Quake’s impact on the Internet is much more than most realize. (note: I will use Quake and Quakeworld interchangeably, because I don’t believe Quake was “whole” until QW came out.)
Quakeworld (Quake’s Internet modification) was the first wildly successful Internet videogame. There were previous games that stirred the multiplayer craze (Doom for one), but QW created a whole new set of rules of which future games had to abide by. First was the modifiability of Quake. Anyone could create or alter content in the game. This added to the games longevity and popularity. Second was the smooth game play provided by even the least reliable dial-up connections. The reason for this was the creation of client-side prediction, which smoothed out any noticeable jerkiness that plagued previous games. Third, players could join and leave games that had already begun. This freedom evolved into the basis for “dedicated servers,” where games were constantly running, and players could join them freely.
Quake also revolutionized the Internet and gaming industry itself. With the modifiability of Quake came an influx of young talent. Teenagers were sucked into the opportunity to easily personalize a game. This lead to a huge increase in computer video game designers. From a young age students were learning the intricacies of map making, coding, and texture drawing. Within a few years first-person video games were an entire market on their own. What was once a niche market of 2 games (Doom and Duke Nukem) turned into a place for over 50.
Quake also helped create a new WWW market. With the popularity of Quake came many websites dedicated to it and its “mods.” It gave people an excuse to learn HTML. This lead to an explosion in Video Gaming websites. Initially, some were solely dedicated to the author’s own Quake mod or general Quake-related news. A few of the larger general news websites eventually added other FPS games, and now they’re dedicated to the entire gaming scene (computer and console). Others realized the burgeoning popularity of gaming information and created large, commercial websites exclusively for games. Quake provided a substantial augmentation to the size of the WWW. It gave millions of kids an excuse to really delve into the Internet, that led to an increase in technical knowledge, and in turn those people began creating their own homes on the ‘Net. It’s no coincidence that the explosion of the Internet roughly coincides with the release and development of Quake and Quakeworld. By no means am I implying that Quake is responsible for the Internet’s popularity. What I’m saying is that in a synergistic, exponential way, this one video game has lead to millions of new webpages.
Finally, with Quake came conventions and professional video gaming. The conventions themselves are profitable venues for sponsors and managers; and the professional gaming scene is growing, with prizes of over $20,000 at major events. Professional gaming's roots began after the MPlayer competition where John Carmack gave away one of his Lamborghinis. Tournaments were also held for team competitions by Quake Clans. Clans were groups of individuals who formed a team, and played other teams either in online tournaments or for fun. These clans used IRC (another technology who profited) as a meeting place. IRC is an online chatting system, and it was the reason for the clan scene’s social success. It helped bring the players together to exchange ideas, gossip, setup matches, etc… People became good friends online, but didn’t meet until conventions or other events.
As with all good things, it came to an end. Quake2 itself should not be held responsible for Quakeworld’s demise, as a good amount of avid QW players were dissatisfied with Q2 initially and never fully digested it. Quake2 is mostly a good bookmark for the approximate time when players became bored of Quake. For 2 to 3 years clans were playing each other the exact same way (4 vs 4 on level DM3), and because of trepidation for change (other maps or gametypes for example) the excitement and community fizzled. The Quake scene is practically dead, but it has left behind a footprint that will never be forgotten, not just by those who took part in it, but by anyone who plays an online game since.
Message me with any comments, criticisms, or corrections. Please realize this is my opinion, and I'm not applying to have this entered into future computer history books.