Carmack Not Impressed With Next-Gen Console Hardware

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
  • 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.
  • I don't care as long as its fun.
  • Carmack not impressed with next-gen console hardware...

    ...But will continue to support the consoles while ignoring the PC.
  • Other Comments
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • I'd rather have super high resolution gaming than virtual reality.