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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Mattsworknamehttp://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/05/22/fec-backs-off-flirtation-with-regulating-internet/05/22/2015 - 1:34am
MattsworknameWell, on another subject, Saw this, and while I know it's fox news, thuoght I should share it05/22/2015 - 1:34am
MechaCrashYeah, even I think IP needs to dial it back.05/22/2015 - 12:35am
Mattsworknamesays05/21/2015 - 11:17pm
MattsworknameRE doc, everyone has a tendancy to let emotion get ahead of them, especially in an annoymous forum like the web. We have have those moments. Ip however has nothing but those moments. it's why I stopped responding to him, regardless of what he thinks or05/21/2015 - 11:17pm
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DocMelonheadIn fact I see both mocks and ridicule between both the GamerGate Supporters and GamerGate Critics.05/21/2015 - 8:41pm
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Andrew EisenThat's an... interesting way to interpret that.05/21/2015 - 8:36pm
Goth_SkunkAnd re BBC vs Rockstar: Ahh. I missed that. Woops!05/21/2015 - 8:33pm
Goth_SkunkAE: The entire disclaimer is a valid reason why I don't take it seriously. Particularly the part where they say "the information contained herein may not be necessarily accurate or current." Because fact-checking, like math, is haaaaaaaaard!05/21/2015 - 8:32pm
MattsworknameI take all media reporting with huge skepticism. the Mary sue Included. that said, there not as bad Jezebel.05/21/2015 - 8:27pm
DocMelonheadYou could say that the Mary Sue only interested in Gender issues in pop culture, and they only see GamerGate as a Hate group that fight for the oppressive status quo.05/21/2015 - 8:22pm
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Andrew EisenRe: Mary Sue - Uh, why exactly? Re: Rockstar - Yep, we reported that earlier today.05/21/2015 - 8:12pm
Goth_SkunkRockstar is suing the BBC. http://ow.ly/NgzDm05/21/2015 - 8:00pm
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