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Even though personal computers forever changed the video game industry back in the early nineties, they are not the leading platforms for games anymore, according to John Carmack, a legendary game designer whose Doom and Wolfenstein revolutionized the industry. Game consoles are much more popular devices used for video gaming and therefore id Software's latest Rage title was tailored for Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3.

"We do not see the PC as the leading platform for games. That statement will enrage some people, but it is hard to characterize it otherwise; both console [Rage] versions will have larger audiences than the PC version," said John Carmack, the lead programmer at id Software, in an interview with IndustryGamers web-site.

The recently released highly-anticipated Rage video game has major issues with quality on personal computers. id Software said that the problems were conditioned by driver issues of ATI Catalyst and Nvidia ForceWare and would be resolved shortly. The main reason for the issues is that the latest title by id was designed with PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 video game consoles in mind, whereas the PC version is essentially a port with high-quality graphics.

A scene from id Software's Rage video-game

Although modern game consoles are based on the custom ATI Radeon or Nvidia GeForce graphics processors, they use different application programming interfaces and are generally different from typical PCs. As a result, in case programmers use low-level architectural peculiarities of PS3 or X360, they have to redesign their engines for personal computers.

According to Mr. Carmack, since game consoles are more popular among gamers than PCs, it makes sense to develop video games for them and then to personal computers while adding graphics features.

"You can choose to design a game around the specs of a high-end PC and make console versions that fail to hit the design point, or design around the specs of the consoles and have a high-end PC provide incremental quality improvements. We chose the latter. A high end PC is nearly 10 times as powerful as a console, and we could unquestionably provide a better experience if we chose that as our design point and we were able to expend the same amount of resources on it. Nowadays most of the quality of a game comes from the development effort put into it, not the technology it runs on. A game built with a tenth the resources on a platform 10 times as powerful would be an inferior product in almost all cases," added Mr. Carmack.

id Software and John Carmack are not the first game designers who choose to develop video games for game consoles and then port them to PC platform. The trend started in the middle of the previous decade as result of dropping sales of video games for PCs. For a long time Mr. Carmack defended the PC gaming since the platform was much more flexible and feature-rich compared to consoles, which allowed him to perform unique things. However, with the arrival of the current-generation of consoles he changed his opinion.

Tags: Sony, Microsoft, Playstation, Xbox, ATI, AMD, Nvidia, Radeon, Geforce, id Software


Comments currently: 10
Discussion started: 10/14/11 03:43:11 AM
Latest comment: 10/15/11 03:41:10 AM
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He just become a loser and a coward! If not for the consoles RAGE would have been an extremely good game.
6 0 [Posted by: TAViX  | Date: 10/14/11 03:43:11 AM]
- collapse thread

Precisely. Rage may be considered good in the simplified world of console gaming, but was a fail by PC standards.

As for 'legendary game designer', hardly! Id are still living off the legacy of Doom, having done nothing of note since the 90's.
6 0 [Posted by: qd50  | Date: 10/14/11 07:10:46 AM]

Bah, if he was a real "legendary" designer, he would innovate the FPS formula, give us something new and make it pc exclusive. He's simply rehashing the games he created years and years ago. Face it, I dont think ID really created anything "new" in ages.

Which means we get horrible PC ports that don't even go through decent QA process. I'm sorry, but HOW did they manage to miss out on such a huge graphical glitch. Do you test the game on one system, see it loads and then declare it ready to play?
5 0 [Posted by: crointel  | Date: 10/14/11 06:18:26 AM]

"We do not see the PC as the leading platform for games."

That's fine because I do not see John Carmack as the leading game designer for anything.

I don't know John, maybe if you had as much talent as, say, Blizzard, you could make a quality PC game and still make tons of money. Because I don't know about you, John, but I still see lots of gamers dumping tons of money in to FPS games, MOBA games, and MMOs.

Hey John? PC gamers got you were you are, and guess what? We're all older now and have plenty of disposable income to actually BUY those console games you think are your future, but guess what? We called you out because your game is a half-assed piece of junk that insults us with its lack of polish, glaring deign flaws, broken engine, and obvious belief that we're just paychecks that will buy any piece of crap with your name on it.

We've been around as long, or longer, than you have, and we see that you're just a has-been now. We still play lots of games and, yes, our expectations have gone up. You can't seem to live up to those expectations so you shoot for the lowest common denominator, the console.

Now that you can't milk your game engine for millions by selling it to every game studio out there, you're suddenly not interested in PC gaming. That's too bad, because engine design was the only thing you were ever really good at. But then all that money got to your head and inbetween buying new cars, you pump out a turd every now and then to keep the cash flowing when it starts to dip down a bit low. It shows. You're not interested in making quality games. You just need a paycheck.

If John Carmack is the turd, the console is the toilet, and the PC gamer is the toilet paper stuck wiping up the shitty mess left behind. Luckily we have honest enthusiast sites that pulled the handle on the toilet and flushed that steaming pile down before we all got a whiff of it and vomited.

The reality is that it's easier to program for the consoles. That's the real reason those pesky "driver issues" gotcha, right? Don't worry John, we won't actually use our brains to realize you're full of it. Oh wait, we will!

Consoles have their place and PCs have theirs too. Just stick with the console, John, please. We don't want your shovelware on the PC.


An old-shool PC gamer
8 0 [Posted by: Astral Abyss  | Date: 10/14/11 08:20:25 AM]
- collapse thread

Excellent post! He would have saved a great deal more money for his own posh self if he did not try to port to PC. Hell, we got excellent shooters on the PC, and Rage is not one of them.

Oh and yes, my hopes are still on Episode 3...
0 0 [Posted by: crointel  | Date: 10/15/11 03:41:10 AM]

John Carmack says loads of crap?
2 0 [Posted by: george1976  | Date: 10/14/11 10:20:56 AM]

I'm an avid PC gamer I actually enjoyed Rage, I did finish it in 3 days, but all in all a good game with a good engine. No, it's not cutting edge graphics, but there's more to a game then just high res textures. Was Rage amazing? No, but it was definitely better than some of the other garbage that's been released for PC in the last few months.

I do disagree with Carmack about consoles, if it wasn't for all the lessons learned over the years on PCs, consoles would not exist. Also I don't see AMD or nVidia stopping production on PC graphics cards any time soon. And I guess Carmack has never heard of Steam, Team Fortress, Counter Strike, BF3 or COD-MW. PC gaming is here to stay and I hope, because I can't aim worth sh*t with a controller, it never goes away.
6 0 [Posted by: ThingFish  | Date: 10/14/11 12:24:06 PM]

"We do not see the PC as the leading platform for games. That statement will enrage some people, but it is hard to characterize it otherwise; both console [Rage] versions will have larger audiences than the PC version," said John Carmack, the lead programmer at id Software.

This statement is pigeon-holed and limited. Of course he cannot characterize it otherwise. He's stuck re-rendering FPS - 20 year old genre. However popular it still is, a mouse and keyboard have no business driving it. Even a console seems like a slow, clunky, retarded interface. As better interfaces are created, we need some originality to revive this era. Give us today the same revolutionary leap that Wolfenstien and Doom gave us a decade and a 1/2 ago.

Until then I'll stick with my 108 key keyboard and 60 button programmable mouse for games that have no business on consoles like Full On Strategy Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games. That are being throughly renovated and original (see for proof).
2 0 [Posted by: diver  | Date: 10/14/11 03:31:53 PM]

And yet pc gaming is getting stronger each year, What an idiotic statement he has made. I own pc and console and I will ALWAYS buy fps games on pc unless it is unavailable(Resistance 3). PC craps over consoles in every way he is just making that statement from a money making mindset.
But it's hardcore gamers that are willing to spend several thousand on pc hardware each year that keep the industry growing. Early adopters help bring prices down for the general masses otherwise your console hardware(which is just cutdown pc tech) would still be too expensive. I already have my next system planned running 2x 680GTX cards when they come out, Nvidia,ATI/AMD/Intel arent going under anytime soon Carmack nor is pc gaming. And last thing is does he have a split personality? One minute he is praising the pc's power that's 10x more powerful than consoles next he is bagging it. Sounds like he has to make a decision,dump superior pc platform so he can make more money on crap console platform. Like I have said from the very start years ago there should be proper versions of the game for each platforms ability,None of this stupid cross platform which is the problem, Once again comes back to greed!
3 0 [Posted by: ozegamer  | Date: 10/14/11 05:34:08 PM]

"You can choose to design a game around the specs of a high-end PC and make console versions that fail to hit the design point, or design around the specs of the consoles and have a high-end PC provide incremental quality improvements."

Nobody gives a shit that the graphics look like a console. The problem is that console ports are USUALLY lazily done. With the in game toturial telling you to "press triangle" even though you are using a mouse and keyboard, the game crashes often, there is no proper saving, and the interface was designed for a 480p resolution instead of 1080p.
3 0 [Posted by: taltamir  | Date: 10/14/11 10:51:45 PM]


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