John Carmack isn't excited about next generation gaming consoles

By on June 22, 2012, 11:30 AM

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.




User Comments: 41

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mevans336 mevans336 said:

". . .but it's not like the first time you've ever played an FPS."

And that is why I am sour on the gaming industry as a whole. I'm sick of FPS games, but I'm also old enough to have played Wolfenstein on a 286 computer.

Guest said:

I am sure the man is right. They won't be much better. But then who has been wow'd with the current.

Sonys PS3 which I feel was superior to the xbox, hampered by designers not wanting to unlock a games full potential but dumbing it down for xbox360. And then there was the jailbreak and hacking issues, which led to a mass sony hatred for their way of dealing with the mess, and crapping on its customers, or so some felt.

The Xbox360, which has to be the biggest joke ever. A machine that constantly melted. Overheated and an Xclamp pulled the boards apart. A clamp that apparently isnt necessary, but they failed to remove it. And why would they. Customers got refurb'd crap or bought a new one each time.

I havent heard much in the drama department over nintendo's Wii offering. Sure it was basic and powerless, but it did have some entertaining time passing titles. It was different, it was unique. And sony and microsoft copied with their move and kinect. And the kinect has apparently had some triumphs, the devs have had some brainwaves with it.

Nintendo however got no love.

But will people care if things dont live up to expectation. No, the sheeple will form queues, waste their money on the latest hardware and games, games which will only be half a game as usual, the rest download content and addons you will have to purchase with more of that cash.

Ahhh Capitalism. High priced with little worth.

Carleton Wu Carleton Wu said:

LOL. John Carmack is about as relevant as Steve Wozniak....

Guest said:

So basically, you can't lauch your console to the space and doesn't have a 2,000 dollars virtual reality headset, and the worst, you can't do that while driving your ferrary... so lame.

psycros psycros said:

LOL. John Carmack is about as relevant as Steve Wozniak....

Ain't that the truth. I'm about sick of these "visionaries" who haven't produced anything of merit in a decade or more. They've been creatively stagnant and drunk on their own inflated egos for so long that they've lost touch with reality.

Guest said:

I agree with Carmack on some things, but I don't on the majority of them. It's true that the new consoles will offer much better graphics; however, I do believe that they will also have stronger CPUs which will lead to better capabilities that designers can tap into. And having better graphics isn't a bad thing either. Most gamers obviously want good design and game play, but they also want great graphics to go with it.Look at the animated movies now. Why doesn't anybody watch the traditional animated movies now versus the CG cartoons? The stories are great in either one, but the graphics DO make a difference.

I don't think most people cared for the touch interfaces and other inputs manufacturers keep forcing down them e.g., Wii, Kinect, and PS Move. It's up to the designers to design a game that truly takes advantage of the capability of these new consoles that will get everybody excited. That's also why us PC folks keep upgrading our graphics card too to take advantage of better graphics and frame rates resulting in better bench marks.

Guest said:

If you're plan is to use ARM or AMD APU's in "next gen consoles", of course they won't be anything to write home about.

Ma_ga said:

After Rage, no body is excited about your company Carmack.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

The guys does have a point. Since the late 1990s games have really stagnated. There are occasional bright blips, but for the most part it just consists of better graphics. Every game you play now, I played as a kid, albeit with not as cool graphics or sound.

Not sure why all the hate against him. Just cause his games aren't great, doesn't mean he's wrong. Designers completely rely on style rather than substance.

Look at Sim City. Simplest game on earth. Now its getting rebooted so that we'll see the lens flare on the windshield of passing cars, but game play will probably be worse than the 80s era Sim City.

customcarvin customcarvin said:

LOL. John Carmack is about as relevant as Steve Wozniak....

Ain't that the truth. I'm about sick of these "visionaries" who haven't produced anything of merit in a decade or more. They've been creatively stagnant and drunk on their own inflated egos for so long that they've lost touch with reality.

Damn straight. I lost faith in Carmack the second he abandoned pc gamers with RAGE. It's funny how he states the obvious though... Isn't this the way its always been with ALL consoles and PC hardware? lol I mean isn't a GTX680 more powerful than a 580, which can produce higher framerates at higher resolutions. The 360 can produce higher graphical fidelity at 720p then the XBOX 1 produced at 480p .... Thanks for the insight John lol ... man lost his noodle

blackshadow2007 said:

He is complaining that all the industry is doing is just increasing graphics, so with that said wouldn't a virtual reality headset be closer to reality with better graphics lol? Also let's face it a majority of people that buy a consoles or build a gaming PC like to come home sit back and relax while they play. So these company's are really just catering to the typical end user.

Guest said:

I'm sorry but after Doom 3 and Rage, Carmack should just STFU and let the big boys play their games.

1 person liked this | fimbles fimbles said:

John carmack was very honest when rage was released.

He openly admitted the reason why consoles were chosen as the lead platform was purely financial.

He also admitted that the pc at the time was about 10x more powerfull than the current generation of consoles and much more could have been done if it was not fore the financial restrictions.

I have great respect for the man, and the fact most modern games are directly influenced by early id games.

1 person liked this | Lionvibez said:

LOL. John Carmack is about as relevant as Steve Wozniak....

While you are correct that Carmack hasn't done anything recently. I'd would surely take his word over yours wtf have you done for the gaming industry?

customcarvin customcarvin said:

I used to have a lot more respect for him. Until he did that. In my mind he basically said,

"Hey pc gamers, I know that id's been producing games specifically for the pc since our beginning, but we're going to focus most of our attention on the console version of the game so that we can make more money."

The man is a genius, or at least a seemingly exhausted genius. He has done great things for gamers around the world so I wont completely disregard him... but the fact is he sold out to the man, disappointing.

1 person liked this | nugnamnivek said:

Whoa! I agree with a lot of you're statement, but you can't blame capitalism! If it wasn't for capitalism there wouldn't be any of this at all. No Techspot, no Microsoft, no intel, no amd, no technology advances at all unless deemed beneficial for government (or politicians). Of course it's not perfect, but it's the only way in which people can peruse there own self interests and be rewarded for hard work and dedication. The console gaming industry is a prime example of how capitalism should work! People were drawn to the Wii and it sold like crazy, and opened the eyes of the MS and Sony to innovate new features or be left behind. The same will happen with the next big thing, whatever it may be. It's not the fault of capitalism that equal opportunity doesn't always create an equal outcome.

Guest said:

I still can't figure out why everyone is so negative about RAGE. It had beautiful graphics and very satisfying weapons and enemies. It's what a first person shooter should be. The only bad thing I can say about it is the ending was a cliff hanger--much in the same way as fallout 3. A dlc would have fixed this....

((Lest people think I'm a console gamer, I'm not. Haven't owned a console since the ps2. The graphics on rage ARE beautiful.))

Guest said:

"negative about RAGE. It had beautiful graphics "

Are you serious? Are you? Damn...

customcarvin customcarvin said:

Whoa! I agree with a lot of you're statement, but you can't blame capitalism! If it wasn't for capitalism there wouldn't be any of this at all. No Techspot, no Microsoft, no intel, no amd, no technology advances at all unless deemed beneficial for government (or politicians). Of course it's not perfect, but it's the only way in which people can peruse there own self interests and be rewarded for hard work and dedication. The console gaming industry is a prime example of how capitalism should work! People were drawn to the Wii and it sold like crazy, and opened the eyes of the MS and Sony to innovate new features or be left behind. The same will happen with the next big thing, whatever it may be. It's not the fault of capitalism that equal opportunity doesn't always create an equal outcome.

Ya, I agree with most of your statement too. But, I think that's the viewpoint of too many developers these days. "Lets find out how we can make the most money" Where as in the past, especially with id, it was more like, "lets release a kick ass game, that everyone will want to play" The gaming industry is slowly turning into the record, and movie industry in terms of big brother type operation. I understand money needs to be made to support projects, it just seems that the focus is misplaced... At least in my opinion.

I also think that if Carmack and the id team concentrated specifically on the pc game, and made it fun, memorable, and awe inspiring - instead of trying to tweak the engine to achieve 60fps for dated consoles - I think they would still have made a lot of profit and, at the same time, given the pc gaming industry the jolt it needs. --Somewhat In the same fashion as Diablo III, people usually anticipate id's next big release --Then, they could have either ported RAGE themselves, or paid a third party company to do it, as they've done with past releases. Who cares if the console version runs at 60fps I say, let it run at 30, most of the people out there won't notice the difference. Especially since a lot of top grossing games only run at 30 IE: Halo, Call of Duty, etc, etc.

Lets just hope that DooM 4 isn't a huge letdown!

Guest said:

Then perhaps you should move to Cuba or North Korea where capitalism won't bother you.

killeriii said:

LOL. John Carmack is about as relevant as Steve Wozniak....

Ain't that the truth. I'm about sick of these "visionaries" who haven't produced anything of merit in a decade or more. They've been creatively stagnant and drunk on their own inflated egos for so long that they've lost touch with reality.

lol, I agree!

"they won?t do anything more than deliver better graphics"

What makes him so sure?

Better graphics is the #1 reason to upgrade usually, but there's so much more they can do too.

#2 - Smart baddies!

I want to see more intelligent AI. In fact, more AI's with more intelligent AI. All current consoles deliver is AI with small routines. I want AI that actually challenges me! F.E.A.R had the most dynamic AI's I've seen, but again, just simple routines after you've played for a while.

#3 - More sprites!

I want to see more movable objects, not painted backgrounds. If I'm shooting a baddie in a house, I want to see stuff get shot up. Holes in the walls, broken windows, have the whole freaking house collapse!

#4 - Physics!

Game physics can only get better. Seems we've just touched the surface on this one. CPU's and GPU's break into a sweat trying to get this right. I figure hardware is limiting it right now.

#5 - More responsive new tech.

I've played the Wii, used the Kenect and Move, and they all suck. Well...the idea is great, and for some games they work great, but in the end they just aren't responsive enough for me. I need faster movement response times and more accurate pointing for it to be fun and not frustrating.

I could go on, but I don't want to give all my ideas to the rich capitalists. lol

For such a simple game, Minecraft seems to have broken a number of barriers where gaming is concerned. There are no static objects. The world runs itself based on rules given to every sprite in the game. It allows for game elements to interact with each other in infinite ways. One of the funniest things I've seen is a skeleton dueling a zombie because he got in his way while trying to get at me.

I find it sad that an indie game that was still in beta seemed to push the envelope more than the $100M blockbusters.

Sniped_Ash said:

#5 - More responsive new tech.

I've played the Wii, used the Kenect and Move, and they all suck. Well...the idea is great, and for some games they work great, but in the end they just aren't responsive enough for me. I need faster movement response times and more accurate pointing for it to be fun and not frustrating.

Carmack straight up said in the article that the big 3 screwed that up with their motion controls. He's been kind of obsessed with reducing latency of all kinds for the last few years, first with RAGE and now with his VR goggles project.

He's also right about next gen consoles. Do you want full 1080p at 60fps? Okay well now all of the system's power is going towards rendering that, leaving not much for better AI, physics, destructable environments, etc. You know that's going to happen because most visually intensive games can't do that on a computer without some pretty awesome hardware and you're not going to get hardware that good in a console that's supposed to sell for $300-$400.

---agissi--- ---agissi---, TechSpot Paladin, said:

He probably knew such a topic ie. Next Gen consoles would create a stir and fuel the attention he needs for his VR gig.

Guest said:

He's also right about next gen consoles. Do you want full 1080p at 60fps? Okay well now all of the system's power is going towards rendering that, leaving not much for better AI, physics, destructable environments, etc.
AI, physics and destructable environments have no bussiness with GPU (rendering), they are CPU bound dude.

Guest said:

the more mesh u build in game u need more gpu memory... also particle explosion, reflection in water etc are gpu calculation, cpu can not render realtime.... it calculate many a things bur gpu share the load. also producing endless destructible world would be very resource consuming and doesnt add much to game experience (I mean it will be 200% work you will gain 20% experience)...

Scavengers Scavengers said:

"negative about RAGE. It had beautiful graphics "

Are you serious? Are you? Damn...

Thats not what he said. He said "It had beautiful graphics and very satisfying weapons and enemies."

You just cut his statement where it suited you.

What the hell? Do you work at Fox News?

Dave

Guest said:

So what he is saying is, when the next gen consoles arrive they will be at where PC's were at 2yrs ago..

Oh if you plan on buying a "next gen" console you might wanna think of it as "PC's old gen".

Guest said:

Love him, hate him, Carmack's focus has always been on extremely fast engines and he's merely developing faster VR goggles to promote that same agenda. What he fails to mention is that while faster and better graphics may not be terribly exciting for developers it is an important step towards raising the average quality of AAA video game graphics high enough to make them attractive for full length feature films. Just recently the aging Source engine was licensed to make a feature film and the ability to create a big budget movie and video game using the exact same graphics is the future of the industry as video game budget continue to explode through the roof and the two industries continue to merge.

Guest said:

Actually, I do watch the old-style animation movies. Batman:Under the Red Hood is an incredible piece of art. So is Justice League:Crisis on Two Earths. The Batman(and Superman) Animated series. I love hard drawn animations. I think the new CGI animated movies are okay but most of them seem to lack substance. That may be because most of them are geared towards children. If the DC people would switch from hand-drawn to CGI animated movies and brought the substantive story lines and adult content along with them, I would probably like CGI as much as hand-drawn. But the point is, whether hand-drawn or CGI, graphics alone can't make a good movie.

Irishgamer Irishgamer said:

His last game...rage....proved he is a has been...

His betrayed pc gamers.

Frankly who cares what he has to say

IvanAwfulitch IvanAwfulitch said:

Better graphics rendering from consoles is precisely what the gaming industry needs. Game graphics have been dumbed down for years just so that they could work on console ports. Better graphics across the board means games will get much more beautiful if consoles don't hold developers back anymore.

Nothing to be excited about? Stfu Carmack. We needed this. It's been a long time coming, and it's finally here. Now you're going to tell everyone how lame it is? Screw you. We NEED games with better directx capabilities that work on all platforms.

Guest said:

We already have virtual reality though...

I have 3 monitors when playing Battlefield... I just need a room of monitors is all... lol

Guest said:

It's a superficial world we live in so graphics are paramount to the most profitable demographic. Therefore Carmack is just blowin hot air, salty that he's getting old and irrelevant.

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

John Carmack is one of the core creators of the FPS genre and has did more for videogames in our lifetime then some company's as a whole.

Todays shooters are, in a way, indirectly created by him. To hear people bash him and call his opinion meaningless shows their immaturity and/or lack of understanding for the PC platform as we know it.

I've been doing this since the Voodoo days and my first real GPU, a Voodoo Banshee 16MB PCI, since PC Accelerator, since the first Unreal released on PC, when Half-Life made any console game in its time look like an Atari game. A common theme for PC's since the PC enthusiast age was born, and to hear people attempt to belittle Carmack since he hasn't done anything lately is nothing short of a short-sited, foolish remark.

Scavengers Scavengers said:

John Carmack is one of the core creators of the FPS genre and has did more for videogames in our lifetime then some company's as a whole.

Todays shooters are, in a way, indirectly created by him. To hear people bash him and call his opinion meaningless shows their immaturity and/or lack of understanding for the PC platform as we know it.

I've been doing this since the Voodoo days and my first real GPU, a Voodoo Banshee 16MB PCI, since PC Accelerator, since the first Unreal released on PC, when Half-Life made any console game in its time look like an Atari game. A common theme for PC's since the PC enthusiast age was born, and to hear people attempt to belittle Carmack since he hasn't done anything lately is nothing short of a short-sited, foolish remark.

I couldnt agree with you more but it will fall on deaf ears for the most part Im sure. Instant gratification is the only thing these little ***** boys understand. It is truly a "what have you done for me lately" mentality and the fact that Carmack is the pioneer of the FPS genre wont fit in between their sniffles and whines.

Dave

Guest said:

Nice hair style, he looks like Cody in SF4 IMHO :D

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

I third what amstech posted... I can't believe how short people's memories are around here. I've had to force myself to be quiet in this thread.

inMikeWeTrust_ inMikeWeTrust_ said:

Not really, you just described Battlefield 3 on the PC version which you can do that now with mid-range video cards and any CPU that has 4 cores.

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Sorry but as a fan of Carmack since Wolfenstein and Doom (probably a fanboi to be honest, the games ID brought out were the best around back then) I can say without a shadow of a doubt that Jon is stating the bleeding obvious.

Everyone has massive tellies and wants massively cool graphics running at shit hot frames. If there were more processors, memory and cores available to these consoles, you can bet they would still be funnelled into the most important thing that is most noticeable to people - thats making the games look as awesome as possible.

Its like a motorway, open more lanes and people will fill it with cars. Give more bandwidth/cores/etc to a console game programmer and they will fill it with graphics. If they don't then their competitor will do that to their game so it will look better and thats what people will buy.

Whats crazy is when I look back at Doom vs Quake vs Quake 2. Quake 2 was way too easy and you couldn't have half the monstors on the screen that you had in doom because of the 3D graphics engine. Thats John Carmack pumping all the processing into the graphics at the expense of the gameplay right here. Same thing hes pointing out here. Not impressed, just a publicity stunt.

Guest said:

When Matrox released their last gaming video card, Parhelia, this John Carmack guy poured shit over it. A few days later he published an excuse, because he misread something or didn't understand something. But the damage was done - imagine a new product being released and such a big figure in gaming says it's crap. The thing about Matrox Parhelia was innovation - it offered, for instance, anti-aliasing method that no other card could match - and still barely can, after so many years. I forgot what jagged edges look like while I was using Parhelia. That was a gaming changing experience for me, and Carmack poured shit over it. Probably he, as a businessman (read: *****), was bought by NVidia to say that Matrox is crap. But I don't care, it's just that since then I don't believe a single word he says. It's laughable he talks now about lack of innovation. He pours shit over consoles only because he's making a VR headset which he plans to sell. Even though VR headsets are around for ages, I had one 16 years ago. What an innovation.

Scavengers Scavengers said:

Come on man. The Parhelia was around $450 if memory serves and barely peformed as well as previous generation of cards by nvidia and ati. It also didnt support Dx9.

Dave

McNasty said:

Who cares what John "Cashout" Carmack has to say.

The guy has been sitting on a heap of cash with all the resources in the world at his finger tips and the best he could do was RAGE, pfft.

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