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Carmack Not Impressed With Next-Gen Console Hardware

By - Source: GamesIndustry | B 88 comments

Virtual reality is the future of gaming, not prettier graphics says John Carmack.

In a recent interview with GamesIndustry International, id Software's John Carmack admitted that he isn't all that excited about the next-generation console hardware. He's more interested in virtual reality, saying that while prettier graphics are nice, this will be the game changer for the industry.

His comments arrive after introducing his own VR headset weeks ago during E3 2012. He plans to sell a limited number of units in a special Doom 3 BFG Edition bundle for the PC later this year, a feature Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 gamers won't get to experience.

"Sony and Microsoft are going to fight over gigaflops and teraflops and GPUs and all this," he said. "In the end, it won't make that much difference. When you get to this, it makes a really big difference in the experience. Nintendo went and brought motion into the gaming sphere and while only having a tenth of the processing power, was able to outsell all of them in all of these ways. I think someone has an opportunity to do this here. It takes a whole ecosystem though, but it is almost perfect."

He went on to suggest that Microsoft should have made an investment into researching VR technology instead of the current Kinect motion sensor, as the company "screwed up the latency on all of it." This is unfortunate, he said, as Microsoft actually did "some very good software in that." Ultimately, technology doesn't hold back game designers anymore, he said.

"When people ask how tapped out is the current console generation, PCs are 10 times as powerful but you really are still not technically limited," he said. "Any creative vision that a designer could come up with, we can do a pretty good job representing on current generation and certainly on PC. In many ways, I am not all that excited about the next generation. It will let us do everything we want to do now, with the knobs turned up."

"Take a current game like Halo which is a 30 Hz game at 720p," he added. "If you run that at 1080p, 60 frames with high dynamic frame buffers, all of a sudden you've sucked up all the power you have in the next-generation. It will be what we already have, but a lot better. You will be able to redesign with a focus on DirectX 11, but it will not really change anyone's world. It will look a lot better, it will move towards the movie rendering experience and that is better and better, but it's not like the first time you've ever played an FPS. It won't be like putting yourself in the virtual world. All the little things you can do on that, such as playing an audio cue over here, and turning your attention to that. That will be more of the discontinuous step like we've had with first going to 3D or first using a mouse."

To read the rest of the interview, head here.

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Top Comments
  • 26 Hide
    billgatez , June 24, 2012 4:24 AM
    A guy who sells VR equipment says VR is the future. Who would have thought.
    This guy also says powerful GPU's are useless but it's thos same GPU's that will be needed to run the high frame rates neaded for 3D.
  • 21 Hide
    heresiarch , June 24, 2012 5:21 AM
    Carmack not impressed with next-gen console hardware...


    ...But will continue to support the consoles while ignoring the PC.
  • 21 Hide
    bak0n , June 24, 2012 4:17 AM
    I don't care as long as its fun.
Other Comments
  • 3 Hide
    christarp , June 24, 2012 4:07 AM
    Until holodecks are invented virtual reality is going to always be subpar to real life and be right in the middle of the uncanny valley.
  • -3 Hide
    kcorp2003 , June 24, 2012 4:11 AM
    I agree with him. Virtual reality is the future. This can work on PC let the consoles have their own fun. All we need is an open source community and some funding from kickstarter and we can achieve it. A product for everyone at an affordable price.
  • 19 Hide
    lycros , June 24, 2012 4:14 AM
    I'd rather have super high resolution gaming than virtual reality.
  • 21 Hide
    bak0n , June 24, 2012 4:17 AM
    I don't care as long as its fun.
  • 26 Hide
    billgatez , June 24, 2012 4:24 AM
    A guy who sells VR equipment says VR is the future. Who would have thought.
    This guy also says powerful GPU's are useless but it's thos same GPU's that will be needed to run the high frame rates neaded for 3D.
  • 12 Hide
    DRosencraft , June 24, 2012 4:27 AM
    He's partially right, but does he really think VR technology is anywhere near the point that it can be commercialized by any gaming company? We're still trying to work out the kinks of 3D ad get rid of the glasses. Any attempt to implement VR right now is nothing more than a sales gimmick. I'm all for innovation, but it would be way too soon for the big three to head down that road. And Nintendo went down the Virtual Boy road a decade and a half ago, with very dismal results. They'll wait for a bit more maturation.
  • -9 Hide
    Filiprino , June 24, 2012 4:28 AM
    Me neither.
  • -4 Hide
    audioee , June 24, 2012 4:32 AM
    Does this guy like anything?
  • 11 Hide
    southernshark , June 24, 2012 4:52 AM
    He made great points. Personally I don't see a huge advantage in increased resolutions. It does not make the games more fun to play. I suppose that it is better than nothing, but it isn't going to redefine gaming in the way that something like VR could.
  • 7 Hide
    fudoka711 , June 24, 2012 5:04 AM
    southernsharkHe made great points. Personally I don't see a huge advantage in increased resolutions. It does not make the games more fun to play. I suppose that it is better than nothing, but it isn't going to redefine gaming in the way that something like VR could.


    I agree that having higher resolutions won't redefine gaming as we know it - VR is the way to go there. Having said that, we're not even close to VR gaming and I'm still waiting for near photo-realistic gaming on my 2D screen. Take Transformer's type CGI or whatever it was, and do that in real time on my single computer instead of pre-rendering it on a super-computer of sorts. Then do that in 3D. THEN we can tackle VR gaming.
  • -5 Hide
    DroKing , June 24, 2012 5:08 AM
    The guy who shafted PC gaming. Whatever you spews are completely full of shit. He used Nintendo's super selling numbers with Wii but how many people actually used it for longer than few months? Seriously, Sale numbers are becoming worthless when it come to gaming world because after few weeks of big selling moments... That fad fades quick. Move on Carmack because you are clearly outdated. Let some other young people take over the world.
  • 21 Hide
    heresiarch , June 24, 2012 5:21 AM
    Carmack not impressed with next-gen console hardware...


    ...But will continue to support the consoles while ignoring the PC.
  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , June 24, 2012 5:27 AM
    "Nintendo went and brought motion into the gaming sphere and while only having a tenth of the processing power, was able to outsell all of them in all of these ways."

    The fact that it was a lot cheaper might have been more important.
    But honestly this guy is shilling his tech by trash talking. Lots of hot air.
  • 6 Hide
    killerclick , June 24, 2012 5:29 AM
    What would make games more fun to play is the availability of many different, inexpensive and powerful game engines, that would allow small developers to make great games and not live and die by the sales numbers.
  • -3 Hide
    whimseh , June 24, 2012 5:33 AM
    Virtual reality is the future of gaming? Well, I don't really like how the future sounds.
  • 1 Hide
    bit_user , June 24, 2012 6:06 AM
    what a badass.

    millions of fanboys can be unimpressed and it's not news. But when Carmack says it, it's suddenly ground-breaking and earth-shattering.

    Well, I happen to agree with him. I always felt that more horsepower was a good thing, but I've had the same nagging feeling that current-gen consoles should be powerful enough that talented designers can get reasonably close to their visions.

    As for his VR headset, I dunno. I think it's a tough sell. I'd rather see a holographic display like the ones Zebra Imaging builds.
  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , June 24, 2012 6:07 AM
    Carmack may well turn out to be the biggest fad boy imaginable, he certain hold little sentimentality or loyalty to his current interest. He made his money from PC gaming and discarded it like yesterday's toy for Consoles and now happy to move on to his next big thing VR gaming. Before you can say Slow Down Tiger, i am sure he will move on to whatever bright new toy he gets his hands on.

    If you follow him, then you are just setting yourself up to be discarded like yesterday's thrash as Carmack like all self absorbed narcissists do not do loyalty except to themselves.
  • -4 Hide
    QEFX , June 24, 2012 6:18 AM
    Carmack to game industry: I don't like you anymore.

    Game industry / gamers to Carmack: Ditto.
  • 0 Hide
    Pyree , June 24, 2012 6:45 AM
    VR is about bring realism in virtual space. When the graphics is not realistic, without mastering the graphics to look photo realistic, how can it deliver an authentic VR experience? VR in compromised graphic is IMO not virtual reality, just interactivity of virtual space through input other than keyboard and mouse, because it simply lack the visual realism and not reproducing realism.
  • -5 Hide
    nebun , June 24, 2012 6:50 AM
    i could care less about virtual reality....i want eye candy...that's why most of us gamers purchase powerful graphic cards...we love eye candy :) 
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