John Carmack: PS4 and Xbox One Are "Essentially the Same"

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John Carmack: PS4 and Xbox One Are "Essentially the Same"

john carmack

John Carmack of id Software fame says there's actually very little difference between the new consoles coming from Sony and Microsoft, but he's really not much of a fan of Kinect.

Id Software may not be the genre-dominating power it once was but John Carmack is still John Carmack and when he says something about computer stuff - zigatexels, gigapoops, teragoogles and whatnot - you can be pretty sure he knows what he's talking about. And so his comparison of the upcoming Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles during his QuakeCon keynote is especially interesting, because in terms of computational power at least, in his eyes it's pretty much a toss-up.

Carmack said he hasn't done any "really rigorous benchmarking" yet but declared that the two systems are very similar, and both very capable. "It's almost amazing how close they are in capabilities, how common they are," Carmack said. "The capabilities they give are essentially the same."

And although he said the backlash against the Xbox One was "a bit on the side of a witch hunt," he also made it clear that he's not really a fan of Kinect, knocking it for "fundamental limitations with the latency and frame rate" and saying it provides a "poor interaction" with the system. "One way that I look at it is - I used to give Apple a lot of grief about the one button mouse," he said. "Anybody working with a mouse really wants more buttons - [they're] helpful there. Kinect is sort of like a zero button mouse with a lot of latency on it."

The 2013 edition of QuakeCon is underway now and runs until August 4.

Source: OXM

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Good to know. Wasn't going for the xbone anyway, but at least I won't have to contemplate buying the same machine twice.

As long as the voice capabilities are more accurate, this isn't a deal breaker for me...

Essentially the same... except in price.

This makes all the difference for me.

So pretty much a repeat of 360 vs. PS3, then?

mechalynx:
buying the same machine twice.

Considering that both seem to be based on the same AMD technology this a rather fitting description.

The current situations (all console based on AMD technology) sort of makes me wish that there was only one console developed by Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft together in dialogue with important publishers and developers. That way I could just hand over 400 ~ 500€ for one system and enjoy all the games for 5 ~ 7 years and not have the same machine with different logos on it three times...

VinLAURiA:
So pretty much a repeat of 360 vs. PS3, then?

Not really. There were difference between the two in terms of graphics and some performance stuff. On the PS3, Capcom games, especially the fighters, have a slight but noticeable input lag, which can be a huge headache for tournament play. ME3 seems to crash a lot (at least mine does, and always in the same spots on multiple playthroughs), the multiplayer has constant issues, and there are games that just don't look as good, Bayonetta being the classic example.

If what Mr. Carmack is saying is true, then we should expect those issues to be eliminated. So, that will be a good thing. Let's hope it holds true.

I don't always agree with Carmack's design sense, but he really knows his tech. If he says the consoles are essentially the same... I'm gonna buy the one that's $100 cheaper.

P.S. Thanks

P.P.S. Captcha: "more cowbell"

Insightful. I approve this wisdom and also have little love for the kinect.

Huh, I actually hadn't considered the lag issue with the Kinect. That's a really fair point. You have to move, the Kinekt has to see it, process it and convert it into something the game can recognize... I still want to see what people do with it, but I'll be avoiding it personally.

Andy Chalk:
And although he said the backlash against the Xbox One was "a bit on the side of a witch hunt," he also made it clear that he's not really a fan of Kinect, knocking it for "fundamental limitations with the latency and frame rate" and saying it provides a "poor interaction" with the system. "One way that I look at it is - I used to give Apple a lot of grief about the one button mouse," he said. "Anybody working with a mouse really wants more buttons - [they're] helpful there. Kinect is sort of like a zero button mouse with a lot of latency on it."

This is my favorite quote of the month, thanks for sharing this! It really drives home the point, though. We can love/hate it all we want, but really as far as simple user interaction goes this is why everyone is just so meh about it.

This is a very good thing!

No more ****ty ports!

Carmack's words put PS4 and Xbone on the same level.

Which is probably a bad thing, given how one is $100 cheaper.

If they're the same then I have no reason to get both.
I'll spend that extra 100 on some tacos!

ThunderCavalier:
Carmack's words put PS4 and Xbone on the same level.

Which is probably a bad thing, given how one is $100 cheaper.

Pretty much this.

Now that the xBone has regressed on it's NSA-mandated policies, it's no different from the PS4 other then the 100$ Kinect. And I highely doubt most of their core audience wants a 100$ kinect.

ThunderCavalier:
Carmack's words put PS4 and Xbone on the same level.

Which is probably a bad thing, given how one is $100 cheaper.

It all comes down basicly on the Kinect.

Either way I think this is good news for ports and stuff.

Andy Chalk:

zigatexels, gigapoops, teragoogles and whatnot

...Did Bill Cosby like steal your keyboard or something?

So yeah, pretty much the same, except in price and companies. Also Kinect, don't ever forget that monster. I'm personally not sure if I'm even going to bother with next gen unless its the Wii U.

RatherDull:
This is a very good thing!

No more ****ty ports!

That's not at all what any of this means... True, it will eliminate the shittiness in any ports that are shitty specifically because they are being ported to a 'lesser console' and thus have to be downgraded, but more often 'shittiness' is a consequence of attempting to overhaul the game to run in an environment other than the one it was designed and built for, and not spending the time/resources to do so to the same level of quality. Similar performance capabilities does not change that issue.

I'm curious if he is talking about the Kinect 1 or the Kinect 2. By integrating the Kinect into the system, a lot of designers I've talked to said the Kinect 2 latency was a almost a non-issue now.

Look out John Carmack, there is an EA behind you!

I'm guessing that Rage 2 won't be using Kinect flailing to throw a wingstick then? It's probably for the best.

Kinect 2 had better bring the latency way down. Is that not going to be the case?

Jadak:

RatherDull:
This is a very good thing!

No more ****ty ports!

That's not at all what any of this means... True, it will eliminate the shittiness in any ports that are shitty specifically because they are being ported to a 'lesser console' and thus have to be downgraded, but more often 'shittiness' is a consequence of attempting to overhaul the game to run in an environment other than the one it was designed and built for, and not spending the time/resources to do so to the same level of quality. Similar performance capabilities does not change that issue.

The fact that they both have AMD Jaguar APUs, on the other hand, could change that, since they're both essentially the same chip, as opposed to the ridiculous cell architecture Sony thought was a good idea last time around.

Baldr:
I'm curious if he is talking about the Kinect 1 or the Kinect 2. By integrating the Kinect into the system, a lot of designers I've talked to said the Kinect 2 latency was a almost a non-issue now.

I think what he meant, & I could be biased here since I had a similar assumption myself, is that it'll be quite a long time before latency is ever a non-issue with mo-cap gaming controls. A button press translating into an action in game is simple enough, as it's a dedicated & specific input for an action within that particular game; motion cameras like the Kinect have to detect your motion, map & calibrate it within a 3D space, interpret the input the player meant for that particular arm-flail to be (aka: the chief complaint people seemed to have with the Kinect 1), then perform the action on screen. Add to that the fact that pressing a button is just faster than swinging an arm or leaning in a particular direction, it'd take some serious tech to pull off zero latency, if it's even possible at all with present technology

But then again, who knows? I guess we'll see when it comes out

They may behave the same now. But it's common knowledge that true power of a console isn't unleashed until later in it's life cycle. And that's when bigger numbers start to matter.

DataSnake:

Jadak:

RatherDull:
This is a very good thing!

No more ****ty ports!

That's not at all what any of this means... True, it will eliminate the shittiness in any ports that are shitty specifically because they are being ported to a 'lesser console' and thus have to be downgraded, but more often 'shittiness' is a consequence of attempting to overhaul the game to run in an environment other than the one it was designed and built for, and not spending the time/resources to do so to the same level of quality. Similar performance capabilities does not change that issue.

The fact that they both have AMD Jaguar APUs, on the other hand, could change that, since they're both essentially the same chip, as opposed to the ridiculous cell architecture Sony thought was a good idea last time around.

Until one version has mandatory Kinect and the other has no Kinect. Once again, whichever is the "main" system for that game will be better.

P.S. Thanks

Zombie_Moogle:

Baldr:
I'm curious if he is talking about the Kinect 1 or the Kinect 2. By integrating the Kinect into the system, a lot of designers I've talked to said the Kinect 2 latency was a almost a non-issue now.

I think what he meant, & I could be biased here since I had a similar assumption myself, is that it'll be quite a long time before latency is ever a non-issue with mo-cap gaming controls. A button press translating into an action in game is simple enough, as it's a dedicated & specific input for an action within that particular game; motion cameras like the Kinect have to detect your motion, map & calibrate it within a 3D space, interpret the input the player meant for that particular arm-flail to be (aka: the chief complaint people seemed to have with the Kinect 1), then perform the action on screen. Add to that the fact that pressing a button is just faster than swinging an arm or leaning in a particular direction, it'd take some serious tech to pull off zero latency, if it's even possible at all with present technology

But then again, who knows? I guess we'll see when it comes out

There is always going to be latency, I don't imagine zero latency is possible. In terms of what Microsoft did on Kinect 2, is they upgraded the data speed. Kinect 1 ran on USB 2.0 protocols. Kinect 2 uses USB 3.0 speeds from what I understand. Kinect 1 ran the programming on top the OS, where as Kinect 2 calculations are integrated into one of the Operating Systems. Just these two things by themselves should really improve latency. However, Carmack may have a point when it comes to latency of the Kinect for use in online games. We really don't know the impact as there were not many Kinect games that were available to compete online.

Intel and Nvidia are looking at a tough time ahead once devs learn to fully exploit the Jaguar. I just can't wait for the advanced AI and open maps that could be a result of this next gens superior computational power.

Wonder what he thinks off the 6 additional CUs on the PS4's chip as well as the unified RAM ...

Windu23:
Not really. There were difference between the two in terms of graphics and some performance stuff. On the PS3, Capcom games, especially the fighters, have a slight but noticeable input lag, which can be a huge headache for tournament play. ME3 seems to crash a lot (at least mine does, and always in the same spots on multiple playthroughs), the multiplayer has constant issues, and there are games that just don't look as good, Bayonetta being the classic example.

If what Mr. Carmack is saying is true, then we should expect those issues to be eliminated. So, that will be a good thing. Let's hope it holds true.

So aside from the Cell juking games up beyond all reason... pretty much a repeat of 360 vs. PS3, then.

Jadak:

That's not at all what any of this means... True, it will eliminate the shittiness in any ports that are shitty specifically because they are being ported to a 'lesser console' and thus have to be downgraded, but more often 'shittiness' is a consequence of attempting to overhaul the game to run in an environment other than the one it was designed and built for, and not spending the time/resources to do so to the same level of quality. Similar performance capabilities does not change that issue.

The PS4 and the Xbox180 Are both using the same CPU and the same family of GPUs. The PS4 has also adopted the Xbox's shared memory architecture. There's very little environmental difference between the two now.

I'm going to disagree with the "witch hunt" comment. It wasn't a witch hunt. And if it was, Microsoft was playing the part of the witch beautifully. Someone should nominate them for an award for that level of acting. The DRM was draconian and pointless. So, no. I disagree with his assessment of that.

As for the rest, well, nothing we didn't already know. The systems aren't too different in general specs. But I think the PS4 has better features and functions on top of just plain enjoying Sony's IP's much more and the console being cheaper. This is a no brainer to me. The only reason I would have considered the Xbox One was my friends. And they all seem to have jumped ship to PS4.

BloodSquirrel:

Jadak:

That's not at all what any of this means... True, it will eliminate the shittiness in any ports that are shitty specifically because they are being ported to a 'lesser console' and thus have to be downgraded, but more often 'shittiness' is a consequence of attempting to overhaul the game to run in an environment other than the one it was designed and built for, and not spending the time/resources to do so to the same level of quality. Similar performance capabilities does not change that issue.

The PS4 and the Xbox180 Are both using the same CPU and the same family of GPUs. The PS4 has also adopted the Xbox's shared memory architecture. There's very little environmental difference between the two now.

Except for the whole DDR3 RAM vs GDDR5 RAM. Not that that matters at all or anything. Psssst. It does.

Morsomk:

Andy Chalk:

zigatexels, gigapoops, teragoogles and whatnot

...Did Bill Cosby like steal your keyboard or something?.

Nah, if he did there would be a pudding reference before "whatnot". :P

OT: So if they're "essentially the same", then it comes down to features. Rumor (heard it from a friend at work today, so take it for what you will) has it that MS is planning to "re-announce" the Xbox One due to the reaction to the features that were announced. If that's true, I'd say that Sony is still coming out ahead in this one. Though the fact still remains that the majority of the gaming market was "not impressed" with what MS was bringing to the table...to put it lightly.

Andy Chalk:
"Anybody working with a mouse really wants more buttons - [they're] helpful there. Kinect is sort of like a zero button mouse with a lot of latency on it."

This is my favourite description of Kinect, ever, of all time.

I am curious about this whole thing however. Microsoft are really pushing Kinect with this console, but a lot of developers out there, especially indy devs (where this market seems to be heading), know that the majority of people hate Kinect. And therefore, will not be including it's functionality in their titles. So what's Microsoft's end game in making an easily re-gateable DRM console, with Windows 8 installed and a control mechanism very few use?

A very well phrased analysis from Mr. Karmack. Nothing that we did not already know, but still nice to hear in such a clear and concise way. And I love his description of the Kinect as a "No Button Mouse with Latency Issues".

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