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Alphawolf

When will doom be free?

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Hah, I wonder if people will still be playing Doom on whatever devices they'll have a hundred years from now.

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Don't mark those dates on your calendar just yet. Disney and the *IAA haven't finished steamrolling over the public domain just yet. It will be a cold day in hell before Doom ever becomes free. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised to find out that an actual space marines force is created before then...

For us mere mortals, who unlike corporations are subject to a natural lifespan, the only consolation comes in the form of side projects like Freedoom, Blasphemer, etc.

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Marnetmar said:

Hah, I wonder if people will still be playing Doom on whatever devices they'll have a hundred years from now.

This is why Doom will never be free.

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Alphawolf said:

Its been ported how many times and still sells. How long before doom can't make a buck?

You can try some of the free Doom-engine releases, such as Harmony, which probably play a lot like Doom.

Daiyu_Xiaoxiang said:

I am waiting for Doom 3 to be free too!

At least, for the idTech4 engine.

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xvertigox said:

I'm surprised no one has mentioned Freedoom yet.



Actually, a few posts back...

xvertigox said:

For us mere mortals, who unlike corporations are subject to a natural lifespan, the only consolation comes in the form of side projects like Freedoom, Blasphemer, etc.

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Beethoven's music has been in the free-to-use public domain for more than 100 years. But people still buy CD's of Beethoven's work, still pay to download MP'3's, still pay to see his works performed by an orchestra etc etc.

I think Doom will eventually find itself in a similar situation to this. (And yes I am implying that Doom is art :D ). While Doom itself will eventually become public domain and become free to use, the actual manufacturing and technology and licensing associated with the game will probably never become free. (Though hopefully society will evolve to the point where money is no longer the required means of exchange.)

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Marnetmar said:

Hah, I wonder if people will still be playing Doom on whatever devices they'll have a hundred years from now.

It's not all that far-fetched. People still play chess and draughts/checkers.

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GreyGhost said:

The copyright's start expiring in...

2088 - Doom
2089 - Doom 2
2091 - Final Doom


Everyone one who wanted to get it for free must wait until they become old people.

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C30N9 said:

Everyone one who wanted to get it for free must wait until they become old people.


Just under 80 years from now? All of us in their 20's and 30's will be dead by then. Those being born now, this very year, might stand a chance...

Of course, by then Doom may well have faded into obscurity and no longer remain relevant, except in game history context. Sure, it's been alive and well for almost 20 years now, but here's the deal: those of us who played it back in the day are still alive and passionate about it. As the old guard fades away little by little, less people may become interested in it, and the community may dwindle out of existence.

And mind you, there are countless other games out there that don't enjoy the attention that Doom still receives. Some of them are even effectively in legal limbo (for example: Strife).

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Things enter the public domain in the EU (not sure about US but I think it's similar) 75 years after the death of the creator(s). As most of the creator(s) of content in Doom are still around don't hold your breath.

BUT if the copyright is held by a company, and that company or a descendant of it still exists they keep the copyright forever, basically.

I tried to use a character in my self-published comics called Sexton Blake, who was created by a guy that died in 1898. However I then checked with the descendant of the company that published the stories and actually they still hold the copyright.

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Given how generous id was with the engines, I'm actually kind of surprised they haven't released the game data itself for free yet. What's even more surprising is how much they charge for a digital download copy on their own website.

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The only games that get free releases are generally the ones the owner doesn't want to maintain. Things like Daggerfall or GTA fall into this category. Id's commitment to maintaining their game (because they didn't have too many to sell) and then Carmack's effort to let the community maintain it have turned into easy money. If I were them I wouldn't give it up either.

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Huh? They're always pumping out new engines and licensing the technology. What do they really care about a nearly 20-year old game? They might get a few bucks here and there from stuff like Steam but that's it. The number of people who play these old games is insignificant compared to the Halo/CoD/etc. crowd.

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You all seem to forget that often the one calling the shots regarding pricing/technology licensing/openness/tolerance to modding etc. is not the actual creator of a game, but its publisher, which is in most cases a pure marketing entity, whose staff is mostly made up by pointy-haired lawyers, marketers, advertisers and other "top managers", not developers. They have a product that they need to sell, and the laws of the market dictate that they do it in such-and-such way at a such-and-such price. Words like "fanbase" and "modding community" and "open source" just sound alien to them. Does not compute. Non comprende. No spico ingles, esse.

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hex11 said:

Huh? They're always pumping out new engines and licensing the technology. What do they really care about a nearly 20-year old game? They might get a few bucks here and there from stuff like Steam but that's it. The number of people who play these old games is insignificant compared to the Halo/CoD/etc. crowd.


Yes, they get a few bucks here and there, but that's all they need. Their development costs to keep moving it to new systems are next to zero. How long did it take Carmack to make an iOS port using a sourceport? Probably less than a week. If they sell a few thousand of those (it's an expensive iOS game) the effort was well worth it. Then it shows up on XBLA, Steam, etc.

Now compare that with Daggerfall. If Bethesda wanted to sell it (and it would sell to certain people), they could do it on Steam with DOSbox, but the return would be less; it's not polished, and it's ridiculously buggy. If they wanted it fixed or ported to another system, they'd have to spend a lot more money, and if the rumours are true, even rewrite their engine from scratch. The pointy-haired guys Maes is talking about decided the PR value of a download was worth more than working on it.

Maes is right that the guys with money are generally not all about pleasing a fanbase. Fanbase == money fountain. However, maybe if we're lucky Bethesda will one day release DOOM for free.

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Given the popularity of QuakeLive, perhaps some "T for Teen" version will appear.

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Istn't it already? I have 8 forms of Doom, Doom II, Doom 3... but if I have to install it again, I don't even use the CD, I just look it up....

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Heh - I've enough legal copies to host a LAN party, maybe it's time I sold a few.
<reports geo to Internet Police - collects reward>

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I've got the real copies right here. Its just easier to DL them :-) That's the problem with the Internet its too easy to do anything for free. Its killing jobs and driving prices down to free.

Why spend $50 for Brink when I can get Team Fortress 2 for free?

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GreyGhost said:

The copyright's start expiring in...

2088 - Doom
2089 - Doom 2
2091 - Final Doom


Heh I'll be 100 by the time its free...if I ever live that long.

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Even assuming the copyright terms aren't pushed back even further once Mickey becomes dangerously close to being released in the public domain, to be entirely free Doom stuff would also need to no longer be a trademark, which would only happen if Id ceased to exist or abandoned the franchise entirely.

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