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Carmack: 'unquestionable' phones will outpace consoles

updated 12:30 pm EDT, Fri July 8, 2011

id Software founder sees mobile growing faster

id Software's co-founder John Carmack in an interview posted Friday saw mobile devices overpowering the PS3 and Xbox 360. The Quake and Rage architect was careful to stress that the iPad 2 and other modern tablets or smartphones were a "factor of a couple" slower than an Xbox 360, but the much faster iteration of the devices was guaranteeing they would be faster. He guessed for Industry Gamers that it would take two years and might lead to a shift in TV gaming where the phone handles everything a big console does today.

"You could certainly imagine a future where, instead of having your console, you have your mobile device and it talks to your TV and when you want the experience on your big screen with the surround sound coming out of there, it's still on the same device," Carmack said.

Mobile games themselves wouldn't be the ones to topple console gaming. Sales were still going up on top-flight console games, so phone and tablet gaming were mostly additive rather than cannibalizing sales. Games were big enough now to have marquee titles like Angry Birds that still couldn't compare to a blockbuster PS3 or Xbox 360 game.

id still had to learn to adapt, and Carmack said efforts were underway to cut down the development time on games like Rage so it didn't get caught out by mobile or other trends in the future. "When we started Rage, iOS didn't exist," he explained. "There was no iPhone. All of that has happened just in the space of one project development timeline."

The game developer has already planned a much stronger commitment to mobile. During our own interview with id, the company's Raphael Brown hinted at games that took advantage of the increase in power with the iPad 2 and eventual iPhone 5. Quad-core hardware like the PlayStation Vita and future phones or tablets will be powerful enough to play a console-quality version of Rage and are limited only by storage.

by MacNN Staff



  1. exca1ibur

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's possible.

    If the makers will allow the devices to output to the damn TV this could happen much faster. If the PSVita, 3DS, iPhone, Android, and all Tablets could output to an HDTV, the death of consoles could happen a lot sooner. Imagine if all devices had HDMI ports standard.

    When at home there is still a better experience of playing on a big screen in 5.1(7.1). If these devices could 'dock', it could be even better, as you can use external controllers which we are all acustom to anyhow.

    My only issue with mobile games is 90% of them lack depth as they are usually designed for a pick up and play experience.

  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    HDMI out?

    Not if Steve says no... For the iPhone at least.

  1. lamewing

    Joined: Dec 1969




    Agreed. This will only happen if:
    1. All mobile devices get video output. PSVita without video output is crazy considering the PSPGo, PSP2000 and PSP3000 all have video output.
    2. Games have much more depth than 90% of the iOS games.
    3. We have true controllers that can wireless attach to the mobile devices. Ex. PSPGo and PS3 controller.

  1. thebiggfrogg

    Joined: Dec 1969



    received after putting an envelope up to his big turbaned head.
    Heeeeeeeeerrrrrrrre's Johnny!

  1. thebiggfrogg

    Joined: Dec 1969



    What are "unquestionable" phones. Only answers, no questions allowed. Would make for some odd conversations.
    I bet the Riddler would be interested in them.

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