Microsoft has been losing money on the Xbox, and it hasn’t made much headway against the Playstation for market share. In part the reason has been a lack of high-quality games exclusive to the Xbox.
When Doom III is released late this year or next year, it will have a huge impact on the PC games industry. Like its predecessors from id software, Doom and Quake, gamers will start dreaming of faster processors and better video cards to take advantage of the new game engine developed by John Carmack.
Carmack said in an interview recently that Microsoft was offering a lot of money for id to develop Doom III for the Xbox as well as the PC. Microsoft announced today that it had closed the deal. It’s not confirmed that Microsoft convinced id to make the Xbox the exclusive console platform, but I’ll bet they did – it would have been crucially important to them. It seems strange, but it’s possible that in that case this single game could have a big influence on Xbox sales and the console market. Doom III will be hyped relentlessly – the hype has already begun in the game magazines and online gaming sites – and it will have such seriously high requirements on the PC that a two hundred dollar Xbox may seem like a good deal to drooling gamers.
No numbers were quoted, but I have a feeling there are some very, very rich people down in Texas at id software right now. I’d bet that Microsoft bargained as if the future of the Xbox would be won or lost on this deal.