John Carmack talks about Sony and Nintendo's latest offerings

As you've all probably heard by now, at this year's E3 Nintendo announced their latest console - the Wii U, while Sony talked more about its newest handheld, now known as PlayStation Vita.

Gamespot recently spoke to John Carmack and asked him a few questions about the new gaming machines. Carmack is a well known industry veteran, most famous for creating Doom which is arguably one of the most iconic games ever made.

When asked about the Wii U, Carmack states that the console is much more like the PS3 or Xbox 360 in terms of power, which should make it a lot easier for developers looking to port their games to other platforms:

"But you know the technology level on there brings it up to parity with the other consoles, which is nice for us. Previously, the Wii was not a target. Id Tech 5 was just not suitable for the Wii at all."

ID Tech 5 is name of the engine that will be powering Rage, the latest title from ID. Our very own John Callaham had a play with it earlier this week. However, when it came to the idea of porting Rage to the Wii U, Carmack wasn't willing to say that it will definitely happen, but it is at the very least a distinct possibility:

"If you're going to have a serious hardcore game on there, the Wii is usually the hardcore gamer's second or third console. Even if we could have shipped Rage in full glory on the Wii, it probably wouldn't have made a whole lot of sense because people that want Rage probably also have a PC, 360, or PS3 that could do the game better justice. So we'll be seeing how the market plays out on there."

As many of us have come to accept, John Carmack also believes that the Wii wasn't a "hardcore" games console by any means, however as long as Nintendo keeps pushing in the direction that it is, the Wii U may well bridge the gap between hardcore and casual. Will it be a best of both worlds, or will too many developers opt to "wait and see"? Only time will tell.

When asked about the PlayStation Vita, Carmack was less enthusiastic:

"I think that Sony learned a lot from the PS3, and they've gone out of their way to make sure that the development is as easy as possible on there. However, I wouldn't want to be the executive making the decision to launch a new portable gaming machine in the post-smartphone world."

Perhaps Carmack does have a point there. Since the original PSP was launched, the smartphone market has changed drastically. Both the iPhone and Android have created a vast market for mobile gaming, with more and more impressive looking titles appearing all the time. ID themselves are working on an iOS title or two and the results so far have been impressive. Still, one thing the PS Vita should have going for it is that it should look better than any smartphone currently on the market, although this may well be short lived:

"They're going to have you program for it like a console, so it's going to seem twice as powerful as a smartphone with the exact same chips in there. But of course, by the time they actually ship, there may be smartphones or these tablets with twice as much power as what they're shipping with on there. And a year or two after that, it's going to look pretty pokey."

Sony has made a big push to make the PS Vita as easy to develop for as possible, stating that the effort required to port a fully-fledged PS3 game should be minimal. The question remains - will this be enough to sustain the console amongst a fierce market of portables, such as Nintendo's 3DS or high-end smartphones?

The rest of the interview is well worth reading, John talks a bit more about Rage, multiplatform development and even briefly discusses Doom 4. Rage is due out on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 this September October.

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12 Comments

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I've come to believe Nintendo did create the Wii knowing it will have a lot of hype from the family market to increase their revenue stream so they can afford to develop a higher powered system... its a nice system to play retro games and some good games like super mario wii for those of us who love platformers and the new Donkey Kong... but outside of that they had a crapware fest of the same shake your controller and do something line

Stewart Gilligan Griffin said,
I've come to believe Nintendo did create the Wii knowing it will have a lot of hype from the family market to increase their revenue stream so they can afford to develop a higher powered system... its a nice system to play retro games and some good games like super mario wii for those of us who love platformers and the new Donkey Kong... but outside of that they had a crapware fest of the same shake your controller and do something line

The only reason I can't believe that is Nintendo didn't "need" the money. If they decided not to release a home console immediately then they still had the DS printing money. Plus Nintendo has always had like 8 billion+ in cash reserves, so they could have released a super duper system if they wanted too.

macrosslover said,

The only reason I can't believe that is Nintendo didn't "need" the money. If they decided not to release a home console immediately then they still had the DS printing money. Plus Nintendo has always had like 8 billion+ in cash reserves, so they could have released a super duper system if they wanted too.


+1 People reeealy underestimate how finzncially strong Nintendo is (and has always been)...

ahhell said,
Who cares what Carmack thinks. He stopped being relevant in the 90s.

What a ridiculous thing to say, go and troll no more.

ahhell said,
Who cares what Carmack thinks. He stopped being relevant in the 90s.

I think Id kinda stopped being relevant after Quake in terms of brand names (opinion of course)... but doesn't mean people aren't still who they are... he did make some VERY famous games

I don't understand the lure of "Mobile Gaming" - that is Smartphone and Handhelds such as PSP etc.

If I'm on the move, I'm on the move for a reason most of the time.

Wiggz said,
I don't understand the lure of "Mobile Gaming" - that is Smartphone and Handhelds such as PSP etc.

If I'm on the move, I'm on the move for a reason most of the time.

It all depends on your definition of "on the move". Obviously, walking around is impossible to do this, but I know that I would have loved something to stave off the boredom of the several hours of train rides and flight that I went through yesterday.

As for the comparison with smart phones, it is a valid one in terms of speed. However, there are two caveats. Firstly, the PS Vita is cheaper, which is always a plus. Secondly, and this may be a preference thing, it has physical buttons. Gaming on a smart phone means taking up some screen space for buttons, which is already limited anyway. I think it offers a better gaming experience to smart phones in general, so I wouldn't entirely write it off for that reason. I probably won't buy one, but I can see the appeal.

If the Vita, as nice as it is, is Sonys attempt to stave off the growing trend of smartphone gaming then it won't last long. He brings up a very valid point, by the time Sony ships it at the rate new Smartphones come out it'll be outmatched hardware wise. The rest comes down to if you are ok with just a touch screen or if you want the physical buttons and analog sticks for your portable games. It'll sell, sure but I think any portable gaming system will get dwarfed by smartphones in the end.

GP007 said,
If the Vita, as nice as it is, is Sonys attempt to stave off the growing trend of smartphone gaming then it won't last long. He brings up a very valid point, by the time Sony ships it at the rate new Smartphones come out it'll be outmatched hardware wise. The rest comes down to if you are ok with just a touch screen or if you want the physical buttons and analog sticks for your portable games. It'll sell, sure but I think any portable gaming system will get dwarfed by smartphones in the end.

Actually I think they're taking more of a, "Let's do both," approach. Remember the Xperia Play?