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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Matthew Wilson@AE they better not try to force reviewers to jion, if they do they will be in violation of fair use laws.01/28/2015 - 11:59pm
Andrew EisenNintendo has launched its YouTube Creators program. https://r.ncp.nintendo.net/01/28/2015 - 10:58pm
ZippyDSMleeand a book on ninjustu....really..... it made more sense to be a pet a rat of a great master ><01/28/2015 - 9:13pm
ZippyDSMleeI seen the new one they tried to take to many liberties with the foot clan of which the frist movie evuantly overcame. /drunken no spell sheck post01/28/2015 - 9:12pm
WymorenceTMNT talk? In my Game Politics? *goes off to don his classic TMNT cartoon shirt*01/28/2015 - 8:43pm
Goth_Skunk... This is relevant to my interests...01/28/2015 - 8:19pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.pcgamer.com//cd-projekt-explains-why-the-witcher-3-has-16-hours-of-sex-scene-mo-cap-data/ I do not mind that they have it, but 16 hours of it?! what is this Game of Thrones.01/28/2015 - 8:04pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.polygon.com/2015/1/27/7921837/grim-fandango-remastered-interview-double-fine-disney-lucasfilm-sony a interesting read, or listen.01/28/2015 - 5:28pm
Wonderkarpyep. but they werent bebop and rocksteady yet. so technically i'm right :P01/28/2015 - 5:00pm
E. Zachary KnightBebop and Rocksteady have already been introduced in the human forms. They were the duo after Shredder's helmet.01/28/2015 - 4:55pm
Wonderkarpmy only complaint is no bluray boxed season sets yet. WTF Nickelodian!01/28/2015 - 4:42pm
Wonderkarpthe voice acting and story telling quality are awesome. Its like they took everything that was great about the original show, and Batman Animated Series'd it but kept it funny too01/28/2015 - 4:41pm
WonderkarpIts Awesome. Bebop and Rocksteady are going to debut this weekend. The new take is Bebop is a thief while Rocksteady is an arms dealer. took 3 seasons to get them on the show.01/28/2015 - 4:41pm
Goth_SkunkAhh! I see. I'm afraid I'm too invested in Game of Thrones, The Newsroom, The Walking Dead, and Hemlock Grove to notice the new TMNT on TV. :(01/28/2015 - 4:40pm
E. Zachary KnightMy kids love watching the 90's TMNT movies. They love the new TMNT cartoon on Nick. Yet, none of them really enjoyed the the new one.01/28/2015 - 4:39pm
Wonderkarpexecution and if there is a real wanting for something new on the big screen. There is somewhat of a wanting for new Ghostbusters on the big screen, but most people seem to agree that the new film shares little with ghostbusters beyond its original premis01/28/2015 - 4:38pm
Wonderkarpadding homages to classic via good storytelling. The new TMNT movie was just a crappy Bayformers affair that did nothing to develop character, with a mishmash of a story. Nerd Culture can accept new takes on older franchises. It just depends on the01/28/2015 - 4:37pm
Wonderkarpactually, Goth_Skunk, TMNT is a thriving TV show on Nickelodian which has enough old and new storytelling to create a thriving new product. its in its 3rd season and it just gets better as a show. The CGI Show is universally praised for being new yet01/28/2015 - 4:36pm
Goth_SkunkI propose that the new TMNT movie was not about making nostalgic adult nerds smile, but introducing the franchise to a new generation of younger fans. And some of those fans may even be kids of the nerds that grew up with the original TMNT.01/28/2015 - 3:55pm
Goth_Skunk...disservice to the franchise. But when I look at it, I see a franchise fanbase that, the last time anything major happened in the franchise, all its fans were kids. Those kids have now all grown up and are adults.01/28/2015 - 3:54pm
 

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