John Carmack spoke with GameSpot at length during last year's E3 Media & Business Summit about his Web-browser-based pet project, Quake Live. In exchange for a free-to-play edition of Quake III Arena, id Software will support its efforts through various in-game advertisement and brand-sponsorship deals.
Today, the venerable Mesquite, Texas-based game maker announced that Quake Live has officially entered an open beta phase, inviting all players to help test the free-to-play, gladiatorial first-person shooter. Interested players can find the browser-based multiplayer game up and running through the official Quake Live Web site.
Essentially a port of the 1999 PC game Quake III Arena, the game has been touched up by id with a number of elements that add what Carmack called "a level of polish that modern games have." The online-only game features more than 30 arenas, five game modes, and 50-plus characters. Quake Live also features a full loadout of leaderboards; player profiles that include scores, stats, and achievement awards; and a matchmaking system based on skill level.
For an idea of what to expect, check out GameSpot's review of the original Quake III Arena.