Id Software's legendary John Carmack hopes that web-based Quake Live, officially launching today, will offer the PC a chance to shine in a console-centric world.
"A lot of this project was about doing something that the PC was going to be better at than the consoles," he tells Gamasutra.
The beta for Quake Live is now open following a year of closed testing, and we spoke in-depth with Carmack and colleague Marty Stratton about the project, for a feature set to appear on Gamasutra in the near future.
"Our modern triple-A stuff has to be somewhat more console-centric, with the PC as a peer, while this is an opportunity to do something where the PC will really stand alone."
According to Carmack, it's Quake Live's relationship to the internet browser that means the experience he has in mind -- a web-based "portal" to Quake 3 that can stand on its own -- is only possible on PC.
He explains: "The core concept here is that one of the major things that PCs do much better than consoles is the web browsing experience... PCs are still just plain better than consoles at that."
And the aim is to strengthen Quake Live with web-native functionality like social networking, communications, leaderboards and friends lists, Carmack says.
These elements are "things that certainly appear to some degree or another on the consoles, but are just a lot more fleshed-out and have more depth with what we can do here," he says.
How might PC gamers acclimated to using a client find it? "It'll be interesting to see if hardcore people play full-screen still," he says -- Quake Live allows for a full-screen mode.
"But I suspect that probably there will be a lot more people, as our user base grows, who are playing it just in the browser window," Carmack suggests -- but he anticipates more players will use the browser mode, in order to receive notifications from friends or juggle other web tasks.
"I'm curious to see how that actually plays out in the end," Carmack says, "how many people look at it as a serious gaming experience and just use the portal to get there, versus the people for whom the portal is a large chunk of the experience."
"For years, I've often thought about the fact that a lot of people spend vastly more time on websites and forums about the games that they're playing than they actually spend playing the games themselves," he adds. "We hope to have some aspect of that here."