Quake Live Beta Opens To More Players

The Quake franchise has been one of the most popular game series of all time, with versions available for Windows PCs, Macs, Xbox 360, Nintendo 64, PlayStation 3, and even mobile phones, among other platforms. Back in 2007, id Software announced that it was working on a free, browser-based version of Quake, which id initially called Quake Zero. The name changed to Quake Live, and the beta program kicked off in 2008. In the last few days, users who had previously requested beta invitations, but who had not initially received them, are now reporting that they are finally being invited to join the Quake Live beta program. Not only does this mean that more people can now get a glimpse of the game, but it also indicates that the game's development has likely taken a significant move towards its official release.

The reason why Quake Live is free is that its revenue stream comes from in-game advertising, supplied by IGA Worldwide. Other than being encouraged to click on in-game ads, there is no cost to users to play the game. The game is browser based, which presumably means that it should run on multiple platforms; however, some users are reporting that, at least for the time being, Quake Live only runs on Windows systems. Blogger, Dimitar Christoff, reports that he only had to download a 3.8MB plug-in to get up and running. He is also of the opinion that that the technology behind Quake Live is Flash, running as "an embedded object in the browser and is controlled externally via javascript."

Quake Live is an updated version of Quake III Arena. It has "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. Because the game is hosted online, this means that id can continually tweak the game over time--even after it is officially released--similar to how Linden Lab is always making iterative improvements to Second Life. Unlike how Second Life works, however, there will be no opportunities in Quake Live for users to perform any micro-transactions.

The Quake Live beta invitation e-mails states:

"As a beta tester, we are asking you to help us test the game delivery mechanism and core game technology, and to provide feedback on gameplay and game levels. The servers are always available, but you are encouraged to join us for our regular focus tests and special events (you will receive email notifications).

Please note that QUAKE LIVE is a work in progress and your experience as a beta tester does not reflect the final set of functionality that will be available. We encourage you to post comments, issues, suggestions and other feedback to the QUAKE LIVE forums."

There is no official word on when Quake Live will be officially released, but some speculate that it might come before or at id's QuakeCon 2009 event, which runs from August 13 to 16 in Dallas, Texas.  Others think that id might take a more Google-like approach, and leave Quake Live as a perennial beta. Even with the beta status, that didn't stop id from sponsoring a Quake Live tournament last year at QuakeCon 2008. There will another Quake Live tournament at this year's QuakeCon as well--whether Quake Live will still be in beta at that time remains to be seen. You can sign up for the Quake Live beta program here.