As youve all probably heard by now, at this years 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 wasnt willing to say that it will definitely happen, but it is at the very least a distinct possibility:
"If youre going to have a serious hardcore game on there, the Wii is usually the hardcore gamers second or third console. Even if we could have shipped Rage in full glory on the Wii, it probably wouldnt 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 well be seeing how the market plays out on there."
As many of us have come to accept, John Carmack also believes that the Wii wasnt 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 theyve gone out of their way to make sure that the development is as easy as possible on there. However, I wouldnt 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:
"Theyre going to have you program for it like a console, so its 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 theyre shipping with on there. And a year or two after that, its 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 Nintendos 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