id’s Quake Live

Quake Live

It’s nice to see that the major PC developers are taking some steps to actually evolve the PC Gaming scene rather than bitch about piracy and low sales. While Valve has announced their revolutionary Steam Cloud and experimented with episodic gaming, id will be doing some experiments of their own.

At last year’s QuakeCon, id announced Quake Zero: a concept wherein they will take their excellent Quake III: Arena, make it ad-supported and completely free, and then make it browser-based. And you thought the only thing you can play on your Firefox was that silly Flash game.

Quake Zero has become Quake Live and gone into Beta testing, but we haven’t had much headway other than that. Sure, it may not sound as exciting as id’s other projects, Rage and Doom 4, but it is still an interesting idea that could encourage dozens more.

The promise of free gameplay means that pretty much anyone can play, and without piracy, too, so the developers won’t be affected. And since it’s browser-based, it brings relief to our lazy asses that would rather mull over whatever’s on Firefox rather than start the game. Hmm, or maybe it’s just me.

Regardless, if id ends up successful, we could see a completely new form of gaming, with MMORPGs diving for it (and hopefully ending those monthly subscription fees). Imagine if you will, competition and tournament games like Quake Live: racing games, sport games, it’ll be phenomenal!

I’d like to see Epic do something similar with their Unreal Tournament series. Epic and id have been fierce rivals since Quake III and Unreal Tournament came out almost simultaneously. But their paths somewhat diverged. With Epic’s Unreal Tournament III ending up bombing at the charts, they have no option but to blame piracy for a game that didn’t have much in it anyways. Will Epic (or some other developer) try a competitor to Quake Live?

QuakeCon 2008 starts at the end of this month and there’s still a good week to go before it, but let’s just expect something to happen then. You can also ogle over the recently released trailer that shows some footage, especially the community and score charts on the big website. Also notice the billboards splashed over the maps.

No idea on when Quake Live will be coming out, but we’d expect early next year at the latest, and a month after QuakeCon at the earliest! 😉

Major League Gaming, now on ESPN

In what appears to be a healthy intermingling of the mainstream sports and gaming cultures, ESPN has struck a deal with Major League Gaming so that they can have shows on ESPN. Sounds pretty cool and the guys at MLG are ecstatic enough to release this press release. This elevates MLG’s status to biggies like the MLB, the NBA, the NHL and what-not, because ESPN will be giving complete coverage to the MLG.

That means you’ll be seeing player interviews, the 2008 MLG Pro Circuit Competitions, streamed matches, scores, statistics and so on. We’re definitely not talking about an oddly-timed half-hour show talking about how gaming tournaments are so weird. We’re talking a full-fledged sports deal that puts the MLG actually into the major league.

Check out ESPN’s flashy new site for the newfound affiliation, where they’ve already got the show going, with fresh MLG news and Pro Circuit stuff. Those not in the know might also be interested in ESPN’s Video Games site, where they try to be real cool and pretend they are good at covering video games like other major sites we won’t mention here. Just kidding.

This event has a profound impact on gaming, perhaps the largest since Halo 3’s humongous sales. With nerdy gaming tournaments getting showtime on ESPN, you know that the mainstream-gaming gap is being filled slowly. And while some might be annoyed by that, the more optimistic among us will tell you that this can only mean more people play games, more people make games and hopefully, games become cheaper and better!

So much for Utopia.