Speaking with GamesIndustry last week at the eGameRevolution exhibit in New York, Doom creator John Romero spoke of how and why AAA games have taken a hit.
Romero explained that free-to-play and cheap Steam games are largely to blame for the diminished AAA game market.
“The PC is decimating console, just through price.
“Free-to-play has killed a hundred AAA studios,” he claimed.
Romero also explained that the modern free-to-play model is a different form of monetization seen in the older Doom, Wolfenstein or Quake games. He says the latter where free-to-play as “shareware,” and therefore would not take any earnings whatsoever whilst in the “free” phase.
“Our entire first episode was free – give us no money, play the whole thing,” he explained.
“If you like it and want to play more, then you finally pay us.”
He believes that this was a “fair model.”
“I’m not nickel-and-diming you. I didn’t cripple the game in any design way. That was a really fair way to market a game,” Romero continued.
Romero says the games landscape is now being dominated by PC and mobile, and consoles are being hurt by the free-to-play trend as well as by their inherently closed nature.
“The problem with console is that it takes a long time for a full cycle. With PCs, it’s a continually evolving platform, and one that supports backward compatibility, and you can use a controller if you want; if I want to play a game that’s [made] in DOS from the ’80s I can, it’s not a problem,” he added.
“You can’t do that on a console. Consoles aren’t good at playing everything. With PCs if you want a faster system you can just plug in some new video cards, put faster memory in it, and you’ll always have the best machine that blows away PS4 or Xbox One.”