Jun 24, 2009 id Software, independent no longer

id Software, the original garage band of game developers, now has a place to park its properties.

ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks, announced today that it will acquire the Mesquite, Tex.-based id. That means classic game franchises such as Doom and Quake will now sit alongside --Fallout 3 and The Elder Scrolls in ZeniMax's portfolio.

As part of the deal, Bethesda Softworks will publish upcoming id releases. The in-development game Rage, will be published by Electronic Arts, but "they don't have any rights to sequels," Carmack said. "ZeniMax has working relationships with EA so we hope that goes smoothly but any future titles will certainly be for ZeniMax."

As part of the deal, Carmack, id CEO Todd Hollenshead and other principals signed long-term employment contracts.

Says Carmack, "the work that I do in computer programming is the work that I want to be doing for the foreseeable future. For me the less I have to deal with board meetings and contracts, the better. I just want to program."

Id Software, creator of the Doom, Wolfenstein 3D and Quake games, has been sold to ZeniMax Media for an undisclosed amount. ZeniMax's Bethesda Softworks studio created the popular Elder Scrolls series of role-playing games.

In a statement released Wednesday, ZeniMax said the development process at Id Software would remain untouched.

'Doom 4' Planned For Consoles and PCs, Wolfenstein Takes A Backseat

QuakeCon brought news that id Software's "Rage" would see a release for iPhone ahead of its PC and console launches, but two of id's best known properties stuck around in the shadows for the show. Wolfenstein will likely spend some time in the workshop before a new sequel emerges, but "Doom 4" is actively in development, and it should show up at retail in the same places that "Rage" does. Asked if simultaneous releases for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 would be part of the plan for the game, id CEO Todd Hollenshead acknowledged that that's what he would like to see.

"That's absolutely what we're thinking," he told Kotaku. "That would certainly be the hope."

As for Wolfenstein, id seems to be rethinking any follow-ups to their last installment bearing the IP's name in 2009.

"It would be sad if there's not another Wolfenstein game because I'm a personal fan of the franchise," Hollenshead said. "'Wolfenstein 3D' is the game that got me started in PC gaming. So personally I have a lot of emotional and sentimental attachment to that game. Even before I was working at id I was playing Wolf 3D, but we're still in the 'thinking about it' phase at this point."

id Software: PC Gaming "Not Dead, But Different"

Id Software believes that the reason everybody thinks PC gaming is dying is simply because it's changing.

PC gaming isn't dead, and isn't going to die, so why does the topic keep coming up? Id Software's Todd Hollenshead and Tim Willits offer their views on the subject, saying that the PC market is definitely different than it used to be, but that's not because it's going under.

Hollenshead, id studio president, aligns any slowdown in PC sales to that of the release of new consoles. He told IGN: "Because of the great games you have coming out on the consoles, and for a period of time, the consoles were pretty competitive technically with the PC, [PC] has receded in prominence. Hollenshead believes: "These things happen over time and every time consoles come out, people proclaim the death of PC and then it may struggle for awhile and have its issues, but it tends to be resilient."

"It's probably getting back to the point right now where technically on the PCs you're going to be able to start doing more and more things that you can't do on the consoles," he said. And without new consoles anywhere on the horizon, this may give the PC a chance to get further ahead technically. Hollenshead admits that retail isn't the same way it used to be for PC games, saying it's in "third place" behind the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, but doesn't think that means "it's doomed to continue to recede or can't come back."

Id Creative Director Tim Willits thinks the PC market is "definitely changing," and that the "biggest struggle ... is that piracy is out of control." Willits sees PC gaming going towards "client architectures and cloud gaming" and "games that are more social" as the industry moves to combat piracy. "Look at Facebook," he says. "There are more people playing that silly Farmville than play Call of Duty." Hollenshead seems to agree with Willits' final statement: "PC gaming is not dead, but it is a bit different than it was in the past."

Compare PC gaming to the other industries. Just because Blockbuster isn't there anymore doesn't mean nobody rents or watches movies. Just because nobody goes to arcades anymore doesn't mean the entire videogame industry is dying. As id points out, the market has changed, and the PC side of it is different now. Everybody is either just buying the new World of Warcraft expansion every two years (or StarCraft every ten), playing Farmville, or buying games on Steam. Not really, but pretty much, right?

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