Doom Creator John Romero: PC "Decimating" Console, F2P Has Killed 100 AAA Studios

"The PC is decimating console, just through price," Romero says.

Game industry icon John Romero, best known for his work at id Software on the Doom and Wolfenstein franchises, says in a new interview that the PC platform is "decimating" consoles. That's because, Romero tells GamesIndustry International, PC games are often less expensive (sometimes free) and the platform itself is more open than traditional consoles.

"With PC you have free-to-play and Steam games for five bucks. The PC is decimating console, just through price," Romero said. "Free-to-play has killed a hundred AAA studios."

"It's a different form of monetization than Doom or Wolfenstein or Quake where that's free-to-play [as shareware]," he added. "Our entire first episode was free--give us no money, play the whole thing. If you like it and want to play more, then you finally pay us. To me that felt like the ultimate 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. When we put these games out on shareware, that changed the whole industry. Before shareware there were no CD-ROMs, there were no demos at all. If you wanted to buy Ultima, Secret of Monkey Island, any of those games, you had to look really hard at that box and decide to spend 50 bucks to get it."

Free-to-play games have not been without criticism, but Romero argues that developers are getting smarter at designing these games so that they are more player-friendly when it comes to monetization.

"Everybody is getting better at free-to-play design, the freemium design, and it's going to lose its stigma at some point," Romero said. "People will settle into [the mindset] that there is a really fair way of doing it, and the other way is the dirty way. Hopefully that other way is easily noticeable by people and the quality design of freemium rises and becomes a standard. That's what everybody is working hard on. People are spending a lot of time trying to design this the right way. They want people to want to give them money, not have to. If you have to give money, you're doing it wrong... For game designers, that's the holy grail."

Another reason why Romero said he believes PC and mobile are surging ahead of console is because of the "closed" nature of traditional machines like the Xbox One or PlayStation 4.

"The problem with console is that it takes a long time for a full cycle," Romero said. "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. 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."

Romero also chimed in on the topic of virtual reality recently, saying that while he is personally excited about technology like Oculus Rift, he--like others before him--questions its mainstream appeal. He co-founded id Software and now works at the Universe of California, Santa Cruz.

The next Doom game was recently officially announced. The game is coming to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. It runs on id Tech 6 at 1080p and 60fps.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Discussion

683 comments
al_is_here
al_is_here

As someone who spends an absurd amount of money and time playing dota 2, i agree with romero however i would love to play wolfenstien:The new order but its only available on windows and nothing for linux as of yet.

es496
es496

F2P? No thanks.

PinchySkree
PinchySkree

Please make sure to understand the Free to Play sub genres:

Pay to Win.
Pay to not wait.
Pay to not suffer an inflated grind.
Pay to replace intentionally cut content.
Cosmetic only.

The first 4 are the "dirty way". I can count the amount of games that have had the balls and talent to use the 5th on one hand.

kirbymaster5
kirbymaster5

There are a lot of ways to advertise PC gaming over console gaming. Mentioning free-to-play is NOT one of them.

mrpositivity
mrpositivity

" He is best known as the creator of Daikatana"  This game tells all about John Romero.  Try the Game to see who  John Romero. really are without John D. Carmack. id Software's lead programmer, who really are behind success of Doom, Quake and Wolfenstein . Guys my research. about John Romero. shows that he just don't know much about games in present days, somehow he still lives in 1993 Light of success , Please check the Game list from this guy. But thou's are just my thoughts according to my research. 


leikeylosh
leikeylosh

I didn't get it. Is he praising free-to-play games or dissing it? "Free-to-play has killed a hundred AAA studios." Well, you had one, so... Why are you defending this business model? And why are you criticizing Xbox and Playstation, but the sequel to the game you helped create will be released to both platforms?

You know what? Shut up, Romero.

Defender1978
Defender1978

Have a library of 360 games that you've bought for nearly a decade?  Upset that none of those games will work on the Xbox One, including all those Xbox Live Arcade games you purchased?  Then it's time for you to enter the world of PC gaming.  It is reverse compatible, upgradable, and can do what the consoles can't.  Don't want to part with that amazing Xbox controller?  Well then, bring it over to PC.  That's right!  You can use your Xbox controller with PC games.  If you think that PC has a shortage of games, think again.  You have but to look at the many new games coming down the pipe and you'll find that, with the exception of a hand full of exclusives, they are all on PC.  As an added bonus those games are the superior versions and they cost half the price of those restricting console games.  Now is the time.  Only "greatness awaits" for PC because PC is the "One."  

Gencic
Gencic

I will offer a free translation of a section from the article into Engl-ish:

"With PCs, it's a continually evolving platform, and one that supports backward compatibility..."

=

"With PCs, you have to continually pour money into them, to enjoy the latest games. As an additional bonus you get to play the games your old PC couldn't... (once you upgrade)"

cbxero
cbxero

I was raised on consoles and I love them. If I had a bit of extra money though, I'd build a gaming PC. I play a bit more on my laptop and I'm starting to enjoy it. I think I would enjoy putting it all together too.

I also like what this guy said about F2P. Consumers aren't all stupid, you can't stick your hands in their pockets and expect no one to notice. People will buy primarily on value. If it's a good deal, they will buy.

TVPaulD
TVPaulD

That's a really stupid thing to say. By the same standard, iOS and Android have long since killed the PC dead.

3dmatrixgamer
3dmatrixgamer

too much repetitive story from John Remero man you had to talk about something new.

Matthew_Bester
Matthew_Bester

I like John Remero and the Doom franchise but his comments strike me as strange, he said himself "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. You can't do that on a console.", so what? The industry should only run as fast as it's slowest person? That's not progress! If consoles want to survive this then they need to evolve and offer a better product.

Zebondo
Zebondo

Used console games cost much less and are the prime way consolers buy games now. And consoles are much less expensive then the PC. Graphics cards and ram are dead. PS4 is lightyewars ahead of anything and forces developers to optimize their games more rather then bloat graphics cards. PS4 is much more open then the XBox by the way. If anything, consoles have been more progressive because they have forced developers to turn away from Windows and start to use Linux since PS4 is based on it. 

sargentpsgamer
sargentpsgamer

1 How well is the PS4 selling again? Oh right. Where are those articles of PC sales slipping? Oh right. What are the numbers on AAA games sold on PC? Oh right. 


2 Not all games are always backwards compatible. Everytime windows updates there are always issues with older games. Oh and most games are sent to a cloud now so consoles now have that too. 


3 I stopped listening to "tech advice" from them when they said "the Ps3 is too hard to develop for" if that's foreign tech to them well into it's life, why listen? 

Zebondo
Zebondo

Man I just do not agree. Console will always cost way less then PC. The new PS4 is fast enough to play any game at high settings probabaly for the next 10 years... and no one uses graphic cards or extra ram any more, they are dead and dying. Honestly, controllers on the PC never work that great, are hard to set up to get them right, and do not have all of the features., and they suck suck suck at feel. Plus they take too long to initialize and you are ususally forced to play them at a desk which most people do not want to do any more. They want to sit on a couch when using a controller.

Also console games cost much less "Used" which is how most people purchase console games now. Console is the future hence why Steam is putting out the Steam Machine "Console" with a controller. And yet, it's going to cost about twice as much as the PS4. So there you have it. But I can say Steam might have something here with the Steam Machine since PC games are much more creative and interesting then dumbed down console games.

vader501st
vader501st

Go home, you're drunk. While he's at it, he should get acquainted with the 21st Century.

DrKill09
DrKill09

He needs to send flyers to the big three console makers that say "PC gaming is about to make you it's bitch"

nikon133
nikon133

I'm not full following this guy.

PC would be "decimating" consoles if multi-platform games sell much more copies and make more money in process.

To my knowledge, PC versions of multiplat games usually don't oversell console version. In addition, lower average prices are good short-term benefit for gamers... but in long run, the trend can make developers to start prioritising consoles, or even completely focus on them while dropping PC release; something we are already seeing often.

Add to that higher rate of pirating - something developers usually see as stolen income and definite turn down for next release plans - and quicker devolving value of most PC games which could be among reasons for growing free to play (pay to win) trends, micro-transactions... How's that decimating anything?


RobDev
RobDev

hmmm. that must be why the latest gen of consoles are selling at record rates.

Wraith3
Wraith3

I call BS because all AAA PC games cost the same on day of release. If you wait a while, he is right, you can get great games on Steam sales. I'm confused how he's still relative after he was going to "make us his bitch" with Daikatana...

Brakkyn
Brakkyn

...well, I wouldn't say "decimating"...

Nightelf123
Nightelf123

it look's like that he hasn't tried to run star wars dark forces 2 jedi knight on his pc to realize that pc isn't that much compatible with old games.

b3iv5on
b3iv5on

Haha. And he nails that 3 pointer from another area code. Console fans are going wild.

Coren_Larken
Coren_Larken

@YukoAsho How, an industry icon is making a potentially controversial statement. I'd say that's news on any given day in the gaming industry.

suppaphly42
suppaphly42

@Defender1978  what a sales man you are if i was not already a PC guy i would be after that XD 


PC master race decimating consoles for years to come

Stepn2myworld
Stepn2myworld

@Gencic This is really no different that what occurs on a console; however,  a console is never more than it is the day it is released. A PC can always be more with the only limits being your bank account. 

Any game released on console can always look better and run faster on a properly equipped PC. Face it, a console is nothing but a stripped down, single use  PC. regardless of how Sony and Microsoft try seem like so much more. 


I LOVE consoles and RECOGNIZE their limitations. 



jellyman68
jellyman68

@Gencic You have to spend money on any platform to play the latest games. It's known as "buying games".

Coren_Larken
Coren_Larken

@cbxero Same. I don't have enough time to invest in building a PC right now. One of these days I will. In the mean time, my consoles do the trick just fine. Could it be done better? I'm sure. But it doesn't make much sense to spend the money on it when I don't have the time.

al_is_here
al_is_here

@Zebondo As a linux user i find what you have said to be utterly retarded.The quality of gaming depends entirely on the hardware, just because the ps3 was based on free bsd (which isnt linux and the ps3/ps4 isn’t open source) it doesn’t mean anything.Consoles are regressing gaming and pc's are progressing gaming...i mean its 2014 and your console still cant obtain something as basic as native 1080p and 60 frames per second? something that has been standard on pc for almost a decade?


"Graphics cards and ram are dead. PS4 is lightyewars ahead of anything and forces developers to optimize their games more rather then bloat graphics cards."

the thing is consoles do not even have a dedicated graphics cards, console performance is equivalent to a low end desktop.

"If anything, consoles have been more progressive because they have forced developers to turn away from Windows and start to use Linux since PS4 is based on it."

Its as i said, the ps3 and ps4 are not using linux, they are using their own variation of freebsd...if they were using linux then they would be forced to share the modified source code of their orbis os due to the linux licensing terms.

gamefreak215jd
gamefreak215jd

@Zebondo Dude,1440p and 4K.That;s really where PC gaming is headed out to. That and PC gaming has more than just superior hardware. We've also got easy mod support,something that hasn't yet come to consoles. So if anything PC gaming is very relevant,although not necessarily everyone's preferred platform.

ecter1216
ecter1216

@Zebondo You are way uninformed about the PC world. Clearly lack of knowledge about the PC community scares you and thats understandable. Go ask your local 7th grader how to work with a computer. He will hep you out for $5.


Pc gaming is simple to understand...especially after light reading. Windows updates do not mess with games usually and when they do guess what? The modding community usually has a fix out quick unlike the console bugs that may never see a patch from the developer a PC game modder can fix the issue within a day usually. I have my powerhouse of a PC hooked up to my 50 Inch Plasma Tv with a Wireless 360 Controller and sit in my reclining sofa and play games at higher resolution and higher fps then either the PS4 or the Xbox one can handle. 

nodq
nodq

@nikon133 the only reason why there are more copies sold is that it is very hard to have illegal copies of games for consoles, if not almost impossible for at least the latest generation of consoles PS4 xboxone. On PC you can get an illegal copy for every game if its not online/multiplayer only. But thats also the reason why publishers and devs are more focused on consoles, because there is the money to make ATM. And i think thats the reason why it all started with free 2 play type of games. League of Legends made a very big example how it could work. And i guess they make a shit ton of money with just their skins and what not. Free2Play fits the PC platform, it doesnt do so much for consoles IMHO.

frozenuxx
frozenuxx

@nikon133

lol

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonevangelho/2014/04/28/as-global-pc-game-revenue-surpasses-consoles-how-long-should-console-makers-keep-fighting/

Per dollar invested, PC gaming is just more profitable at this point...

So no wonder more devs are contemplating going that road and going back to smaller budget games. To the point where Sony is actually thinking about using the "early access" approach to their service. I think something is being done right. At first it was indie games, latter F2P and now early access. Consoles are pretty much copying/taking everything that is good/bad on PC.

Anthrax95
Anthrax95

@Nightelf123 I haven't tried Dark Forces 2, but i play alot of old school games on my high end computer without problems. Well you might have to tweek them a bit, install a fanmade mod an the like. But to be honest, the oldest games I play are Planescape Torment and Arcanum. That's not counting games using an emulator, otherwise the oldest one is probalby Ultima 7 ^^

Wraith3
Wraith3

@Nightelf123 Google helps. I built a brand new PC last Dec. and it runs Jedi Knight just fine. I've never had an older games that won't run. In the past year I've played Fallout 1 & 2 and Crusader No Remorse/Regret using DosBox.

Smosh150
Smosh150

@Nightelf123 I agree with you and am not trying to discount your point as it is correct, but if you are running DOSbox that is another story, works perfectly through that.

diggyphelps
diggyphelps

@Nightelf123 Lol, that games from 1997, if that's the best example you have then oh well I think I'll survive.

es496
es496

@ecter1216 

It might seem easy to you but not everyone is as good with tech. 

nikon133
nikon133

@nodq @nikon133  That is all true. I didn't say that console games get less pirated because console gamers are more moral, but end of the day they get less pirated, and that is what developers want to see. Same with FTP - we definitely don't see as many on consoles.

But how's all that helping PC decimate consoles? I don't see it happening, honestly. When someone says "decimating", I'm thinking PS2 vs. Original Xbox. Or even early days of X360 vs. PS3 (in US at least). As it is, I really don't see what is Romero talking about.

nikon133
nikon133

@frozenuxx With gaming industry as vast as it is, it is not that hard to find flattering angle for any platform. PC gaming includes Facebook games, variety of PC-exclusive F2P titles and number of MMOs and RPGs also exclusive to PC, like WoW, League of Legends and DotA 2, Forsaken World and what not.

But if you look at multiplatform releases, I really don't see that PC is "devastating" consoles.

If you check recent multiplatform AAA games, like AC: Black Flag, Tomb Raider (2013), Need for Speed: Rivals, Wolfenstein: The New Order, Watch Dogs... all of them have console version as leading sales. Most of them don't have PC version among top 3, actually.

Ideally, I wouldn't mind if we end up with one open standard gaming platform. Being PC and PS gamer, I'm occasionally sick and tired of not being able to co-op with my friends playing the same game on different hardware... so if PS4 turns out to be my last console, I'm fine with that (as long as all my favourite developers and franchises move to PC). But as it is, I don't really see solid arguments to support Romero's words.

3dmatrixgamer
3dmatrixgamer

@frozenuxx and Steam is a copy paste of itune Lol.

leakingdogmilk
leakingdogmilk

@frozenuxx

lol yeah stupid consoles are just copying business practice of PC gaming. PC gaming for the win

sargentpsgamer
sargentpsgamer

@diggyphelps @Nightelf123 "I don't expect my Pc to play games from 15 years ago" Okay so you use it as an excuse as why "PC is better" then when proven wrong about it, the excuse becomes "well I don't want those games anyways" 


I remember many games had issues during every transition of Windows. Biggest impact was Vista to 7, especially since they were phasing out XP. 

Nightelf123
Nightelf123

@diggyphelps @Nightelf123 the game had a lot of problems on today's pcs:

1. the steam version doesn't have music files

2.even if you have the music files they don't loop

3.problems with 3d accelaration

4.you should watch cutscenes in windowed mode

al_is_here
al_is_here

@es496 @ecter1216 so plugging your hdmi cable from your pc to your flatscreen and plugging in a controller to your pc is considered "good with tech"?

...are people naturally this lazy and stupid?

Smosh150
Smosh150

@Nightelf123 @Smosh150 Oh shoot you are right, I read it as the original Dark Forces. Yea I picked up the 2nd for Steam and really liked it, but it was just too much to deal with in its state.

diggyphelps
diggyphelps

I can still play plenty of games from 15+ years ago. In fact I was just playing Warcraft 3 a couple weeks ago. People can also DL emulators and play pretty much any classic console or handheld game.

diggyphelps
diggyphelps

@Nightelf123 @diggyphelps I believe you 100%, I just don't expect my up to date system to play games from 15-20 yrs ago. If I had a Xp system that didn't play it then that would be a different story.

es496
es496

@al_is_here @es496 @ecter1216 

I refer you back to "it might seem easy to you". Look at how many people aren't aware of the difference between a Wii and a Wii U for example despite the console having been around since 2012.

es496
es496

@al_is_here @es496 @ecter1216 

I refer you back to "it might seem easy to you". Look at how so many people still can't tell the difference between a Wii and a Wii U even though the console has been out since 2012.

gruoch1
gruoch1

@diggyphelps @Nightelf123  That's the problem with Remero's argument. He claims PC is fully backwards compatible and can easily play games from the 80's. Most of my games from the early to mid 90's won't even play anymore.

Nightelf123
Nightelf123

@diggyphelps @Nightelf123 unfortunately there isn't new starwars games for now and I prefer to play good old star wars games until next installment. ( this game is much better than TFU and other JK games )

diggyphelps
diggyphelps

I believe he is talking about emulators.