Page last updated at 11:45 GMT, Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Quake boosts browser video games

Quake Live
Quake Live is a re-working of 1999 title Quake III: Arena

Classic game Quake III will be re-released for the web browser on Tuesday, highlighting the rapid development in web games.

It runs inside browsers after the installation of a software plug-in.

"It is a significant step which proves browser games can be sophisticated," said Michael French, editor of games industry magazine Develop.

Quake Live is a version of a PC game which was first launched in 1999.

The game is being released free of charge for browsers by id Software, and is supported by advertising. It opens to the public as a beta later on Tuesday.

Mr French said: "A lot of the foundations of the mechanics of modern shooters were established by Quake.

All kinds of people could now be exposed to games for the first time
Michael French, Develop Magazine

"It makes a lot of sense for id to be trying new avenues for their intellectual property.

"One of the things id has always been known for is being cutting edge in graphics but also for finding new ways to get their games to gamers."

Id Software is not the first company to offer browser versions of games that were once synonymous with physical formats: Garage Games offers web versions of games like Fallen Empire and Marble Blast Online, while there are also a number of online multiplayer titles such as PMOG.

High profile

But Quake is the most high-profile PC franchise to branch out into the browser space.

Mr French said: "It proves that consumers are willing to try these things. All kinds of people could now be exposed to games for the first time.

"There is no console or hardware in the way. This is gaming for people who are more used to using Facebook."

Mr French said browser-based games had already surpassed the graphical sophistication of titles that used to rely on console hardware such as the original PlayStation.

"You won't play this and be put off thinking it is old fashioned or ugly. It is very playable and watchable," Mr French said.

However, he said browser games were not yet a substitute for a dedicated piece of gaming hardware.

The games industry will be watching id software's browser developments very closely.

"The Massively Multiplayer Online space is certainly the area most likely to move to browser. Some well-known role playing game franchises could also move to the browser and are probably already in development."

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