Carmack: Digital Distribution is Not Easy

August 25, 2011 -

Speaking to Tom's Guide in a lengthy interview about everything from RAGE to the latest hardware, id Software co-founder and programming genius John Carmack offered an interesting answer on the new trend of company's starting their own digital distribution services. Carmack said that the work that Valve put into Steam was not easy, despite what some companies might think:

Question: Moving onto digital distribution: How do you feel about developers and publishers striking out on their own for digital distribution? Steam/Valve is the big dog, and now you have Origin/EA, too.

Answer: There’s definitely a sense that publishers don’t want to be tied to Valve. It seems like an easy thing, setting up your own digital distribution, but I caution everyone that there is a lot more expertise built up at Valve than you might think. It’s a harder task than just setting up some automated FTP sites with a web front end, and they have a network effect going by having the games download in the background. Everybody thinks, “Well, I don’t want to split my money with Valve. How hard can it be to set this up?” And my advice is: usually it’s harder than you think it is. I think from the consumer side, digital distribution like Steam is doing a really good thing. It’s better than dealing with getting the box and losing the CD and all of those related issues. Everybody knows that this is the way the wind is blowing.

Question: And Steam didn’t take off until several years after its initial release.

Answer: I remember us talking with Valve, and they were trying to get us to release Doom 3 on Steam. Our response was basically, “Are you crazy? We’re not going to do this!” All the props in the world should go out to Valve for having a vision, sticking with it through adversity, and then really coming out of things in the captain’s chair.

You can read the entire thing here. It's an excellent and fascinating look at one of the industry's best developers.


 
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MattsworknameAndrew: Im not sure Im the one to be explainging this really, Im not sure im articulating it right07/31/2015 - 9:20pm
Big PermI got to around 30 in tera before giving up. I liked my sorc, but I need better motivation to grind07/31/2015 - 9:14pm
Andrew EisenAh TERA. I made a video about TERA censorship. One of my more popular ones. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AO26h9etTbw07/31/2015 - 8:52pm
Goth_SkunkI've been playing TERA all day. Just took a break to barbecue some chicken. :3 And Andrew: I'm using Cabal to suggest a group of people secretly united in some private views or interests within a community.07/31/2015 - 8:50pm
Andrew EisenI'd love to but I'm at work. But once I get home... I'm going to work out for a while. But after THAT... I'm going to shower. Then eat. Then prep tomorrow's meals. And THEN play video games! YEAH!!!07/31/2015 - 8:38pm
Big Permlol, ya'll are still going back and forth? Take a break and play some video games07/31/2015 - 8:37pm
Andrew EisenGoth - Are you using "cabal" to describe a group of writers or to suggest they all worked together in secret to publish those articles?07/31/2015 - 8:30pm
Andrew EisenMatt - That doesn't disprove the general premise of the various articles as that's not what they're about. Unless, again, he's talking about a different batch of articles.07/31/2015 - 8:28pm
Goth_SkunkThe difference between one voice being offensive and a cabal being offensive.07/31/2015 - 8:22pm
MechaCrashFunny how "you're offended, so what" flips into "we're offended, retract everything and apologize."07/31/2015 - 8:18pm
MattsworknameIts not the only argument he points out ,its just one of them07/31/2015 - 8:06pm
Mattsworknameidea that Gamers as the articel puts it, the "White male sterotype are dead, essentially was compltely false07/31/2015 - 8:03pm
MattsworknameThe video actually shows that the shaw study actually disproves the Premise of the artices by showing that the "Gamer" dentity, has no actual meaning to thsoe who use it other then "I play games", its not connected to race, gender, or orientation. So the07/31/2015 - 8:01pm
Andrew EisenWith the exception of a brief mention in Golding's Tumbr post. Even so, he's talking about gamer identity, not desire for diversity in gaming.07/31/2015 - 7:50pm
Andrew EisenI'm not calling his examination of the Shaw study into question. I haven't read the study nor seen his video. All I'm saying is that it has nothing to do with the Gamers Are Dead articles I've been referencing for the last year.07/31/2015 - 7:49pm
MattsworknameSome times sargon just goes off on tangents but in this case he was pretty direct and went through teh research in detail, did the whole first video about the shaw study itself07/31/2015 - 7:45pm
Andrew EisenWell, unless it's disingenuous twaddle but I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.07/31/2015 - 7:42pm
Andrew EisenGotta be. The argument you describe makes no sense otherwise.07/31/2015 - 7:40pm
MattsworknameThat is a possibility, they looked like offical articles but its possible they are different from the articles you mentoin07/31/2015 - 7:28pm
Andrew EisenNot unless he's referring to a completely different set of Gamers Are Dead articles.07/31/2015 - 7:19pm
 

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