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Quake Live launches Open Beta today

By on February 24, 2009

Quake Live will launch its open beta today, paving the way for FPS action in an ordinary browser.

Quake Live has the potential to revolutionise first person shooter gaming in much the same way that the original Doom did. For our younger readers, Doom was freely-distributable shareware, which eventually reached 10 million downloads, of whom 1 million paid for it in some form – this wasn’t piracy, but a developer-sanctioned distribution model.

Quake Live will be similarly free-to-play, this time funded by ads supplied by IGA Worldwide.

So why is this deal so important:

  • Quake is a massive brand, yet it’s being given away for free
  • First Person Shooters are the domain of hardcore fanboys, the people who queue to buy the latest console or must-have title; browser-based games have historically been viewed as the province of “non-gamers”
  • It’s platform-agnostic. A browser is not a platform: it’s a way of viewing content from any device that follows standard Internet rules

So this launch might herald a completely new way of selling and distributing AAA games (and EA is experimenting with Battlefield Heroes too). id Software revolutionised the industry once before with the combination of technical excellence and business innovation. Today might see them do it all over again.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: