updated 12:05 pm EST, Fri November 19, 2010
id's Carmack says iPad on Wii and Xbox level
id Software co-founder John Carmack in a talk today characterized the iPad as having enough power to trump some modern consoles. He agreed with initial Rage HD players that the Apple tablet can produce better results than any Wii game and about a quarter of Xbox 360 titles. Both the Xbox 360 and the PS3 have "several times" more power, Kotaku was told, but many games waste the power where the iPad is only beginning to grow.
"We're nowhere close to maxing out what could be done on an iPad," Carmack said.
He nonetheless noted that id might not become a major mobile game publisher. First-person shooters weren't ideally suited to smartphone controls, since they were a step down from gamepad control and another step removed from a mouse and keyboard. Mobile games were also more likely to be social and always-on, which wasn't id's focus. Its titles were more likely to be visually intensive action games with social aspects a "low-hanging fruit," only two of which a year might get Carmack's direct help.
The remarks reinforce the position of the iPad, iPhone and iPod as gaming platforms and also help explain their position in the gaming industry. A rare loss for Nintendo and sinking Sony PSP sales have been interpreted both by the companies themselves and observers as signs that their old hardware and minimal Internet support has cost them ground. Nintendo and Sony alike still focus primarily on $30 to $40 retail games and a mostly offline experience where even a relatively advanced title like Rage HD costs $2 but can still be profitable from the lack of overhead and easy downloads.