Paketep
 
According to PC Gamer UK, Crysis has sold 3 million. 2.5 more than it deserves, given the mediocre gameplay and the high hardware requirements.

According to Cevat Yerli, if they were pirated 20 to 1, they should have sold 60 million units.

This show the kind of idiots that are complaining about piracy. I have never heard the developer of a good game complaining that they were pirated. Make good games, and they will sell well.

PS.- Doom 3 was boring, and an offense to Doom & Doom 2. id has not developed or produced a good game since Q3 (1999). Carmack and company would do well to start developing a good game first (we'll see about Doom 4), and speak later.

Oh, and fire Hollenshead. His mere presence at id HQ makes me want not to buy any games from them.

 
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91. Re: ... Jul 14, 2008, 10:37 elefunk
 
Actually, EA sponsors a lot of programmes on SkyOne and I think Crysis was one of the games they promoted on that - you're talking millions of viewers. To be honest I rarely see computer games advertised... I was quite surprised when I saw a Bioshock advert on TV.

Well you're forgetting two things...

1) Crysis sold very well in Europe, where I'm sure it made most of its 1.5 million in sales. In North America, however, is where it was mostly struggling. Maybe there were TV advertisements on major networks in Europe, but definitely not over here.

2) Bioshock was advertised on TV, I saw them myself. However, that's also a 360 game, not just PC. So once again it's another case of a console game selling extremely well due to mainstream advertising reaching a larger audience than what magazines and internet ads can do.

 
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90. ... Jul 14, 2008, 10:31 theyarecomingforyou
 
back in the mid-late 90s the mac gaming industry was very active. myst, marathon, a-10 thunderbolt and a host of other games started out as mac development because of the strength of the powerpc processor.
Nonsense. It was simply Bungie pushing the Mac because it was their favourite platform - they were responsible for Myth, Marathon and were developing Halo as well. But that's a handful of games... not an industry.

lets see who is the idiot in two years.
Well, we don't need two years to conclude that it's you - everytime I hear the same shit and everytime gaming continues as strong as ever. It's absolutely absurd comparing PC gaming to Mac gaming, let alone conclude that it's doomed. All I hear is a pathetic ranting - it would be like writing off the entire car industry simply because General Motors continue to produce SUVs in a time of high fuel prices and environmental concern.

the same things that happened to mac gaming then is happening to pc gaming now. anyone who does not see it is in denial.
Microsoft invests billions in the development and promotion of Windows and associated technologies (like DirectX). Microsoft supports PC gaming. PC gaming continues to do well, despite some high profile disappointments (like Crysis / Doom 3, which despite quite high sales figures were expecting them to be greater). Apple, on the otherhand, has never supported gaming and I've read several articles posted here about them ignoring developers and having a complete lack of understanding with regards to gaming. So you're comparing Microsoft, the dominant market player with huge investments and an active interest in gaming and hardware development; to Apple, a company that has zero investment in supporting gaming, no gaming APIs and a tiny marketshare? It's you that's in serious denial. I'm not going to discuss this any further with you, as you simply refuse to look at the situation for what it is.

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89. No subject Jul 14, 2008, 09:16 dryden555
 
Apple isnt withering but its not winning either. Apple's marketshare is still hugely dwarfed by PC, both globally and in the USA. Check around for sales data and you'll see the Apple marketshare for both laptop and deskops is hovering at 10% after several years of being approx 8%. And if you look at corporate networks of mid to large size, Apple isnt there. And corporate sales are where the real $$ are. You'll see Macs at universities in quantity, but outside of there, PC's still radically dominate the globe. It bears mentioning that OSX is a fine operating system but it lacks key enterprise level software that makes businesses avoid it like the plague. All the while, Apple is quite content to capture the wallets of college students and consumer iPod users.

 
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