Former id Software designer John Romero has claimed that the PC is once again dominating the video games market, largely thanks to free-to-play business models and the mighty Steam sale.
Romero's comments will have pleased the glorious PC gaming master race no end - even if he does stick up for the hated F2P.
"With PC you have free-to-play and Steam games for five bucks. The PC is decimating console, just through price. Free-to-play has killed a hundred AAA studios," Romero . "It's a different form of monetization than Doom or Wolfenstein or Quake where that's free-to-play (as shareware). 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 was a really fair way to market a game."
Romero believes the next step is to really nail down the freemium model, convincing gamers that they're genuinely getting a good deal. It's something few developers have managed to get right.
"That's what everybody is working hard on,"
"That's what everybody is working hard on,"he explains. "People are spending a lot of time trying to design this the right way. They want people to want to give them money, not have to. If you have to give money, you're doing it wrong... For game designers, that's the holy grail."
Interestingly the veteran designer remains quite skeptical when it comes to the latest tech craze, VR gaming. "Really the best optimal design for games is minimal input for maximum output," Romero claims. "That's the way that games work best. When you watch people playing with a mouse and keyboard, you see them barely moving their fingers and hands but on screen you see crazy movement and all kinds of stuff. Everyone always goes for the path of least resistance and that kind of input is it. Until it can fix the path of least resistance, I can't see how VR is going to be something that's popular."
The full interview is well worth checking out if you're interested in what someone who helped shape the landscape of PC gaming back in the day thinks of the current status quo.