Friday, August 2, 2013

Id Software Games Probably Not Coming to Wii U, Vita or 3DS

Ever since I made the post about Developers/Publishers existing in some sort of paradoxical world wherein the only sane business model seems to be to do nothing at all because of risks (since absolutely nothing has an audience until it has an audience, and developing for something without an audience is bad according to them), I just sort of sat back and waited for the next big example of someone calling it into the light.  Or -a- big example, since I have probably already missed one prior to this one.  Turns out I didn't have to wait very long thanks to John Carmack who just had a Keynote speech at this year's QuakeCon.  He had some choice things to say about pretty much everything in the industry today, which Joystiq has collected (though likely not in full, so grain of salt, etc.) and, obviously, some of the things were about the Wii U and Vita specifically, both of which have obviously been identified at this point as "risky" because of the Catch-22 surrounding them.
"I always thought that the Wii U and Vita would be great targets for Doom 3: BFG Edition," Carmack explained. "We should be able to bring that over directly, but [the platforms have] generated nothing for us on the publishing side of things, because they're somewhat marginalized platforms."

"Clearly there's a difference on the handheld platforms," Carmack continued. "While the 3DS is doing okay, the Vita's really not doing particularly well."

"A lot of that has to come from the fact that [...] everybody is carrying a pretty good gaming platform already, and selling a new one to them is a little bit of a harder sell," Carmack said, referring to the widespread adoption of smartphones.

"I'd love to be able to develop on the 3DS and some of the other small platforms," Carmack said. "I'd like to see the games show up on the Vita or the Wii U, just to play with some of the characteristics they've got there, but it's extremely unlikely to happen. There's a finite amount of time and only so many things we can focus on."
At best here, we have a case of John Carmack simply talking out of both sides of his mouth, saying "Oh these things are really neat and great, but nobody likes them so we're not going to bother" and at worst, he's simply parroting the same damaging rhetoric that's already been attached to the Wii U specifically (and to some extent the Vita) which is only making it out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy kind of thing.  "Nothing sells on it because nobody has it because there's nothing on it because nothing sells on it"  It gets less and less convincing every time you hear it because it only allows you to draw from the obvious absurdity that it exists on because it amounts to one big finger-pointing match which, as we know, is far from the height of maturity.  "They're not doing it, so we're not either!"  There's a point where it goes from being understandable to straight-up shifting the blame.

What draws particular attention to this as a blame-shifting exercise is the part of the quote where he infers it would be a very, very basic port job to see Doom 3 (Almost guaranteed the BFG Edition) on the Vita and Wii U from a structure angle, with then a little bit of extra thought to utilize the exclusive features of the devices themselves.  Which seems to infer that it's a very, very low-cost, low-risk situation, otherwise why would he say it would be easy and is something that he wants to do in theory?  Low-Cost, Low-Risk situations are exactly what you want to do in situations like this because it creates a steady platform for you to draw consumers to your particular brand that you can then support with future products.  That whole "If you build it, they will come" situation, basically.  The closing line of that spiel, saying that there's only so much time and so many things they can work on does make perfect sense clearly, but if that's the case then why again is he saying some of the other things he says?  "We'd love to support this platform, but we're currently stretched thin on our own projects" makes sense, but "We'd love to support this platform, but nobody else is so what's the point and OH YEAH, we're kind of busy as it is" doesn't.  It's redundant and unnecessary.

That's rather tame in relation to the other rather dumb thing that he's going on about, in bringing up the whole Cellphone situation, because it's yet another thing that everyone -says- without it being the least bit true.  I consider myself a pretty tech-centric guy in that I like all the new shinies as they come out, if sometimes only enough to find out what they're about before I'm not interested anymore, but my cellphone does not reflect this in the least.  I'm nowhere near alone in this.  I have a basic flip phone that can do standard phone things because it's a phone and that's all I want it to be.  Being just a phone serves it pretty well considering I can go a week and a half or so without even thinking about charging it, and I'm not shackled to some idiotic Data and Messaging plan that allows me the privilege to use my device for its intended purpose for a ridiculous sum of money every month.  Yet, I do enjoy handheld gaming which is why I buy handheld gaming devices.  As in devices specifically designed to be gaming things that are also handheld.  Crazy idea, I know.

This all goes without pointing out that everyone shouting that the cellphone gaming space is awesome so let's all jump head-first into it is creating a situation where that's not the truth of the matter at all.  The resulting bloat, combined with the rather inefficient methods of sorting and visibility on the platform-holders parts lead to hundreds of developers releasing a game and not seeing anywhere near enough money to break even, let alone make a profit.  Which is only one of the myriad of problems with the mobile space, of which we've already expounded on several times in the past, so I don't really even need to go into further detail here about it.  Really, this whole little thing is just kind of some weird meta-reflection of what an unhealthy majority of the industry seems to be thinking at the moment and it's rather unfortunate.  While I don't think Doom 3 on the Wii U or Vita is going to make a difference of any sort, it's just the principle of the matter.  Just another person in the industry shouting all the wrong things at the wrong time.

I would've played Doom 3 on the Vita, but oh well, guess I'll just have to settle for Killzone:  Mercenary, and clearly I am on the losing end of this scenario, clearly

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