John Carmack: Next generation of consoles should last a long time

The id Software founder talks PCs and consoles

One of the biggest things John Carmack is involved with at E3 is a Head-Mounted Display running the BFG edition of Doom 3. While Carmack wants PC hobbyists to help advance the HMD software and hardware to the point where it becomes commercially viable, that doesn't mean he didn't consider it for consoles.

"In many ways this would have been easier to do on consoles," he explains, "but unfortunately you can't just plug a USB device into a console and have it work; you have to have it certified and go through a whole process. And that's a little bit of a shame because even though the PC is ten times more powerful sometimes getting something done at the exact right point is easier on the consoles - it's a place where you know what scanline you're on at any point, and so on."

As for the future of consoles, he said, "Console gaming might morph. You can certainly see cloud gaming being built into every display device and traditional consoles could become more like the audiophile niche of people who want the extreme experience there."

"I hesitate to predict anything five, six years into the future, but the next generation should last a long time," added Carmack.

GamesIndustry International met up with Carmack at E3 and tested out the head-mounted display; we'll bring you more shortly

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Latest comments (10)

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 5 years ago
It could be the last generation.
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Peter Dwyer Games Designer/Developer 5 years ago
It will be the last non-integrated generation definitely. Gaming isn't going away so the need for gaming hardware is going to be there no matter what. The question is what will this hardware be built into?

I'm guessing some kind of set-top box deal. I can already see that Microsoft are looking this far ahead with their Glass project and Sony seem to be doing the same. The devices after this next generation of consoles will be true entertainment hubs. They will be near identical in functionality and appearance. I would not even be suprised to see Sony and Microsoft form some kind of merger situation to support each others content.
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And of course there could be a universal USB powered device
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 5 years ago
I think consoles should be merged and standardized, much like movies. Like you can get a blu ray disc and play it on any blu ray player from any company. I want something like that but for games. I really hate the idea of cloud gaming and stream games much like a cable company does with movies on a set-top-box. I like owning the game.
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Brian Smith Artist 5 years ago
@Bruce - You seem to be praying that all the consoles in the world just burst into flames and the console world is gone.

Consoles still offer many positives to gamers that they can't get elsewhere as easily. Cheap hardware (in comparison), level playing field as goes power, Manufacturers control over hacked machines and cheating, universal chat hardware and support etc, the list can go on.

Although these things aren't totally exclusive to consoles, it's consoles that have the entire package. Customers like that. Customers will continue to like that.

To give a specific game example. Hot pursuit from a couple of years back. Great on console, not so good on PC since it was hacked and cheated to bits, and just a shadow of itself on other devices with little customer tie-in. The experience was best on console overall full stop.

This is still the case for many experiences. Games like COD, Forza, GT, Trials are all titles that benefit from the standardised hardware and balanced customer base. The experiences here tend to be smoother, fairer, and easier to arrange than alternative methods.

That may not be the case forever but I think it's way to early to be chiselling out epitaphs for them.

Until their benefits are cancelled out they'll remain powerful attractions to mainstream audiences.
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Robert Douglas Studying B.A in Game Art and Design, Art Institute of Pittsburgh5 years ago
I agree with you Brian. I still fail to understand why those who work in other sectors wish for the death of the console? It's not so detrimental to their survival as a company to have the console industry perish. This is the Video Game industry, encompassing Consoles, PC, and smart device (Phone/Tablet) sectors. There are enough varying market demographics to cross-pollinate.

I seriously doubt any one here just games on an iPhone to wish the death of the console, or just games on a PC to wish the death of the console, or just games on a console to wish the death of the other sectors. So why is it that those who work in the non-console sectors always seem to attack and spell doom for the console sector (I'd be remiss if I didn't highlight the death bell has also been rung falsely for PC)? Do you not realize that those who play your iPhone/Tablet/PC games probably also game in other areas due to the different and wonderful experiences these other mediums also provide?

While it is true that the console market must change due to the disruptive nature of the new markets (smart devices/casual gaming)--it's a higher probability that these individual companies spelling doom & gloom will fade away long before the console sector is but an entry in the annals of electronic history.
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David Radd Senior Editor, IndustryGamers5 years ago
Nobody's really sure where the industry will be in ten years with any certainty, given the rapid development of new technologies. There's every reason to think that people will want top flight experiences on their televisions, but whether we'll be using a console plugged into the TV or just using the TV itself without peripheral machines is uncertain. Maybe a decade will be long enough to figure out the whole cloud gaming thing. No one really knows, and that's why there's more worry and trepidation heading into this generation than any previous I can think of.
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Thomas Luecking5 years ago
There will always be a market for top notch console gaming so there will always be consoles.

There will always be expensive and top notch hardware and there will always be a market for high-end AAA blockbuster titles with "blow you away graphics". Since there will always be customers who want the very best experience, there will always be a market for high performance stationary consoles. Maybe the market is getting smaller... then prices will go up... but there will always be a business case for this kind of model because there are a lot of hardcore customers out there who are willing to pay a lot of money to be able to experience the latest technologies.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Thomas Luecking on 8th June 2012 9:46am

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Robert Barrow Information Security Analyst 5 years ago
The closest handheld console experience is through the Vita and that is falling short at the moment (I have just completed Resistance Burning Skies, which is a very competent FPS though not a good resistance experience).

The closest on a mobile device is shadowgun THD on a Transformer and only if played with a Controller - in this case I used a Sixaxis.

Consoles are going to be with us for years yet.
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Roberto Bruno Curious Person 5 years ago
"There will always be expensive and top notch hardware and there will always be a market for high-end AAA blockbuster titles with "blow you away graphics". Since there will always be customers who want the very best experience"

But none of these things requires a console.
In fact, all these aspects of gaming are already covered better than consoles could ever dream of by PCs.
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