Doom creator: “Free-to-play has killed a hundred AAA studios”


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.”

About r0gue Zombie

Known as Victor Vieira to his mommy, r0gue is a Consoloptipus [con-sol-opti-pus] plural: con-sol–opto-pi • Derived from Latin meaning “he who is too cheap to buy a gaming pc” • Commonly found online. If encountered in natural habitat, presume dangerous [to himself]. • From the ‘alles-terian’ group [will eat anything]. Needs regular feeds.