During his QuakeCon keynote address, Carmack explained to the crowd that in-game advertising was not enough to support the web-based title. nope "The in-game advertising stuff has not been big business," he admitted. "That's not going to be able to carry the project."
Quake Live subscriptions will allow players to configure and run their own private servers for the shooter. Carmack also noted that the game will never go entirely pay-to-play.
"Quake Live is gonna be Quake Live for the foreseeable future," he said. "It's only just now that we're going to be able to put it to the test."