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Carmack speaks out on hardware issues

Gazes into crystal ball.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Speaking at QuakeCon, id Software's John Carmack has suggested that the competitive nature of home consoles will shorten the lifecycle of the current generation of machines.

While Sony has always maintained that the PlayStation 3 will go on the market for ten years, and Microsoft wants the Xbox 360 to last longer than the four year's of its predecessor, Carmack believes that first mover advantage will tempt manufacturers to push out hardware sooner rather than later.

"What happens with all of these vendors on the next generation - the timing of all this - is going to be interesting. We know a little bit more now than we did a year ago, but not a huge amount," he said.

"I know internally how many steps away the 3D hardware vendors are from where they think they'll be pitching consoles. And honestly it would be great if this generation of consoles lasted twice as long as the last one, if we had a viable eight-year commercial lifespan for this generation of titles, and I know some people are saying this is the plan - I don't think it's going to turn out that way.

"I think it's going to be far too tempting to one-up your competitor because they don't think you're doing this but you really are to get it out earlier and try and get some first-mover advantage. So I don't think it's going to be too long."

id Software is currently working on Rage for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 as well as PC, and Carmack hopes he can get it finished to take advantage of the current generation of machines before new hardware appears on the horizon.

"I hope it's long enough that we're able to have a new project come out at a nice sweet spot for this generation and not when everybody knows what's coming next Christmas," he said.

However, Carmack doesn't believe that an enforced format change will drive consumers back to the PC to make it the dominant platform.

"I think there are inherent challenges for the PC platform that consoles don't have that I would be surprised to see that desktop PC box making Sony and 360 and Wiis and everything obsolete. I don't think that's going to happen," he concluded.

Read our keynote roundup for more from Carmack.

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