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John Carmack: The Future, Now

Moore's law, the next-gen and the next next-gen.

Eurogamer Despite them being out for five years?
John Carmack

There is too much there. If you just looked at the manual sets for everything about the core processor, the cell processors, the GPUs and the development environments on there, probably no-one even knows all the switches to the linker to optimise all the different things on here. It's just too much information for one person to know at that level of detail. And hence there's still unexplored territory for different ways to go about things.

So, I'm happy. I'd like us to do a few more games with all this technology we've leveraged on here. The next-generation will be here soon, in a couple of years. That's going to be that much farther beyond that. It'll be another ten times as powerful as this. I'd be surprised if that doesn't last over a decade before people wind up saying, well, we've really tapped out everything you could possibly do on there.

Eurogamer And then the merry-go-round continues.
John Carmack

At that point we're closing in on the end of Moore's law. It's a scary thought to think, is the generation after the next one the last console generation, effectively?

The other thing you fight is, the better games get the harder you have to go to give a delta people care about. That's going to be a challenge for the next-generation of consoles, to show that the pack-in title is going to look more awesome than what you get on the current ones that people will want to go spend $300 on a new console.

They'll be able to do it on the next generation, but it's going to be much harder. And whether it's even possible another generation after that is an open question. There are lots of valid reasons to like a stable platform, to be able to have stable skill sets and tool sets to be able to build things in a controlled way without that terrifying jump.

There are a lot of factors that can go on there. And shoot, once we're out ten years cloud-based gaming is almost a shoe-in. It's not a shoe-in this year or next year, but if you look ten years out, piping everything over a broadband connection, there are huge advantages to doing that.

Rage, due out in October, is the first game built on id Tech 5.
Eurogamer Does that mean the end of home consoles?
John Carmack

It might. There are a lot of different factors there, where computing power is getting so ridiculously cheap and we carry so much of it around. People's telephones could be their home console, and it just beams over to the TV set when they're there and they want that experience. Do we want these separate walled gardens: here's what we've got on our PC, here's what we've got on our console, here's what we've got on our mobile phone?

There's at least an argument that you wind up carrying around enough processing power with you to satisfy all of those and you dock them into different things when you go there. It could play out in lots of different ways. There's not one valid path to the next-generation of technology.

It's all fascinating, interesting stuff. I'm completely happy to go work on the next-generation, super computer console. I love working on mobile stuff. Cloud-based infrastructure has lots of interesting technical challenges of its own as well as development wins for doing things that way.

That's at least three directions things could go right there. And any one of them could wind up dominating in some way.

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Wesley Yin-Poole avatar

Wesley Yin-Poole

Deputy Editorial Director

Wesley is deputy editorial director of ReedPop. He likes news, interviews, and more news. He also likes Street Fighter more than anyone can get him to shut up about it.

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