If you’ve been anxiously awaiting the arrival of Microsoft’s Xbox 720 and Sony’s PlayStation 4, prepare to be disappointed. John Carmack of id Software / Doom / Quake fame believes that these next generation consoles won’t be worth writing home about as they won’t do anything more than deliver better graphics.
In a recent interview with Gameindustry, the luminary shared his opinion about the next wave of game consoles. Carmack feels that while future consoles will be significantly more powerful than the aging systems that are still around today, it really all comes down to the user experience.
He says that anything a designer can come up with today can be done on the 360 or the PS3 and certainly on the PC. As such, the designer isn’t really excited about the future simply because it will be the same thing just “with the knobs turned up.”
“If you take a current game like Halo which is a 30 hertz game at 720p; 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,” Carmack said. “It will be what we already have, but a lot better. You will be able to redesign with a focus on D11, 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.”
He points to Nintendo’s success with the Wii as a game-changing example of thinking outside of the box. While that system only has a tenth of the power of its competitors, it was able to sell extremely well because it was something new and unique.
So what does he feel is the next big thing in video games? Virtual reality. We’ve heard about this technology for years and for a while there seemed to be a pretty big push towards it but admittedly it’s been absent as of late.
Carmack is hard at work on a VR headset and reportedly spent most of his time at E3 demonstrating it with Doom 3 BFG Edition. He is working with Palmer Luckey, an inventor that will soon be taking to Kickstarter to get his head-mounted display funded for production. He hopes to eventually sell the units for $500 or around $600 with a copy of Doom 3.