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Carmack on Rage and DVD Storage |

id Software’s famous programmer, John Carmack made some controversial statements at today’s QuakeCon event:

id’s post-apocalyptic open-world shooter Rage (PC, PS3, 360, Mac) will look worse on Xbox 360 due to the compression needed to fit the game’s assets on two DVDs, programmer John Carmack revealed at tonight’s QuakeCon keynote.

According to Carmack, the royalty fees to include a third disc in the Xbox 360 version would be so high that it simply isn’t a feasible solution, with the programmer hoping for Microsoft to make a concession. He stressed that the issue is merely a storage problem and has nothing to do with the power of the Xbox 360 hardware.


This is a little surprising coming from Carmack, who seemed to prefer the more PC-like 360 in the past and famously referred to the PS3 as a “pain in my ass”.

We’ve seen PS3 exclusive shooters such as Resistance 1 use over two DVDs of storage, but we’ve also seen large games like GTA 4 manage to completely fit on a single DVD. Carmack isn’t the type of guy to make this kind of thing up, so I believe him.

It will be interesting to see how this Rage title turns out. Will it be a tech demo for their new 3D engine or will it be a fully fleshed out game?

UPDATE: Removed “Unconfirmed” as this seems to be legit.

  • Kotaku posted this too… so I guess it might be true…

  • John

    Well that was bound to happen, PS2 was already filling up DVDs.
    As for GTAIV, I’m not too surprise, it is seriously lacking in content compared to previous opuses, so it’s kinda obvious stuff was cut out to fit on one DVD (…and provide MS with possible addon content, two birds, one stone).

    And this newsbit is just Carmack threatening MS to pooh on the 360 if MS doesn’t cut on their royalties. It’s just a money thing, and I foresee that MS will oblige.

  • I don’t understand why a game that includes 3 discs has a different royalty structure than a game with 2 discs. I would have thought the royalties were dependent on how many games are shipped, not how many discs.

  • Won’t the update that hits the 360 later this year, that allows you to install games on the HDD, alleaviate the space problem?

  • Albertane

    First of all PS3 games are on Blu-Ray Disc, not DVD. Secondly, Resistance: Fall of Man is only one disc, why does this article imply that it is two discs?

  • Darrin

    Hard Drive Installs? We are talking about games using 20+ GB of storage. Most 360 hard drives have a grand total capacity of 20 GB. That isn’t big enough to install one of these games, even with absolutely nothing else on the drive.

    GTA 4 has tons of content. I think the difference is that the 3D assets are simpler than something like Resistance or Uncharted or Rage.

    Albertane, everyone knows all that. Of course Resistance shipped on a single blu-ray and the PS3 version of Rage will do the same, but the point is that the blu-ray capacity is needed and DVD-only capacity is a real limitation.

  • Emrah

    Albertane, they mean resistance uses two dvd’s worth of data..

    @Henning: Maybe MS adds extra royalties per extra dvd to encourage devs fitting their games on a single DVD, this would create less hassle for Xbox360 users, and it would support their stance that DVD is a sufficient media.

  • Mike

    This is more of a business issue than a technical issue. He’s airing dirty laundry publicity to force Microsoft’s hand, which is a smart move.

    Also consider the fact that before Unreal Engine took over, id used to be the king of engine licensing. If he wants id Tech 5 to take off in all sorts of games (look at Square Enix using UE3 for Last Remnant) he doesn’t want the potential of increased royalties on 360 to scare developers and publishers off.

    This is really bizarre though, and I’m surprised it took this long to be made known. They’re going to include game installs in the next system update to try to negate the advantage that blu-ray provides in terms of storage and not having to switch discs, but they’re going to make companies pay more to take advantage of it?

    Sony and Microsoft seem to go tit-for-tat in making strange decisions that create unnecessary headaches.

  • The Claw

    Even if you were able to install some of Rage’s game data onto the 360’s hard drive you’d still have to switch discs because apparently only 1/3 of the game fits onto one 9GB DVD, essentially meaning that it’s roughly a 27GB game.

    You can’t install 27GB (or even 20GB) of game data onto the 360’s hard drive because the 360 only has 13GB of user space on a brand new, completely unused, “20GB” hard drive. The other 7GB is used for the operating system.

    They mentioned that they were discussing the possibility of streaming game data over Xbox Live and while that’s probably the only way they could get away with not making 360 users switch discs, it’s a complete shot in the dark. Could Xbox Live actually handle such a pipeline without clogging up and breaking down on users mid-game? Would Microsoft actually allow for such a huge bandwidth destroying pipeline to be installed? Does id Software really want to limit their user base like that? All of that is stupidly doubtful.

    Basically, 360 users are getting screwed with Rage. Sony should buy timed exclusitivity from id Software just to pour a little salt in Microsoft’s wound.

  • Of course, it would be an ideal way for MS to force 360 owners into buying their over-priced proprietary HDD units…