Jon has a Games Buzz a-brewing regarding the threat smartphones present to the next line of handheld consoles. It'll be a great read, so check it out this afternoon. In related news, John Carmack - the legendary id Software designer - has been weighing in on the matter himself. He's spent his entire career shaping our industry's visual technology, and according to Carmack, it is "unquestionable" mobile gaming will surpass its console counterparts in the near future.
According to Carmack, the sudden boom in mobile gaming came as a surprise to id, who were hard at work on RAGE before the iPhone had even been announced. Carmack admits it's a "little scary" how abruptly the market can shift, and as such the team at id Software is adapting to a potentially mobile-heavy future. "We’re going to be doing everything we can to constrain our projects more to not take so long."
However, Carmack stopped short of suggesting blockbuster gaming could end simply because some fans would rather whip out an iPad to play Angry Birds than sit down in front of their Xbox 360. He explains the market value of AAA title is rising, they're selling more copies than ever before despite the renewed competition.
Carmack did admit, though, that if smartphone gaming were to leverage the power of a home television - along with their inherent portable strengths - we could see a sudden shift in direction. "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."
The current crop of smartphones aren't capable of this. Yet. Carmack explains it's "unquestionable that within a very short time, we’re going to have portable cell phones that are more powerful than the current-gen consoles", but we're a way off yet. The iPad, for example, is often mooted as being as powerful, if not more, than the Xbox 360. It's not, according to Carmack, but only by a little, which means two, three years down the development line we'll be holding smartphones and tablets with equivalent power of our current home console.
Convenience, says Carmack, is very important. We're constantly on the go, and more and more of us seem to be adapting mobile gaming into our existing diet. The ability to download a game, play it on the go and then download another is a powerful selling-point. Tune in to Jon's Game Buzz later for more on this matter. [Industry Gamers]