Legendary Game Designer John Romero Claims that the PC is ‘Decimating Console’

Posted on July 29, 2014 9:00 AM by Rob Williams

John Romero, a lead designer of classic games Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake, and the main man behind Daikatana, has put his faith behind the PC as the platform of the future.

According to John, the fact that there are so many free-to-play games on the PC, along with the fact that there are so many $5 games at Steam, takes away any fear the PC would have of game consoles. He goes on to claim that “The PC is decimating console, just through price. Free-to-play has killed a hundred AAA studios.” While I’m not entirely sure how true that statement is, there’s no denying that F2P titles have made a major impact on PC gaming. In fact, three of my favorite MMOs have gone the free-to-play route, and seem to be enjoying great success.

John Romero
John Romero is a smart, smart man

Because not all free-to-play games implement the same sort of mechanics, it’s John’s hope that gamers will do the right thing and support those that do things right. Effectively, treat customers like developers did back in the shareware days. “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 quote comes at an interesting time, as late last week, I posted this to Techgage’s Facebook: “After yesterday’s GOG.com/Linux announcement, a friend and I reminisced about the old days of gaming. You used to be able to go to the store, hand over a buck or two, and walk out with a diskette containing the entire first episode (out of three or four) of a game. That was some great value, and a stark contrast to today, where you can pay full price for a game and not even feel like you got the entire thing, thanks to DLC and in-app purchases. Bah.

Here’s something rather striking amongst all of John’s comments: He’s not too sure about VR. “VR is going away from the way games are being developed and pushed as they go back into multiplayer and social stuff. VR is kind of a step back, it’s a fad.” That thought process might get a lot of disagreement, but I’ve been curious about the same.

Regardless of all that, it’s just good to see an industry vet still sticking behind the PC as an ultimate gaming platform.

  • Densaugeo

    PC is definitely the cheap option…I keep hearing people talk about how expensive gaming PCs are, but you all really need is the regular PC you have to have anyway. Don’t even need to buy extra controllers or anything, since you already have a keyboard + mouse. And it’s less clutter, since you don’t need an extra box!

    I don’t understand his comment about VR though. He seems to be saying “VR isn’t just like the latest popular style, so it must be a fad”. Sounds backwards to me. I think the rise in social games is mostly driven by online multiplayer being easier to implement, not a sudden desire to abandon single-player games. It’s just like tablets: the were the hot new thing for a couple years because they had just become possible, not because the PC is ‘dead’.

    I also don’t see how playing a game in VR is any less social than playing the same game with the same people on a regular screen. It’s differently social, since you’d have to rely more on voice chat, and would exchange the option of LAN party style socialization for more immersion and maybe the possibility of body language online…or have both options, since games that support VR generally works with regular screens too.

    • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

      Even if a PC is 50% more expensive than either one of the consoles, the value is high. Games can be had for cheap (even -brand new- they’re $10 cheaper on average), and of course, there’s the benefit of them being highly flexible. There’s so much win.

      I hear you on his VR thoughts, though I admit I am not really gung-ho on that market myself. It kind of throws me back to when the original Wii came out. The Wiimote seemed fine at first, but it grew old fast, and I stopped playing the console mere months after purchasing it. I understand that VR is far different than that, but it still doesn’t seem like a way I’d want to play games too often.

      One thing’s for sure, the future’s going to be very interesting. Even now we’re way, way too early in the scheme of things to begin speculating about its future.

      • Densaugeo

        I tried a Rift on once, and I can definitely see myself using it. It’s not the right interface for everything, but it’s great with some of the upcoming spacey flying games (Elite, Eve Valkyrie, etc.).

        It’s inconvenient enough to put on (hook up cables to your head, have to use a gamepad, have to get your drink set up in a cupholder where you know exactly where it is…) that you couldn’t use it all the time. But there are some things that are just better when they’re not behind a 2D screen.

        I’m interested to see what the next generation of that technology is. There’s the usual cheaper/smaller/better specs/make it all wireless, but I’ve also been hearing for a few years about all the great and useful things AR could do if only someone could get it working well.

        • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

          Good insight. There’s not much bad to be said about the Rift from what I’ve seen, and I can definitely see it being enjoyable to use. I’m also curious about the CastAR, to see what kind of experiences that’d create. I still can’t really see me personally ever using either, but I’d like to be surprised.

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