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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Andrew EisenGhostbuster outfits: https://twitter.com/paulfeig/status/61565492324668211206/30/2015 - 10:18am
Mattsworknamegamergate or any part of that movment. My biggest issues have always been more about my views on the idustry on a personal level rather then any affilication with GG.06/30/2015 - 9:50am
MattsworknameI only really every had any interest in the GG stuff when they were going in about the media and stuff and the whole "Gamers are Dead" junk. As a general rule, whatever issues I had with various groups was more my own issues, not anything specific with06/30/2015 - 9:49am
Andrew EisenI'm still trying to figure out where anyone is getting the idea violent content or lousy representation of women and minorities in video games shouldn't exist or be promoted.06/30/2015 - 9:25am
james_fudgeWell, members of GP first, members of GG second, I always say.06/30/2015 - 9:06am
black mantaConsidering it's only you and Mattsworkname that have been carrying the banner for it here, that pretty much testifies to how little influence they have. Most everyone else here couldn't care less.06/30/2015 - 8:54am
black mantaAgain GG is more like Occupy Wall Street than the Tea Party movement. They had their moment, but they fizzled out. And now exist more as a nebulous thing spouting ideas. They haven't achieved anything meaningful.06/30/2015 - 8:52am
black mantaAs sincere as your beliefs may be, the movement is still rife with bigots and misogynists.06/30/2015 - 8:51am
black mantaI'm sure you're heart's in the right place, Goth. But it doesn't excuse the behavior of GG's members towards the people they don't like.06/30/2015 - 8:50am
MattsworknameWow goth, write a novel why dont cha. Seriously I know you have a passion for this stuff, but wow, thats kinda overkill.06/30/2015 - 8:46am
james_fudgeI hereby dub this space the Mainifesto Box (tm)06/30/2015 - 8:34am
Infophile13 shouts in total by Goth in a row. I think I'm to blame here. If I'd read the Breitbart link when he'd posted it, maybe he wouldn't have felt the need to say everything here.06/30/2015 - 8:27am
E. Zachary KnightI go away for one night and Goth writes his Gamergate manifesto in the shoutbox.06/30/2015 - 8:15am
james_fudgeI blame Andrew for this.06/30/2015 - 8:10am
Goth_SkunkAnd at long last, I think I'm finally done.06/30/2015 - 3:08am
Goth_SkunkAnd if those progressive games fail to make any headway in the market, don't blame gamer culture for not being cultured enough to appreciate the product. Own up to the fact that the game either sucks, is not interesting, or both.06/30/2015 - 3:06am
Goth_Skunknor suggest that the games industry and culture is rife with toxicity because of it and needs to change for the good of the medium. There is room in the market for progressive games to co-exist with games like Hatred, not replace them outright.06/30/2015 - 3:04am
Goth_SkunkAnd if the overly violent content of most AAA games or the perceived mistreatment of women in such games bothers one, by all means criticize it, but do not under any circumstances suggest that it such content shouldn't exist or be promoted,06/30/2015 - 3:02am
Goth_SkunkGames, for the most part, let you do this! You can be the man or woman you're not. You can escape reality and immerse yourself in the experience. And that's wonderful! I play as female characters all the time in games I play, when the option is available.06/30/2015 - 2:59am
Goth_SkunkA choice that nature denied transgender people at birth! People don't undergo gender reassignment because they want to be transgender; they undergo gender reassignment because they want to be the gender they identify with!06/30/2015 - 2:52am
 

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