Media Moguls Pick Up id Software

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News Posted: Wed, Jun 24 2009 10:54 PM
The big daddy of all 3D FPS game studios, id Software, has been acquired by ZeniMax Media - the media company run by Jerry Bruckheimer (himself), Robert Altman (not that one) and Harry Sloan (CEO of MGM).

As a result of being brought into the Zenimax fold, the id Software franchises will be published under the Bethesda Softworks label, and games development will be done under one roof, as John Carmack has put it. This means Fallout 3, Quake, Doom and Elder Scrolls IV as one big happy family. Activision will retain the Wolfenstein distribution, though.

The sale isn't a fortuitous alignment of stars in the night sky or a bet lost at poker, id Software is using this to get ahead of the game when it comes to publishing its own titles and retaining some control over development and distribution. It is widely known that id Software had kept itself out of the distribution game due to past experiences, including a cash offer from Activision. Zenimax's vision of id Software and how they want things to work seems to have pleased the bosses at id, however.


Enemy Territory:  Quake Wars

No joint projects were announced just now, as it seems it's business as usual, although it wouldn't surprise us if Fallout 4 or Elder Scrolls V came out with a bag load of id tricks.  You might ask what this has to do with hardware. We can honestly say that it's greatly due to the work of John Carmack and id Software in the Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake series of games that 3D hardware is what it is today - Carmack will, hopefully, continue to drive 3D game engine development for years to come, only this time controlling its own intellectual property from within the Zenimax mothership. We'll probably benchmark more than a few CPUs and GPUs on the next generation 3D engine the company comes up with
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3vi1 replied on Thu, Jun 25 2009 4:08 PM

I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of gamers suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear John Carmack has cashed out.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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Lev_Astov replied on Thu, Jun 25 2009 4:59 PM

I don't know about this. This kind of consolidation could be seen as a bad thing, as I would say if this were EA purchasing id, but I think the combined expertise of id and Bethesda Softworks could result in some real gems. I can only cross my fingers and pray for a whole new genre of MMO's coming out in the form of Elder Scrolls V.

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It's kinda sad. I remember sitting around watching my uncle play doom and when I got a little older he let me try quake. It kinda feels like the end of an era. Maybe they will still put out great games, but they are no longer the independent mind blowing id that they were back in the day.

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3vi1 replied on Thu, Jun 25 2009 8:49 PM

>> Our role will be to provide publisher support through Bethesda Softworks and give id Software the resources it needs to grow and expand. (Robert Altman, the founder, Chairman & CEO of ZeniMax Media)

That's not what I wanted to hear. Companies that expand every time they get a cash infusion end up hurting bad during industry troughs.

I liked how Id would make millions-per-employee on engine release years, then could work purely on pushing the envelope without being answerable to a publisher. I'm just worried that their new parent is going to muck up the formula thats led to innovation.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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Dave_HH replied on Thu, Jun 25 2009 11:19 PM

Yeah, this sounds like an easy sell-out and not much good to come of it.

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3vi1 replied on Fri, Jun 26 2009 8:49 AM

We'll know for sure soon.

If Carmack ends up as CEO of Armadillo Aerospace within the next year, then he probably was planning on backing out of Id's daily operations all along and this was just a great way for him and Hollenshead to make one last chunk of capital before Id becomes an "average" company.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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