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Carmack: Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are 'essentially the same'

In his annual keynote for QuakeCon, John Carmack wrote off high-end graphics, and deemed next-generation consoles Xbox One and PlayStation 4 essentially identical pieces of hardware.
In his annual keynote for QuakeCon, John Carmack wrote off the triple-A industry's obsession with high-end graphics, while also deeming the next-generation consoles Xbox One and PlayStation 4 "essentially the same." "I haven't done really rigorous benchmarking [but] they're very close and they're both very good," Carmack told QuakeCon attendees, also noting that Sony had "made huge strides" in the last generation, especially regarding tools for developers. "It's almost amazing how close they are in capabilities, how common they are," Carmack continued. He described the public reaction to initial fears regarding Xbox One's proposed preowned games lockdown and always-on Kinect 2.0 as "a bit on the side of a witch hunt," and that posterity would look upon these technologies differently. "The future is obvious right there, and it will be good for us in general," said Carmack, who also described technologies such as Google Glass, while being controversial today, would be a "net positive." "A lot of these things are inevitable." Overall, the Kinect drew perhaps the sharpest crack in the course of Carmack's keynote, in which he described the Microsoft peripheral as "sort of like a zero-button mouse with a lot of latency." "Kinect still has some fundamental limitations with the latency and framerate... It's fundamentally a poor interaction." Carmack also expressed disappointment that because modern computer systems are so vast, there is no way to truly master a platform. "No one person has the entire capabilities of one of these modern platforms," he said, contrasting with older hardware the entire documentation for which could be contained in a manual. Instead, the "crystal jewel of perfection" of modern platforms was handled by specialists for every facet. It might have a bit of something to do with why, even as the industry reaches for photorealism with its graphics, innovation is harder to come by. "Priorities are out of whack," Carmack said. He posed a scenario where a developer could take five minutes of in-game play, and pass it through top-of-the-line offline rendering. Would play experience improve? "Not by much." QuakeCon runs this weekend in Dallas, Texas. Two Twitch.tv livestreams have been set up to cover both matches and panels. You can view the entire schedule or learn more about the event here.

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