Let's take a look at three quotes from the press release announcing today's id Software acquisition by ZeniMax.
"We will now have financial and business resources to support the future growth of id Software, a huge advantage which will result in more and even better games for our fans." -- Todd Hollenshead, CEO, id Software
"This puts id Software in a wonderful position going forward. We will now be able to grow and extend all of our franchises under one roof, leveraging our capabilities across multiple teams while enabling forward looking research to be done in the service of all of them. We will be bigger and stronger, as we recruit the best talent to help us build the landmark games of the future." -- John Carmack, technical director, id Software
"Our intention is to make sure id Software will continue to do what they do best -- make AAA games. Our role will be to provide publisher support through Bethesda Softworks and give id Software the resources it needs to grow and expand." -- Robert Altman, founder, chairman, and CEO, ZeniMax Media
Hollenshead and Carmack are both saying (essentially), "Awesome! We're going to have more money!!!" Meanwhile, Altman is saying (essentially), "Awesome! These guys are going to make us more money!!!" So where is all this money going to come from? I'd bet on ZeniMax going on an aggressive licensing spree with the id Tech engine. There's no doubt that id Tech produces wondrous graphics and there's no doubt that Carmack is a technical genius. However, engine licensing has never been id's strong suit.
Right now, Epic Games is the top dog in game engines, with everyone and their mother licensing its Unreal Engine 3. Part of it is due to UE3's impressive tech, but much of the credit should go to Epic vice president Mark Rein. Despite his questionable fashion sense (white sneakers apparently go with everything), he's an outstanding salesman and an astute executive. id Software has never really had a Mark Rein-type of executive. If ZeniMax can find a similar soul that complements id, then this little corner of the gaming business could get a lot more interesting.
As many of you know, TheFeed's Patrick Klepek will be talking to Bethesda and id later today. He'll be sure to ask about the plans for id Tech. I contacted Mr. Rein to get his thoughts on ZeniMax's licensing plans for id Tech. Although he declined to address the issue, he seemed genuinely happy for his competitor, saying, "Congratulations to our friends at id. It is their day in the sun and I can't think of a more deserving company! Way to go John Carmack!"
I know a ton of you like to talk about console sales figures, but are you interested in engine licensing too? Would you like to see more games use id Tech 5 and future iterations of the engine? Wouldn't the gaming world be a better place with more games fueled by John Carmack's technical wizardry? Who would win in a battle of technical directors, id's John Carmack or Epic's Tim Sweeney?