John Carmack's Next Gen Wish List, Thoughts On Steam And Why Kinect Can't Be Tacked On

Tom's Guide has a pretty in-depth interview with the based God of coding - the creator of Doom, Quake and the upcoming RAGE - John Carmack. He had some pretty interesting things about the next generation of consoles, Steam, and the trend towards motion control.

On his wish list for next gen...

So one of the most important things I would say is a unified virtual 64-bit address space, across both the GPU and the CPU. Not a partition space, like the PS3. Also, a full 64-bit space with virtualization on the hardware units - that would be a large improvement. There aren’t any twitchy graphics features that I really want; we want lots of bandwidth, and lots of cores. There’s going to be a heterogeneous environment here, and it’s pretty obvious at this point that we will have some form of CPU cores and GPU cores. We were thinking that it might be like a pure play Intel Larabee or something along that line, which would be interesting, but it seems clear at this point that we will have a combination of general purpose cores and GPU-oriented cores, which are getting flexible enough that you can do most of the things that you would do on a CPU. But there are still plenty of things that are much better done with a traditional CPU core, debugger and development environment. I will be a little surprised if there’s any radical departure from that. I hope neither of them mess that up in some fundamental way. I’m very interested to see what the next gen consoles look like, if they’re even going to have optical media or if they try to strike out without it. Those are the types of big decisions that I wouldn’t want to be in the position of making because they’re billion dollar effects. But this generation, I know most executives were surprised at what the attach rate was on this current generation of consoles.

On Kinect and Move...

The Kinect is a scalable technology, which I’m pretty excited about. And that technology can get ten times better in the coming years, so I think it’s an important thing to be playing around with. However, it’s not something that you can tack onto an existing game; we got asked a lot about what can we do with Kinect or the PlayStation Move with Rage, and it’s like well…nothing, really. It’s not that they’re not good, but you just don’t bolt that kind of technology on. Games are all about designing around your controls.

On Steam and digital distribution...

There’s definitely a sense that publishers don’t want to be tied to Valve. It seems like an easy thing, setting up your own digital distribution, but I caution everyone that there is a lot more expertise built up at Valve than you might think. It’s a harder task than just setting up some automated FTP sites with a web front end, and they have a network effect going by having the games download in the background. Everybody thinks, “Well, I don’t want to split my money with Valve. How hard can it be to set this up?” And my advice is: usually it’s harder than you think it is. I think from the consumer side, digital distribution like Steam is doing a really good thing. It’s better than dealing with getting the box and losing the CD and all of those related issues. Everybody knows that this is the way the wind is blowing.

It's a great interview that goes from mobile discussion, to tablets, to coding, to practically all things tech. Well worth reading in full.

Interview: id Software's John Carmack [Tom's Guide]

WATCH MORE: Gaming News


    I <3 Carmack. Man knows his stuff.

    Hey Mark, you didn't link the article:,review-1686.html Thanks for not focusing on how powerful an iPad2 is next to a console.

      Thanks for not reading the site.

    The man speaks a lot of wisdom. Two years ago I denied the logic of digital download. Now, with how high download limits are and the speeds at which we download, I completely endorse them. I'm all for a non disc based console to be honest eventually.

      Look how well that turned out for the PSPGo.

      All-digital consoles would be an absolute disaster for the consumer - just look at the prices they charge for stuff on PSN/XBL.

      I'm all for having every game available digitally as well as on physical media, but I want to be able to make the choice for myself, not forced down a digital-only route where there's only one retailer (PSN or XBL) and therefore no competition.

      No! Digital-only is bad! It allows them to lock us down to a store only for our region and bend us over a barrel with pricing, so we have no ability to hunt for better prices and no ability to play games that haven't been released in the country.

    The Issue isn't whether Valve has the experience or not.

    I don't want 10 different bits of Always on Program DRM because 10 different developers all what there own store

    Theres a reason that you have shops like EB and GAME that sell Everyone's games. And not specialty stores for each publisher

    The other advantage with steam still lies with the fact that it generally doesn't come with publisher bias. The whole DLC thing seems to be fostering a bit of it, but then it's only EA that's having an issue

    I think origin would be much more accepted if it wasn't "EA's Origin" because at the moment it only serves EA and probably will for a long time.

    If EA came out tommorow and said right any game that you can buy on steam we want to be able to sell on our platform and are going to make the effort to do so without charging you "Inflated Region Taxs"

    But as of now it's a platform with a limited number of products as well as overcharging.

      TBH, I would rather see a move away from programs like Steam and Origin. DRM is ok, but not if it is its own program like STEAM or Origin. Ubisoft and Microsoft I think has the right idea. Have the shop completely disconnected from the DRM, and have the DRM set up like GFWL, where it only comes on if you're in the game. We have Xfire and Rapor for the friends and screenshots and video taking, so why does a DRM like STEAM need to have it? It does not. It should just do what it does, and that's it.

        So instead of one program that does everything you'd prefer to have to visit a website to buy your games that downloads through another client that then runs with the Steam DRM in the background of the game and then run other programs on top of that for handling friends and screenshots etc?

    Basically I'm not for digitgal distro in general, but the problem I see here that is essentially creating this splinter effect is the fact that the content deliverers are developer/publisher run. Valve may be doing things extremely well, but it's still Valve's Steam, the competition for all the other companies that make games. I prefer the idea of a neutral distributor, sure they will want a cut too, but they will sell every game from every publisher under the sun with no bias or favouritism (unless companies collude with billions of dollars but how can we avoid that.)

    If what I just said sounds stupid to you it's probably because it sounds like retail, but on the internet. I suppose it is, and I have no problem with that because I always bought retail anyway.

    I do have Steam though, not to buy games but just because nowadays it's basically the latest version of All Seeing Eye.

    IMO; Digital Distribution only works if you don't have to pay through the nose for your gigs.
    This is Australia, and you DO pay through the nose. NBN will most likely cost more.
    On top of that, several ISP's have said that the price modeling the government has used is flawed, and they will in no way be able to offer the speeds the government is claiming for the price it said.

    Also, credit card usually required.
    Not everyone has one.

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