Skip to main content

Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

"It's a little bit hard to work out without knowing the altitude of that dragon..."

If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Carmack: Boxed games will "go away"

App Store "the wave of the future".

Developer legend John Carmack reckons game discs will go the way of the dodo in the not too distant future.

id Software co-founder Carmack told The Telegraph he sees digital download services like the App Store as the future.

"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 recently released Rage HD for iPhone and iPad – a game Carmack devoted himself to in the months before launch.

It ties in with its big brother, the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 Rage, due out next year. And those platforms remain id's bread and butter, but for now the lead programmer of Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake believes the App Store is where it's at.

"You know, I really, really like the app store platform as far as being able to remove obstacles to getting your product out," Carmack added.

"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 and 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."

Carmack's comments echo those of Blitz Games Studio chief executive officer Philip Oliver, who told Eurogamer last month that he would be surprised if the PlayStation 4, Xbox 720 and Wii HD – if that's what they're called – played discs at all.

This view is countered, however, by Sony Computer Entertainment boss Kaz Hirai, who in August insisted that a digital future is over 10 years away.

"We do business in parts of the world where network infrastructure isn't as robust as one would hope," Hirai said.

"There's always going to be requirement for a business of our size and scope to have a physical medium. "To think everything will be downloaded in two years, three years or even 10 years from now is taking it a little bit to the extreme."