Quake Live Beta Open to All on Feb. 24

Few gaming franchises have been as popular as id Software's Quake series has. For some time now, Quake fans have know about the pending release of the next Quake iteration, Quake Live. In fact, some lucky players have been fortunate enough to play the still-in-development game as they participated in id's closed-beta testing program. But in just four days from now, anyone who wants to, should be able to get a hands-on peek at Quake Live, as id opens up the beta program to the general public: A very simple-looking page at the Quake Live site states:

coming at you live
open beta

Quake Live will be a free, online, browser-based, updated version of Quake III Arena. Instead of generating revenue from the sale of physical discs or download copies of the game, id will make money from Quake Live by getting paid by advertisers--via IGA Worldwide--to include in-game advertising. This will be one game that id won't need to worry about being pirated. Perhaps other game publishers will take notice and follow suit.

Quake Live will feature "over 25 arenas and 4 game modes," including a multiplayer mode for playing live against other players, and an "offline" mode for playing against bots. In order to be able to play Quake Live in your browser, you will need to download and install a small plug-in. As of now, players who are part of the closed-beta program report that id has so far only offered a Windows version of the plug-in. As Quake Live is browser-based, hopes are running high for gamers on Mac and Linux platforms (admitted oxymorons) that they'll be able to play Quake Live on their machines as well. In fact, enabling Quake Live on the Mac might be just the kick-in-the-pants the Mac needs to be considered more of a serious gaming platform. The titles might not be there (yet) for the Mac, but the hardware capabilities for the latest Mac models are game-worthy.

Some sites, such as Kotaku, are reporting that when the open-beta program starts on February 24, all of the statistics for current players will be "wiped," and current beta program members who have been inactive will have their accounts closed. Presumably, when the game officially launches, player stats will be wiped yet again so that all players can start with a clean slate. Those looking to play Quake Live once the beta is open to all, should be able to sign up here as of February 24.