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One-upmanship will shorten console lifecycles - Carmack

Competitive nature of rivals will prompt early first-mover advantage for new hardware, says id Software boss

Speaking at QuakeCon, id Software's John Carmack has suggested that the competitive nature of home console manufacturers will shorten the lifecycle of the current generation of machines.

While Sony has always maintained that the PlayStation 3 will remain on the market for ten years, and Microsoft wants the Xbox 360 to last longer than the four year's of its predecessor, Carmack believes that first mover advantage will tempt manufacturers to push out hardware sooner rather than later.

"What happens with all of these vendors on the next generation - the timing of all this - is going to be interesting. We know a little bit more now than we did a year ago, but not a huge amount," he said, reports our sister site Eurogamer.net

"I know internally how many steps away the 3D hardware vendors are from where they think they'll be pitching consoles. And honestly it would be great if this generation of consoles lasted twice as long as the last one, if we had a viable eight-year commercial lifespan for this generation of titles, and I know some people are saying this is the plan - I don't think it's going to turn out that way.

"I think it's going to be far too tempting to one-up your competitor because they don't think you're doing this but you really are to get it out earlier and try and get some first-mover advantage. So I don't think it's going to be too long."

id Software is currently working on Rage for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 as well as PC, and Carmack hopes he can get it finished to take advantage of the current generation of machines before new hardware appears on the horizon.

"I hope it's long enough that we're able to have a new project come out at a nice sweet spot for this generation and not when everybody knows what's coming next Christmas," he said.

However, Carmack doesn't believe that an enforced format change will drive consumers back to the PC to make it the dominant platform.

"There are people that honestly believe the PC will come back and make consoles obsolete. I think that probably is a naive view.

"I think there are inherent challenges for the PC platform that consoles don't have that I would be surprised to see that desktop PC box making Sony and 360 and Wiis and everything obsolete. I don't think that's going to happen," he concluded.

More coverage of John Carmack's QuakeCon keynote, including details of id technology, his thoughts on the success of the Wii and details of Quake Live, can be read here

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Matt Martin avatar
Matt Martin: Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.
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