John Carmack, the renowned id Software programmer responsible for the then-groundbreaking visuals of Wolfenstein, Quake and Doom, expects the next line of consoles - be it the Next Xbox or Playstation 4 - to offer ten times the power of our current boxes, and he's anticipating they'll release in the "next couple of years".
"The next-generation will be here soon, a couple of years," Carmack revealed to Eurogamer. Being an industry luminary, whose technical prowess extends from developing revolutionary graphics tech - like RAGE's mega-textures - to engineering rockets, Carmack wields an unwavering aura of respect and reliability. "It'll be another ten times as powerful as this [PS3, Xbox 360]. 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".
But Carmack warned that in the next-generation, when we'll likely be seeing visuals as good as the computer-generated imagery witnessed in films, it'll become harder and harder for developers to make their games stand out. "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 what pack-in title is going to look so much more awesome than what you get on the current ones that people want to go spend $300 on a new console".
It's interesting stuff, especially from someone like Carmack who you would have thought would be buoyed over by the advent of new graphics tech. But he's a wise chap, very aware that graphics haven't defined this generation, so why should they instruct the next? The Wii is the clear winner of this current race, and Microsoft has relied on strong third-party support and the continued success of Xbox LIVE to continue pursuing their goals. The PS3, while by no means a failure, initially pitched its tent on the idea of groundbreaking visual technology. But that didn't quite go as well as planned.
We've already had murmurings that Crytek is hard at work on a fourth Timesplitters for the Next Xbox, and probably the Playstation 4, too. Next year's E3 is set to be very interesting. Nintendo will finally unveil the Wii U in full form, and I expect Microsoft and Sony will attempt to counter the blow by revealing next-gen consoles of their own. [Eurogamer]