Quake Live is a browser based free-to-play version of the classic FPS Quake III Arena that has been out of beta for a year. In a recent interview with VG24/7 id CEO Todd Hollenshead discussed what hasn't gone right.
"The thing for us with Quake Live is that there's one specific thing that can be isolated here," said Hollenshead. "The in-game advertising model hasn't delivered as promised."
While the service has been popular, it hasn't been as financially successful as other ad based online games. Due to different gameplay styles, ads are are easier to pass over in fast paced game like Quake Live. "For Farmville and those types of games embedded into Facebook—which are pretty pervasive about advertising—there' s a different model than what we have in Quake Live. You're playing through the game, and we're dynamically delivering ads to you."
Id has had their fair share of bad luck with the service as well. The advertising companies they work with were hit hard by the financial crisis. And four years after in-game advertising company Massive Inc. was acquired by Microsoft, the company was shut down.
"So that [shutting down Massive Inc.] had ramifications for us, because we used Massive. And if that was more successful, that'd have had some significant impact on what Quake Live is."
Quake Live isn't the only new gaming platform id has explored in recent years, as their iOS games have been extremely successful. But those games play more to id's strength. "Our skillset is leveraging our ability to create unbelievable graphics on, like, iOS devices," said Hollenshead.
Does a lack of success mean id is turning away from free-to-play Quake? They've already implemented an optional subscription model, added video advertising, and put ads on the Quake Live website. But the future is still unclear, but that doesn't mean the service is close to dying.
"So I still think the jury hasn't come in and given the verdict yet. As long as I've got an opportunity to try and do something with Quake Live—because I love the game—[I'll do it]." Said Hollenshead. "The game is an entertainment success, so now we have to figure out how to make the business model work."