Twelve months after Square Enix boss Yoichi Wada predicted the demise of physical media, another games industry stalwart has declared that the days of packaged games are numbered.
John Carmack, one of the most respected and longstanding game programmers in the world, believes digital distribution is the natural and inevitable successor of games on disc.
“Clearly, packaged goods sales are still critical on the big platforms at this stage, but that’s all going to go away sooner or later,” he said.
id Software, the studio Carmack co-founded, recently launched one of its first commercial iPhone and iPad titles, Rage HD.
Sold for less than $2, Rage HD is both a demonstration of the graphical craftsmanship possible on Apple’s smartphone, but also a viral advert for the upcoming home console edition of the game.
Yet Carmack, having been a central figure in both the mobile and home console projects, believes only one distribution model is best suited for the internet-age.
“You know, I really, really like the app store platform as far as being able to remove obstacles to getting your product out,” he said in an interview with The Telegraph’s Nick Cowen.
“You don’t have to cut deals with publishers. It’s almost completely egalitarian on there. It’s great to see all the small teams that wind up making these breakout hit games for the Apple devices.
“The fact is; on this platform, we can go ahead deal with fifteen-a-day feedback on there and directly interact with the consumers, make changes and get things out.
“It is the wave of the future for everything. Everybody knows that eventually will be digital distribution like this – it’s only a question of time.
“This is the model of the future.”