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Carmack On PS4 And Xbox One: "It's Weird How Close They Are"

We've heard some developers say the PlayStation 4 has more potential than the Xbox One.

But not everyone believes that. For instance, id Software co-founder John Carmack has said that both new consoles are "essentially the same" in terms of hardware.

Speaking during his QuakeCon keynote address, Carmack said it's actually pretty surprising that both systems are so close in terms of capability:

"It's almost amazing how close they are in capabilities, how common they are. And that the capabilities that they give are essentially the same."

He admitted that there are differences in memory architecture and other specs but in the end, "it's almost weird how close they are." He also said that in the short-term, this will be a good thing for developers and gamers, and an "excellent thing for AMD." It's certainly true that game makers will be able to tap into more of each console's power right off the bat. But it's interesting that we've heard a lot of designers praising the PS3's composition and we haven't heard quite as much similar praise for the Xbox One. At least, not based on headlines we've seen.

As for Microsoft reversing their online policies, Carmack said that whole snafu was a little blown out of proportion:

"I think the witch hunt was a little bit unjustified there. I personally am extremely fond of having all of my digital purchases in a curated garden. All of my iTunes, all of my Amazon stuff, all of my Steam things. And it's a positive thing."

I'm sorry, but I'm just going to say it: Given Carmack's obviously PC-oriented background and the fact that id Software has always been more closely tied to the Xbox, I'm wondering just how much experience this guy has with PlayStation. However, I'm sure he knows hardware.

Tags: ps4, playstation 4, xbox one, john carmack

8/2/2013 10:45:38 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (29 posts)

Temjin001
Friday, August 02, 2013 @ 10:59:45 PM
Reply

He knows this hardware very well. He's speaking more to the sort of hardware features and architecture of the chipsets. They are both cut from the same cloth so he's right. It's just the PS4 has more HP.

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Temjin001
Friday, August 02, 2013 @ 11:07:25 PM
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There is a problem though with his analogy to iTunes and PC's in general. Itunes is largely DRM free. This being that if Apple some how dissapears your music wont. You'll still be able to use your files on other hardware and players.
Similarly Steam is a client for Windows, Apple, and Linux based platforms (windows is the most relevant). It wouldn't matter if Dell or HP or whoever stopped manufacturing PC's, you'd still likely always have your games, even decades from now. The problem with XboxOne is that it's totally a closed environment. That's the problem I have. Your software lives and dies ONLY on MS's watch AND on their hardware. That sucks and I don't want it.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 8/2/2013 11:09:36 PM

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Beamboom
Saturday, August 03, 2013 @ 3:48:52 AM

That is true, but so is the case for *all* consoles.

In fact this is my main gripe with the entire console business: They are so closed, each generation building their own separate eco systems. I got a stockpile of games that are useless for me the moment my PS3 is replaced with the PS4. I don't dig that.

Here the other month the Linux version of Half-Life 2 was released. Since I already bought that game back when it was first released, it just all of a sudden popped up on my Linux game list in my Steam client. Eagerly I fired the game up, and wouldn't you know: Listed in the game was my save-games just like I left them sometime back in 2005, from an entirely different PC and an entirely different operating system.

THAT is beautiful.

Last edited by Beamboom on 8/3/2013 3:52:50 AM

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Temjin001
Saturday, August 03, 2013 @ 10:55:20 AM

A closed hardware environment and a DRM restricted closed hardware environment aren't exactly the same thing. In the case of an 'always-on' DRM setup (something Steam doesn't force as MS would have had it), there requires communication between you and the parent provider.
I like the sense of feeling that I could log onto eBay right now, bid and win an original Atari 2600 and play it. There wouldn't be a need to connect online to verify nothing. And how would that be possible if that company went defunct or had abandoned that product and it's support?
Granted, all hardware has an eventual 100% failure rate so sooner or later I couldn't turn to eBay, but that's a time span that progresses into decades before worrying about obsolescence. Even then, there's the emulation PC community to keep old defunct relics alive, if need be. Something that wouldn't require breaking the law to do.

As for closed environments. I'm surprised more of these 'console huggers' aren't Apple fans. There are advantages to being a sole designer of the OS and the set amount of hardware configurations it provides for. Granted, Apple positions themselves as a Lexus or BMW, having to pay a premium on artistic and stylish design, but the number of security holes and code anomalies are reduced in such an environment.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, August 03, 2013 @ 12:05:52 PM

Beam you should like hang onto your PS3.

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Temjin001
Saturday, August 03, 2013 @ 12:27:26 PM

...sometimes Beam. sometimes. I think, 'man, wouldnt it be cool to build a $600 living room PC, connect it to my TV, and have my whole gaming library availible to me any way I'd like."
That is, my one game purchase works on my workhorse PC, my laptop and in my living room, with my cloud save files keeping it seamless. HAving a client like Steam's 'Big Picture' mode gives it the look and feel of a console interface on your tv. plus of course, steam automatically patches your games without ever worrying about it, all for free even.

=)

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Beamboom
Saturday, August 03, 2013 @ 1:52:28 PM

@World; Well that's what we *have* to do, isn't it? But just like I don't want to sit there with my old PC from 2003 just to be able to play Half-Life 2 again, I bloody well don't want to sit there with an obsolete, outdated console collecting dust just in case I want to play my old PS3 games.
I just don't like that entire concept. Not one bit.

@Temjin: I agree that it's even *worse* now with an online requirement on the consoles, with the box depending on som web services running for the console to have any functionality at all.

In regards to that livingroom PC, having the machine boot straight into Big Picture mode takes us one giant leap closer to be able to build our own console.
I take for granted the Steambox - whenever that one is released - will do just that. A tweaked Linux version with Big Picture as the default interface.

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Temjin001
Saturday, August 03, 2013 @ 2:43:57 PM

At this point, seeing that console hardware and features are essentially closed PC's these days, it's really just Sony's exclusives and Japanese support that's keeping me on PS. Really, about half of PS4's memory is reserved for stuff OTHER than games. Now there's a $50 a year price tag attached to online anything going forward. $50 multiplied by 8 years is $400. Getting the full PS experience for gamers who also game online now has a $800 price tag attached to it.
With nearly every publisher going multiplat and LEADING development on PC (check into Watchdogs about that) now, we can expect even the Japanese coming over... looks to Metal Gear and Namco's recent projects. I just need Team Ninja on board.
The future MAY look like an offline PS experience for Sony's quality exclusives, and PC for most everything else.

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Beamboom
Saturday, August 03, 2013 @ 4:37:00 PM

When that article regarding the memory management of the PS4 were published I was on holiday and could not comment. But I do find it puzzling that they needed almost half the pool reserved for the system.

Granted we do not know what exactly goes into that definition of "system" and I will reserve final judgement until I know more. There will obviously be several applications included, everything that needs to run in parallel with the games, like cross-game chat and especially that "last 15 minutes of gameplay video" feature, that video thing will consume power and memory. But still...!

I'm extremely split if I am on the PC or console side of things these days - especially after that mandatory Plus membership bullsh*t became known.
I've recently returned to PC gaming while waiting for the next gen consoles to arrive and I gotta say, there's really none of that hazzle I recall back in the days, in regards to getting games to work properly and so forth. I can't in all honestly say it's that much more complicated to be a PC gamer than a console gamer any more. So it almost - ALMOST - boils down to just the mere fact that a console looks better in the living room.

Also, there's the convenience of everything being designed for the PS controller. But that is an advantage as well as a curse.

Two of my very best coop buddies are Playstation gamers, and frankly right there is probably my main reason these days for sticking to a console. But I'll most definitely also keep my gaming PC in shape after the PS4 is in the house.

Last edited by Beamboom on 8/3/2013 4:45:08 PM

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DIsmael85
Saturday, August 03, 2013 @ 12:45:00 AM
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Yeah but when Hideo Kojima said this same thing he got labeled as an Xbox guy for whatever reason.

http://www.psxextreme.com/ps4-news/489.html

Last edited by DIsmael85 on 8/3/2013 12:47:29 AM

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Underdog15
Saturday, August 03, 2013 @ 9:30:46 PM

I think people are edgy towards him because he made those comments not too long after deciding to go multi-plat.

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Lord carlos
Saturday, August 03, 2013 @ 1:04:10 AM
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Was't the world in rage one big texture?
if so he did well multiplatform wise!

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PlatformGamerNZ
Saturday, August 03, 2013 @ 1:47:50 AM
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well i don't know as much but this as him but i'm not sure if i'm getting the whole picture here.

happy gaming. =)

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Beamboom
Saturday, August 03, 2013 @ 3:31:20 AM
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We should cut him some slack and try to see things from his perspective.

While it is pretty obvious that the PS4 is the best rigged of the two, one can always discuss what difference it will make in *practise*. Like the additional graphics horsepower: The main difference may first and foremost be a better frame rate on the ps4, but (probably) not much visual difference to speak of. Same with the faster ram: It may mainly just lead to the PS4 running smoother, less load on the bandwidth, while the Xbone might get some hickups during very ram-intensive sequences in periods.
Things like that (I am now not taking exclusives into the picture, just multiplats).

The step is bigger from the typical gaming PC today and up to these two consoles, to put it that way. All due to the code for PC games today being written for a 32bit (blame XP), 2-4gb ram (blame XP) and single/dual core CPU (again, blame XP) system.
No games on PC today fully use the capacities of a high-end PC on a 64 bit OS. They can't due to a too large share of the user base still sitting on a 32 bit Windows XP system.

To now have a new generation consoles pulling the bandwagon forward with their eight core, 8gb, 64 bit systems as the new standard will benefit greatly.
... And from THAT perspective there's not that much difference between the two consoles. And I believe this is Carmack's perspective.


Last edited by Beamboom on 8/3/2013 3:37:30 AM

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Killa Tequilla
Saturday, August 03, 2013 @ 7:29:04 AM

Ever since the Microsoft "180", they have added more power to the Xbox.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, August 03, 2013 @ 11:25:57 AM

I'm sure he knows what he's talking about, as I said in the article.

It just comes across as if he has equal experience with both platforms and based on his history, he has zero experience with one and a lot with the other. That's all I mean.

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Temjin001
Saturday, August 03, 2013 @ 11:49:01 AM

He's speaking to the XboxOne and PS4. The two consoles use nearly the same PC hardware. He knows x86 inside and out so I see nothing out of place or unqualified. Also, to his Playstation credit, he did manage to create Rage for PS3 (the ever terrible and hard to program for hardware) without showing any weakness in experience.

Actually, come to think of it. He was only involved on DOOM3 for the first Xbox (another x86). I don't think I could say he's much more a Xbox guy over PS guy based on that alone.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, August 03, 2013 @ 1:14:19 PM

Rage on PS3 has terrible pop in though.

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Beamboom
Saturday, August 03, 2013 @ 1:54:41 PM

... Depending on your hard drive, World. I am 100% sure you'll experience the same on a full disc on a Xbox or a PC too.

Check Bens review. He did not experience a terrible level of popins. And I have - on ONE of my consoles. The one that had barely any space left.

@Ben:
Yeah I know, all is fine. My post were more intended as a general comment to all whom happen to read this article, to put it into perspective.


Last edited by Beamboom on 8/3/2013 1:59:33 PM

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Temjin001
Saturday, August 03, 2013 @ 2:34:31 PM

The texture pop in was bad World but that was the same for Xbox so it wasn't as if Carmack's experience was holding back the PS3 from being virtually the same as 360.

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Beamboom
Sunday, August 04, 2013 @ 11:56:07 AM

The level of texture popin varied from machine to machine, Temjin. I know first hand.

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Neo_Aeon666
Sunday, August 04, 2013 @ 6:45:11 PM

Yeah but Rage is also ugly on PC lolll. He lost all my respect with that game. I bought it on PC for HD textures but the game uses A LOT of resources for crappy res textures... A sad tail. They even apologized about it. To me Carmack is not better than any other programmer right now. And if we think about it all his games were really hungry on resources for what they provided XD

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___________
Saturday, August 03, 2013 @ 4:29:29 AM
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as usual, picking parts of the story that suit you.
if you bothered to watch the whole talk, he said the ps4 has the stronger GPU which will give it the advantage in the long run.

watching his talk yesterday really highlighted how bugthesda, or zenimax, whichever, has truly destroyed one of the best developers, and one of the best guys to ever hit this industry!
watch his talks from years ago before they bought id, hes constantly talking about how we can push things to make things better.
now hes yea we could do this, but it does not make business sense.
its sad, they have turned a pure technical perfectionist, into a suit!
you just dont see the excitement and passion you use to see out of him, and its a dam shame!
so sick of publishers strangling the life out of some of this industries oldest and most influential developers!
hell, look what they did to human head.........

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buckoboy1
Saturday, August 03, 2013 @ 4:49:51 AM
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But it's interesting that we've heard a lot of designers praising the PS3's composition and we haven't heard quite as much similar praise for the Xbox One. should replace ps3 with ps4 ben, just a little mistake :) xoxo gossip gurl

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, August 03, 2013 @ 12:04:07 PM
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He should focus on making better games that don't take 10,000 years and still play like an old PC game. Console fans don't want a curated garden, we want freedom.

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PC_Max
Saturday, August 03, 2013 @ 12:19:33 PM
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I think unless you are exclusive to a particular platform as a developer, it is dangerous to take sides on the issue. Carmack is playing it safe. Especially if he is going to dev multi platform.

In the end, I am sure Game Trailers will do their inevitable comparison of multiplat of games and rekindle the fanboy wars. As entertaining as that can be.

Keep playing!

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xnonsuchx
Saturday, August 03, 2013 @ 8:35:37 PM
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Similar that they are AMD-based combined CPU/GPU? Like there was another choice for combined CPU/GPU for PC hardware and keep decent graphics capabilities? A game console "Powered by Intel HD Graphics" would be a joke.

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Beamboom
Sunday, August 04, 2013 @ 3:34:02 AM

That is the truth.

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kmurder
Monday, August 05, 2013 @ 5:26:34 PM
Reply

Carmack does sound a bit bias, maybe Microsoft is paying him a little something to publicly speak good about their system capabilities in comparison to Sony's system...there's a reason the xbox one hasn't gotten as much public developer feedback as the PS4.

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