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

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008Zulu:

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?

Honestly? Most of the third party world is going to do with the Kinect what they already do with Nintendo Consoles. Ignore it and pretend it doesn't exist. The otherwise near identical nature of the two main consoles pretty much guarantees this. The XBox One and the PS4 are essentially running on the same hardware and architecture. There will be virtually no effort needed to port games between one and the other (or PC for that matter) except for coding for the few dedicated specialized console gimmicks. While the PS4's controller touchpad is pretty much a non issue (It's a mouse, the same as the PC versions use), the Kinect is going to find itself mostly ignored save on first party titles or exclusives.

I think we should really wait for the actual benchmark analysis. I wouldn't expect a huge difference in processing power but other analysts have directly disagreed with this statement.

Reading the article I'm still not sure he actually said anything in terms of actual processing power so much as capabilities. Without benchmarking them, I don't know what he'd mean by that unless he has software that is specifically optimized for each console like games being developed for them will be.

It's kind of interesting though. I generally trust Carmack and am grateful for his contributions so I won't rule any of this out. But with him starting with saying he hasn't actually benchmarked them this comes across as too early an analysis to take for granted. Especially with so many other dissenters. In any event, if they are that similar then $400 vs $500 is an interesting call when you're also not a fan of the kinect.

They really are essentially the same from a developers stand point but can be fairly different from a consumers stand point.

I would not expect MS to be down-and-out ala Sega (or Nintendo) as of both systems being cut from the same (AMD) cloth with a Benjamin of a price difference between them.

Remember as of devs pushing MS hard to give the launched 360 the same amount of RAM as the devkits at the time, they where at the mercy of graphics ram (GDDR3) manufacturing capacity, and that severely limited the number of systems MS could put on store shelves at the end of '06 and much of '07. Sony may be in the same boat now: no one outside of boutique workstation add-in-board makers are requesting a dual-layer DVD's worth (8 billion* bytes, aka 8 gigabytes) of primary graphics memory (GDDR5) per device right now. Meanwhile there is a glut in the desktop computer memory (Double Date Rate 3) market, and the Xbox One uses (aggressively clocked) ordinary desktop memory.

Likewise Microsoft is simply in a much, much better financial position than Sony, and may well out-manufacture Sony.

Unlike the relatively few folks like us (or Carmack) who follows this stuff, Joe-Public seems to have far less of an aversion to the Kinect, as it is the best selling (and was the fastest selling) console peripheral to date, so the larger inventory of One at and past launch may have no problem flying off shelves despite Microsoft's $100 price handicap. It'll get bought because it's there, while the PS4 is simply unavailable for days if not weeks at a time.

*like a baker's dozen, JEDEC's billion is different from your billion. Theirs is 1024*1024*1024 (2^30)

Yeah, other than the PS4 having faster RAM, a faster CPU and being 100 cheaper. Also the fact that the PS4's controller comes in the box, it has a chargeable battery and you get a free headset. With the Xbox One all you get is the controller, if you want a play and charge kit and headset you have to buy them separately because Microsoft say the Kinect will be your microphone.

Lightknight:
I think we should really wait for the actual benchmark analysis. I wouldn't expect a huge difference in processing power but other analysts have directly disagreed with this statement.

Reading the article I'm still not sure he actually said anything in terms of actual processing power so much as capabilities. Without benchmarking them, I don't know what he'd mean by that unless he has software that is specifically optimized for each console like games being developed for them will be.

It's kind of interesting though. I generally trust Carmack and am grateful for his contributions so I won't rule any of this out. But with him starting with saying he hasn't actually benchmarked them this comes across as too early an analysis to take for granted. Especially with so many other dissenters. In any event, if they are that similar then $400 vs $500 is an interesting call when you're also not a fan of the kinect.

benchmarks are really and truly just for Marketing and Advertising. At the end of the day both consoles will play the same games in a similar enough manner as to be nearly indistinguishable in terms of performance. They are close enough to each other, and both are close enough to PC's that developers will not spend a tremendous amount of time seeking to optimize for the subtle differences between one or the other.

They are technically the same, except the fact that all 360 has in exclusives is Gears and Halo and gives a big middle finger to japanese developers. So not the same at all.

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

Not really the PS3 was slightly more powerful in certain areas that was certain BUT it was hard to code for so the games coming out on both platforms tended to do worse on the PS3.

With the PS4 and the Xbox One pretty much being the same console with different kind of software running it..sure there are some hardware differences but it certainly won't be huge. This means game developers won't have to worry that much. AND we gamers don't end up with ports that just run worse. Or situations like with Skyrim, remember that, remember that the PS3 didn't get the DLC, remember that with save files over 10Mbyte things turned into a super laggy mess. Yeah that was the trouble.

With these consoles being quite equal yet different we probably have equal performance. Meaning less reasons to complain "My version runs worse then yours", yeah stuff like that! It should run quite equal now!

4-5 GB of ram means it will have a longer game development cycle the Xbone will be hurting after 4 years....

masticina:

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

Not really the PS3 was slightly more powerful in certain areas that was certain BUT it was hard to code for so the games coming out on both platforms tended to do worse on the PS3.

With the PS4 and the Xbox One pretty much being the same console with different kind of software running it..sure there are some hardware differences but it certainly won't be huge. This means game developers won't have to worry that much. AND we gamers don't end up with ports that just run worse. Or situations like with Skyrim, remember that, remember that the PS3 didn't get the DLC, remember that with save files over 10Mbyte things turned into a super laggy mess. Yeah that was the trouble.

With these consoles being quite equal yet different we probably have equal performance. Meaning less reasons to complain "My version runs worse then yours", yeah stuff like that! It should run quite equal now!

Don't forget the PS3 has a hard time with textures making most 360 ports look better. The codeing issues were not as bad as the bottleneck issues IMO. Now the Xbone is limited while the PS4 is twice the system it is and its going to be alot easier to code for. MS really messed up this time around.

Lightknight:
I think we should really wait for the actual benchmark analysis. I wouldn't expect a huge difference in processing power but other analysts have directly disagreed with this statement.

Reading the article I'm still not sure he actually said anything in terms of actual processing power so much as capabilities. Without benchmarking them, I don't know what he'd mean by that unless he has software that is specifically optimized for each console like games being developed for them will be.

It's kind of interesting though. I generally trust Carmack and am grateful for his contributions so I won't rule any of this out. But with him starting with saying he hasn't actually benchmarked them this comes across as too early an analysis to take for granted. Especially with so many other dissenters. In any event, if they are that similar then $400 vs $500 is an interesting call when you're also not a fan of the kinect.

I think that while the numbers are different, I think I'm forced to agree with Carmack. I expect the games that come out for each console are going to end up looking very similar. But because the ps4 has a bit of an edge, I expect games (and software) to run better on the ps4. The extra wiggle room could mean higher frame rates, less texture pop ins, and less bugs so if we have buggy ports like skyrim the ps4 will probably be more stable. Not to mention, using the console's features to multitask might be snappier in theory

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.

To be honest, "almost" isn't good enough, and I still think the technology in gaming is a gimmick and I simply do not want it, especially considering it's not exactly cheap and I never asked for it to be forced upon me and my potential Xbox.

Exactly the reason why I'm not getting an XboxOne. Cost too much more for the same product, but most importantly it comes with a peripheral and simply do not want, which is practically worse than an controller.

Bvenged:

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.

To be honest, "almost" isn't good enough, and I still think the technology in gaming is a gimmick and I simply do not want it, especially considering it's not exactly cheap and I never asked for it to be forced upon me and my potential Xbox.

Exactly the reason why I'm not getting an XboxOne. Cost too much more for the same product, but most importantly it comes with a peripheral and simply do not want, which is practically worse than an controller.

A majority of console controller have latency issues that almost non-issue with consumers, so yeah almost is good enough. No one is forcing you to buy a Xbox. The planet doesn't revolve around you and your entitled attitudes.

"A bit of a witchhunt"? Really? I resent that. This word is generally being used when the crowd gets overly angry over something that doesn't deserve it.

Calling it a "Witchhunt" would mean that we where being way too angry over Microsofts bumbling attempt to wrestle even more control from the customers away, to eventually no longer sell any games but licenses to play the games.

I do not think the gaming community was being too angry about the attempt to indirectly do inconceivable damage to the medium.

Allow me to expand: It is my choice when i don't want to play a game anymore. Microsoft would have taken that decision away from me; there would be a point where i could no longer play a game because it was server shutdown day and with microsofts pre 180 policies that wouldn't just cut me off from multiplayer but from the rest of it as well.
This "threat" would be always hovering over the customer. One day, the servers will shutdown and you can't play this game anymore.
This would only touch nostalgia (which is bad enough) if the servers went down long after i'm done playing.
But we've had a few cases where servers went down quite early.

"Freelancer" was pretty much the last big space shooter. If you want to fly around in space now you'll have to get Eve online or play that one level in Halo 4.

There where quite a few ideas in that game on which one could improve, to make an entirely different game.

You could play this game now and improve on how things are done in there. Find out what goes on and how freelancer does things. Maybe you can find out where things went wrong and avoid those before your game suffers.

You can play all sorts of old games and maybe bring some genres back, with new and improved ideas.

Well, that wont be happening with the current console generation because the hardware is shit and falls apart if you look at it wrong. You could play the games until the hardware breaks down, which could be happening before the multiplayer servers for your favorite games where taken down.
With the next generation microsoft would have liked to outright make it impossible to play the games.

With no past, there is no future.
Eventually, we would be paying for a license to play the newest game and realize that it is basically the previous title with a new gun or something.
But we'd play it anyway because there's nothing else to play.

More and more people would eventually just get bored with gaming.
Gaming would eventually become a niche hobby for few people.

While i agree with the rest of the statement i don't like the implication that microsoft did a little whoopsie and the world got way too angry about it.

Andy Chalk:
<
And although he said the backlash against the Xbox One was "a bit on the side of a witch hunt,"

A witch hunt generally implies someone being wrongfully persecuted. Microsoft received backlash for exactly what they were doing.

The response may have been over the top (even then, I'm not sure I agree), but calling this anything close to a witch hunt is like crying persecution because someone doesn't share your favourite colour.

shirkbot:
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.

The latency is supposed to be much better on the Bone. Part of that will be it's not leeching off resources that would otherwise go to a system not originally designed with it in mind. I don't know if the Kinect has any onboard processing power or the like, but it would help.

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

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

And a worse thing, since the Kinect is "half the price" of the unit, reportedly.

Huh. Interesting and unexpected. I will of course be waiting for proper benchmarks, but didn't initial reports put the PS4 at about 30% more processing power than the Xbone? That's hardly close in capability. I wonder if Carmack just hasn't managed to figuratively stretch either new console's legs yet, or if those initial benchmarks were bullshit.

Either way, it's a win for the industry that both major core console platforms are finally running on x86 hardware.

ZippyDSMlee:

masticina:

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

...

Don't forget the PS3 has a hard time with textures making most 360 ports look better. The codeing issues were not as bad as the bottleneck issues IMO. Now the Xbone is limited while the PS4 is twice the system it is and its going to be alot easier to code for. MS really messed up this time around.

An interesting point indeed and to make it simple this generation will be interesting for such reasons that the hardware at least isn't bottlenecking in the worst of places.

I was kinda not to happy to hear that the PS4 used more then 2,5Gbyte of memory for its OS and system [caches, video, etc] but eh.. both systems have around 5Gbyte of space left for actual games. So it isn't bad news.

And the different types of memory and memory speeds..we have to see just how much difference that will offer in the games we end up buying. But yes I think that Sony is going to do good this run. The basis it runs on is good!

And now we wait and see what the game developers can do with it. Mmm maybe a Skyrim version he, one can hope. Lets open up the graphics and get things running better shall we.

PoolCleaningRobot:

Lightknight:
I think we should really wait for the actual benchmark analysis. I wouldn't expect a huge difference in processing power but other analysts have directly disagreed with this statement.

Reading the article I'm still not sure he actually said anything in terms of actual processing power so much as capabilities. Without benchmarking them, I don't know what he'd mean by that unless he has software that is specifically optimized for each console like games being developed for them will be.

It's kind of interesting though. I generally trust Carmack and am grateful for his contributions so I won't rule any of this out. But with him starting with saying he hasn't actually benchmarked them this comes across as too early an analysis to take for granted. Especially with so many other dissenters. In any event, if they are that similar then $400 vs $500 is an interesting call when you're also not a fan of the kinect.

I think that while the numbers are different, I think I'm forced to agree with Carmack. I expect the games that come out for each console are going to end up looking very similar. But because the ps4 has a bit of an edge, I expect games (and software) to run better on the ps4. The extra wiggle room could mean higher frame rates, less texture pop ins, and less bugs so if we have buggy ports like skyrim the ps4 will probably be more stable. Not to mention, using the console's features to multitask might be snappier in theory

The thing is, while they are very similar developers will use the next few years to start optimizing software for the console hardware and the machines are different enough to give one (likely the ps4) and advantage over the other.

At the end of the day though, they are just computers. The ps3 gave up its hardware advantages when game assets got to be so large that juggling them amongst the ps3's asset categories became a real difficulty but in this generation, you have two roughly equal machines with one that has much better RAM. It's just a question of how much better it is. It may not be enough to really notice but I'd expect at least some advantages. Skyrim wasn't a particularly buggy game. It had a particularly large problem with bloating assets. That, as I stated, is the ps3's weakness. If any of those asset categories get too bloated, the system crashes. That's what was happening. I was testing the environment when the game first came out and came across all kinds of things like stacking nirnroot blooms and even the dungeons were not resetting before the first major patch. The ability to refresh the outside world and dungeons would have gone a long way to resolve the problem.

In any event, without running benchmarks for both consoles and especially benchmarks that are customized for the respective machines (like the games will be) then we simply won't know. One thing that's for sure is that these consoles are a ton better than their predecessors so we will see a lot of advancement in the line of the average game's capabilities.

Gee thanks now there's no decision to be made. Motion gaming is lame, I'm still mad I spent money on the the Move...much less pay $100 for a camera peripheral.

PS4 all the way.

Lightknight:
I think we should really wait for the actual benchmark analysis. I wouldn't expect a huge difference in processing power but other analysts have directly disagreed with this statement.

Reading the article I'm still not sure he actually said anything in terms of actual processing power so much as capabilities. Without benchmarking them, I don't know what he'd mean by that unless he has software that is specifically optimized for each console like games being developed for them will be.

It's kind of interesting though. I generally trust Carmack and am grateful for his contributions so I won't rule any of this out. But with him starting with saying he hasn't actually benchmarked them this comes across as too early an analysis to take for granted. Especially with so many other dissenters. In any event, if they are that similar then $400 vs $500 is an interesting call when you're also not a fan of the kinect.

They'rs so similar architecturally that you can guess at their relative performance from the specifications alone. On that basis, the PS4 is almost certainly faster.

But probably only by a factor of 2-4 at most. And to a PC developer (And remember who Carmack is here...) that's nothing.

(Dealing with 10x performance gaps has been routine for years. Modern PC's even force 100x performance gaps to be an issue - which is pretty demanding, and seems to have led to a lot of lower performance systems being unable to run games...)

For a point of reference, the Wii was about 20 times less powerful than the 360 and PS3.
That gap is huge compared to what the PS4 Xbox one gap is likely to be even in the worst case scenario.

Hell, even the Wii U is unlikely to even get much past 5-6 times slower than the fastest of these systems at the most...
Which is why thr claims that it can still compete with them aren't as crazy as some people make it sound...
(Remembering that a 10x performance gap was routinely handled by PC developers for quite a long period.)

I doubt both consoles will have a similar performance. PS4, we know will work really well and have improved graphics. We already saw that at E3. It played games (Specs wise it is superior to a slightly considerable degree). Xbox One on the other hand didn't. All of the demos were played on gaming rigs (PCs). Not really sure what to expect but the latter wasn't a good sign, especially if they intend to sell that thing this holiday season.

masticina:

ZippyDSMlee:

masticina:

...

Don't forget the PS3 has a hard time with textures making most 360 ports look better. The codeing issues were not as bad as the bottleneck issues IMO. Now the Xbone is limited while the PS4 is twice the system it is and its going to be alot easier to code for. MS really messed up this time around.

An interesting point indeed and to make it simple this generation will be interesting for such reasons that the hardware at least isn't bottlenecking in the worst of places.

I was kinda not to happy to hear that the PS4 used more then 2,5Gbyte of memory for its OS and system [caches, video, etc] but eh.. both systems have around 5Gbyte of space left for actual games. So it isn't bad news.

And the different types of memory and memory speeds..we have to see just how much difference that will offer in the games we end up buying. But yes I think that Sony is going to do good this run. The basis it runs on is good!

And now we wait and see what the game developers can do with it. Mmm maybe a Skyrim version he, one can hope. Lets open up the graphics and get things running better shall we.

The 2.5 GB for The PS4 OS was a rumor...and a false one at that.

The actual true distinction is that:

"Direct Memory" is memory allocated under the traditional video game model, so the game controls all aspects of its allocation

"Flexible Memory" is memory managed by the PS4 OS on the game's behalf, and allows games to use some very nice FreeBSD virtual memory functionality. However this memory is 100 per cent the game's memory, and is never used by the OS, and as it is the game's memory it should be easy for every developer to use it.

http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/07/26/35gb-of-playstation-4-ram-reportedly-reserved-for-os

Lightknight:
The thing is, while they are very similar developers will use the next few years to start optimizing software for the console hardware and the machines are different enough to give one (likely the ps4) and advantage over the other.

At the end of the day though, they are just computers. The ps3 gave up its hardware advantages when game assets got to be so large that juggling them amongst the ps3's asset categories became a real difficulty but in this generation, you have two roughly equal machines with one that has much better RAM. It's just a question of how much better it is. It may not be enough to really notice but I'd expect at least some advantages. Skyrim wasn't a particularly buggy game. It had a particularly large problem with bloating assets. That, as I stated, is the ps3's weakness. If any of those asset categories get too bloated, the system crashes. That's what was happening. I was testing the environment when the game first came out and came across all kinds of things like stacking nirnroot blooms and even the dungeons were not resetting before the first major patch. The ability to refresh the outside world and dungeons would have gone a long way to resolve the problem.

In any event, without running benchmarks for both consoles and especially benchmarks that are customized for the respective machines (like the games will be) then we simply won't know. One thing that's for sure is that these consoles are a ton better than their predecessors so we will see a lot of advancement in the line of the average game's capabilities.

I agree with that. When it comes to 2 devices with about a "50%" (finger quotes here) difference in power, its not really that much on paper but the whole goal of consoles is to squeeze out as much performance as possible on these machines. Eventually that 50% will be huge. Moar reasons to love the ps4!

... a quotebomb from hell, if you quote to deep things break up :(

Anyhow I am going to wait and see it out myself. Yes to many rumors go around and yes to many things are still being changed.

In the end we have two platforms that both will pull gaming up to 1080p standards.. finally.

masticina:

ZippyDSMlee:

masticina:

...

Don't forget the PS3 has a hard time with textures making most 360 ports look better. The codeing issues were not as bad as the bottleneck issues IMO. Now the Xbone is limited while the PS4 is twice the system it is and its going to be alot easier to code for. MS really messed up this time around.

An interesting point indeed and to make it simple this generation will be interesting for such reasons that the hardware at least isn't bottlenecking in the worst of places.

I was kinda not to happy to hear that the PS4 used more then 2,5Gbyte of memory for its OS and system [caches, video, etc] but eh.. both systems have around 5Gbyte of space left for actual games. So it isn't bad news.

And the different types of memory and memory speeds..we have to see just how much difference that will offer in the games we end up buying. But yes I think that Sony is going to do good this run. The basis it runs on is good!

And now we wait and see what the game developers can do with it. Mmm maybe a Skyrim version he, one can hope. Lets open up the graphics and get things running better shall we.

I been reading more(bbwwaaiinnsssss.....) and it seems the Xbone is not that far off from the PS4 but ya it all will come down to their real world bottle necks, I've not seen a huge difference in 4GB of DD2 and DDR3 but ddr3 and ddr5 might make a difference in loading times but that's a minor issue. The PS4 might do a bit better with graphics and loading but there again there is not a huge gap between them. All in all it seems Sony put out more effort but since they approximate each other in power most devs will not use any extra power.

I'm watching the hardware should be interesting to see what all they can do.

At this point and time I wish they would license their older console tech so people can build all in one units... I'd rather put 400$ into a PS3 that played Xbox/PS1/PS2 games with some filtering and resolution tweaks than get a PS4 or Xbone.....

Was angry at the title but Carmack takes a stab at the kinect garbage so I guess it sorta evens out. Still don't put much credit in John "Going To Make You His Bitch" Carmack of Daikatana infamy.

Nicolaus99:
Was angry at the title but Carmack takes a stab at the kinect garbage so I guess it sorta evens out. Still don't put much credit in John "Going To Make You His Bitch" Carmack of Daikatana infamy.

you've got you id Software Johns mixed up. Daikatana was John Romeros baby and abortion. Carmaks only connection to it (afaik) is that it used the Quake II engine.

Carmaks not a game developer of that ilk...he's primarily a coder (and part time rocket scientist :P)...the guy practically "invented" 3D gaming by solving many of the technical problems...and then he freely shared it with everyone...

to this day games like Modern Warfare, CoD and ALL the valve games (as well as many others) are still run on direct descendants of the first Quake engine and even the other game engines that exist borrow heavily at a fundamentally basic level from the ground breaking work at id.

this is why Carmack always gets respect.

he's the daddy.

not just of the 3D gaming engine but partially of 3D graphics hardware and APIs too. at one point he was practically telling "them" what to make to support the next generation of software...across multiple generations (and he still does on occasion).

ids actual games and games made buy its other former "superstar" designers on the other hand tend to be rather a hit or a miss affair as you've clearly noted.

PoolCleaningRobot:

Lightknight:
*snip*

I agree with that. When it comes to 2 devices with about a "50%" (finger quotes here) difference in power, its not really that much on paper but the whole goal of consoles is to squeeze out as much performance as possible on these machines. Eventually that 50% will be huge. Moar reasons to love the ps4!

I don't think the difference will be huge

CrystalShadow:

Lightknight:
*snip*

They'rs so similar architecturally that you can guess at their relative performance from the specifications alone. On that basis, the PS4 is almost certainly faster.

But probably only by a factor of 2-4 at most. And to a PC developer (And remember who Carmack is here...) that's nothing.

(Dealing with 10x performance gaps has been routine for years. Modern PC's even force 100x performance gaps to be an issue - which is pretty demanding, and seems to have led to a lot of lower performance systems being unable to run games...)

For a point of reference, the Wii was about 20 times less powerful than the 360 and PS3.
That gap is huge compared to what the PS4 Xbox one gap is likely to be even in the worst case scenario.

Hell, even the Wii U is unlikely to even get much past 5-6 times slower than the fastest of these systems at the most...
Which is why thr claims that it can still compete with them aren't as crazy as some people make it sound...
(Remembering that a 10x performance gap was routinely handled by PC developers for quite a long period.)

As I stated in a previous post (#53) above to PoolCleaningRobot, consoles allow for optimizations that pcs simply can't compete with directly (they do it indirectly by allowing upgrading of the components over time). When developers know all the hardware that is in most of their consumers hands they can create efficiencies between those components and push them in a way that simply won't work on other machines that have been compiled of unknown but equally powered hardware.

You could potentially do this with any computer. Come up with a standard set of hardware and software that is somewhat closed to alteration and then developers can begin to pick away at its strengths and weaknesses until they get the most use out of the system. This is why Oblivion and Skyrim are so very different in quality on the same machines. I mean, frankly (and after the Skyrim patches to the ps3 for the reasons I also mentioned earlier), these games were playable on consoles that were significantly slower than the comparable minimum specs for the games. I mean, 1/4th the minimum RAM (or less, if you consider that the RAM was divided on the ps3) and 5-6 year old CPU/GPUs. This is nothing ot scoff at where advantages are concerned. I don't think the difference will be so severe at the end of this generation but it will still be there.

As such, how can anyone expect to just divine the difference in processing power without taking that into account? The smallest of advantages could make a noticeable difference and the ps4 is supposed to have a significant advantage comparatively. That isn't going to be immediately apparent but should become noticeable as the sytems become older. I think the ps3 crippled themselves by partitioning the RAM and forcing developers to balance assets into various categories. The thing is, they did the asset category on purpose. The CEO (a project lead when he said this) actually stated that the reason was they were afraid developers would unlock the full potential of the system. They should have been so lucky to have games that look like they do today back in 2006. I was quite pleased when they dropped the proprietary hardware crap.

As for the WiiU pacing alongside the major consoles. It's doubtful. You're right that it is closer to these machines than the Wii was to the ps3/360. But the difference is significant enough to require downscaling in AI and graphics. It'll be one of those things where you can definitely see the difference. The WiiU has a few things other things against it:

1. Proprietary hardware: It will now be the only system that is particularly difficult to program for and port to. Porting between pc, XBO and the ps4 will be remarkably easy thanks to x86 architecture. While this should mean more multi-platform games in general, it will make the WiiU the only one that requires special attention to both code for and to downscale large titles appropriately.
2. Sales: The WiiU sales are outright sad and only getting slower as per Nintendo's announcement last week. At this rate, it may not outsell the Dreamcast. The dreamcast only sold 10.6 million units in about 2.5 years before it was discontinued. The WiiU has slowed dramatically and has only sold 3.61 million units since Nov 18th, 2012. 3.06 million of those units were sold in the first month (numbers released on Dec 12, 2012) but only 390k sold in the following three months (Mar 3, 2013) and then 160k for the next three (June 6, 2013). Sales like this would (and has) quickly lead developers to wonder whether or not it's worth their development time to port a game to the system. It will especially have difficulty attracting exclusive titles.
3. The Disk and small HDDs: It still isn't known whether or not the WiiU disk can read dual layers up to the current 50GB standard. If not, this could lead to some serious issues mid-way down the road since the small HDDs on both WiiU models are really not friendly. Also, DLC can quickly become an issue if only a few GBs.

Can the WiiU turn around and become a major competitor in this market like the Wii was and is? I don't think so. I think Nintendo systematically failed this console's release and continued interest. They'd have to pull something wildly impressive and I don't think they can.

Likewise, a multitude of however many times faster or slower something is doesn't necessarily translate across generations. What I mean is this. Imagine that last generation's standard was 10units per second. Being half as slow was a smaller disparity than a generation whose standard is 100units per second. The first would be 5units, the second would be 50units. Whatever those units are, a multiple number of times gains significant gravity as the average number of them increases. We'll have to see though. Maybe it will be able to keep pace. From what I've seen though, it's not much stronger than the 360 though. While the 360 is over 10x weaker than the XBO appears to be, I don't think it's 20x.

Graphically, we're getting close to a time when graphical differences aren't that noticeable though.

Sleekit:

Nicolaus99:
Was angry at the title but Carmack takes a stab at the kinect garbage so I guess it sorta evens out. Still don't put much credit in John "Going To Make You His Bitch" Carmack of Daikatana infamy.

you've got you id Software Johns mixed up. Daikatana was John Romeros baby and abortion. Carmaks only connection to it (afaik) is that it used the Quake II engine.

Carmaks not a game developer of that ilk...he's primarily a coder (and part time rocket scientist :P)...the guy practically "invented" 3D gaming by solving many of the technical problems...and then he freely shared it with everyone...

to this day games like Modern Warfare, CoD and ALL the valve games (as well as many others) are still run on direct descendants of the first Quake engine and even the other game engines that exist borrow heavily at a fundamentally basic level from the ground breaking work at id.

this is why Carmack always gets respect.

he's the daddy.

not just of the 3D gaming engine but partially of 3D graphics hardware and APIs too. at one point he was practically telling "them" what to make to support the next generation of software...across multiple generations (and he still does on occasion).

ids actual games and games made buy its other former "superstar" designers on the other hand tend to be rather a hit or a miss affair as you've clearly noted.

Ooh, my bad. Got my Johns mixed up. ^_^ I stand corrected.

Lightknight:

PoolCleaningRobot:

Lightknight:
*snip*

I agree with that. When it comes to 2 devices with about a "50%" (finger quotes here) difference in power, its not really that much on paper but the whole goal of consoles is to squeeze out as much performance as possible on these machines. Eventually that 50% will be huge. Moar reasons to love the ps4!

I don't think the difference will be huge

CrystalShadow:

Lightknight:
*snip*

They'rs so similar architecturally that you can guess at their relative performance from the specifications alone. On that basis, the PS4 is almost certainly faster.

But probably only by a factor of 2-4 at most. And to a PC developer (And remember who Carmack is here...) that's nothing.

(Dealing with 10x performance gaps has been routine for years. Modern PC's even force 100x performance gaps to be an issue - which is pretty demanding, and seems to have led to a lot of lower performance systems being unable to run games...)

For a point of reference, the Wii was about 20 times less powerful than the 360 and PS3.
That gap is huge compared to what the PS4 Xbox one gap is likely to be even in the worst case scenario.

Hell, even the Wii U is unlikely to even get much past 5-6 times slower than the fastest of these systems at the most...
Which is why thr claims that it can still compete with them aren't as crazy as some people make it sound...
(Remembering that a 10x performance gap was routinely handled by PC developers for quite a long period.)

As I stated in a previous post (#53) above to PoolCleaningRobot, consoles allow for optimizations that pcs simply can't compete with directly (they do it indirectly by allowing upgrading of the components over time). When developers know all the hardware that is in most of their consumers hands they can create efficiencies between those components and push them in a way that simply won't work on other machines that have been compiled of unknown but equally powered hardware.

That's all quite true, but misses the point somewhat.
The abstractions that allow thousands of different PC's to be programmed using the same API create a huge amount of overhead.
However, when talking about 2 consoles that have the same CPU architecture, and are even using the same manufacturer for their CPU and GPU, which even come from the same family of processors...
Optimisation isn't going to mean much, because the optimisations are going to be much the same for both systems.

You could potentially do this with any computer. Come up with a standard set of hardware and software that is somewhat closed to alteration and then developers can begin to pick away at its strengths and weaknesses until they get the most use out of the system. This is why Oblivion and Skyrim are so very different in quality on the same machines. I mean, frankly (and after the Skyrim patches to the ps3 for the reasons I also mentioned earlier), these games were playable on consoles that were significantly slower than the comparable minimum specs for the games. I mean, 1/4th the minimum RAM (or less, if you consider that the RAM was divided on the ps3) and 5-6 year old CPU/GPUs. This is nothing ot scoff at where advantages are concerned. I don't think the difference will be so severe at the end of this generation but it will still be there.

That's hardly a huge surprise. The overhead on PC is huge. And you can't optimise it out without breaking compatibility between devices... For that matter, the OS architecture typically has features that you would need to bypass to even start to optimise a game.
Meanwhile, are you aware of how much ram a typical PC operating system actually demands just for the OS? It's not that much of a surprise console versions get away with less. It's not as impressive as you'd think.
Yes, consoles do more with less, and can be optimised more. - But that's an argument about PC vs console. NOT console Vs. Console.

As such, how can anyone expect to just divine the difference in processing power without taking that into account? The smallest of advantages could make a noticeable difference and the ps4 is supposed to have a significant advantage comparatively. That isn't going to be immediately apparent but should become noticeable as the sytems become older. I think the ps3 crippled themselves by partitioning the RAM and forcing developers to balance assets into various categories. The thing is, they did the asset category on purpose. The CEO (a project lead when he said this) actually stated that the reason was they were afraid developers would unlock the full potential of the system. They should have been so lucky to have games that look like they do today back in 2006. I was quite pleased when they dropped the proprietary hardware crap.

Small advantages don't create huge differences that easily. Big structural differences can make a huge difference, (the PS3 and 360 are built very differently in most regards), but that simply leads to different optimisations needing to be made for different systems. - When you build something in a manner that's optimal for one system, but then port it to a system that works differently, performance on the system that wasn't optimised for tends to suffer.
But... As I said, we're now talking about two consoles with nearly identical architecture. - Optimisations for both are going to be pretty similar.
As for John Carmack... I trust his guesses on this kind of stuff... If he says something like that, I believe him.
Do you know the kind of insane optimisations that were nessesary to even get something like doom working on the systems that existed in 1993? Or running quake without 3d hardware to work with?
He's got decades of experience creating some of the most optimised code ever written to back up his opinions.
As for mine... Small changes don't magically create huge performance differences. Big performance differences that have to do with optimisation come from big structural differences. (The gamecube for instance has a radically different graphics architecture to the original Xbox. The Xbox could do effects a gamecube would struggle with - but the gamecube could do trivially do things with textures an Xbox would choke on even attempting. - those kinds of differences certainly show in heavily optimised games... But not generally in cross-platform titles, because those tend to be built to the lowest common denominator.)

As for the WiiU pacing alongside the major consoles. It's doubtful. You're right that it is closer to these machines than the Wii was to the ps3/360. But the difference is significant enough to require downscaling in AI and graphics. It'll be one of those things where you can definitely see the difference. The WiiU has a few things other things against it:

Yes, that's quite true. But it's still going to be less of a challenge than it ever was trying to get a 360 or PS3 title running on a wii.

1. Proprietary hardware: It will now be the only system that is particularly difficult to program for and port to. Porting between pc, XBO and the ps4 will be remarkably easy thanks to x86 architecture. While this should mean more multi-platform games in general, it will make the WiiU the only one that requires special attention to both code for and to downscale large titles appropriately.

True enough. Although this does simply reinforce the lack of meaningful difference between the PS4 and Xbox One...
Although it should be remembered that modern consoles have much, much, more in common than older ones.
While the Wii U still uses a different processor architecture (and a lot of structural differences), it's graphics hardware is ATI technology -derived shader model 4 equivalent hardware, not hugely removed on any technical level from that in the PS4 and Xbox One.
Still, it will be something of an issue, as already demonstrated by launch titles ported from other systems which were clearly very badly optimised compared to the other systems they were on.
(Wii U seems to have a design particularly heavily biased towards GPU rather than CPU loads...)

2. Sales: The WiiU sales are outright sad and only getting slower as per Nintendo's announcement last week. At this rate, it may not outsell the Dreamcast. The dreamcast only sold 10.6 million units in about 2.5 years before it was discontinued. The WiiU has slowed dramatically and has only sold 3.61 million units since Nov 18th, 2012. 3.06 million of those units were sold in the first month (numbers released on Dec 12, 2012) but only 390k sold in the following three months (Mar 3, 2013) and then 160k for the next three (June 6, 2013). Sales like this would (and has) quickly lead developers to wonder whether or not it's worth their development time to port a game to the system. It will especially have difficulty attracting exclusive titles.

That's neither here nor there. The likelyhood of the Wii U ending up in the situation the dreamcast was in is incredibly low. Of course, anything could happen, but it's unlikely.
As for your conclusions here, if anything is going to suffer because of this it's actually the multi-platform releases.
Nintendo actually has some pretty hefty connections when it comes to exclusives, not to mention their own internal development teams tend to result in Nintendo systems in fact having a disproportionate number of exclusives.

Exclusives are easy, from a technical point of view though; They don't really factor into a discussion about hardware power, because by definition they never face the prospect of being ported, so comparative hardware strengths and weaknesses rarely matter unless something has to run reasonably well on multiple systems.

3. The Disk and small HDDs: It still isn't known whether or not the WiiU disk can read dual layers up to the current 50GB standard. If not, this could lead to some serious issues mid-way down the road since the small HDDs on both WiiU models are really not friendly. Also, DLC can quickly become an issue if only a few GBs.

Depends on how you look at it. 25 vs 50 gb on a disk is not a huge issue. The gamecube demonstrated that this tends to just result in multi-disk releases (or sometimes some reduction in asset use), and that a bigger gap (roughly 1.5 Vs 9 gb)

The internal storage could be a bigger issue, but remember the 360 started life with hard disks being an optional extra, and the Wii U does in fact support external storage if the issue were truly critical. (You can hook up a 2 TB external hard disk to a Wii U right now, if you're inclined to; - the internal storage is not an absolute limit)
Not ideal, but hardly fatal.

Can the WiiU turn around and become a major competitor in this market like the Wii was and is? I don't think so. I think Nintendo systematically failed this console's release and continued interest. They'd have to pull something wildly impressive and I don't think they can.

I wouldn't say they're doing well, but I wouldn't count them out just yet. The 3DS launch was almost as bad, and it's now quite popular.
But yes, there is a fairly high chance this will be one of their worst product launches in a very long time.

Likewise, a multitude of however many times faster or slower something is doesn't necessarily translate across generations. What I mean is this. Imagine that last generation's standard was 10units per second. Being half as slow was a smaller disparity than a generation whose standard is 100units per second. The first would be 5units, the second would be 50units. Whatever those units are, a multiple number of times gains significant gravity as the average number of them increases. We'll have to see though. Maybe it will be able to keep pace. From what I've seen though, it's not much stronger than the 360 though. While the 360 is over 10x weaker than the XBO appears to be, I don't think it's 20x.

That depends on how you're measuring things. You're also forgetting that computing hardware, for all practical intents and purposes (especially 3d graphics hardware) shows the effects of diminishing returns. 10x the raw performance of a graphics chip doesn't nessesarily result in a dramatic change in appearance.

For instance, going from a scene with 10,000 polygons to one with 100,000 is a 10x leap in complexity (and performance requirements). But it's not going to represent a 10 times more impressive image. Going from 100,000 to 1 million is less impressive than that, but is still a 10x improvement in performance. And going from 1 million to 10 million is getting to the point where a lot of the differences are incredibly subtle, but again represents a 10x improvement in performance.

even though you are correct, that if the base was 100 units, being half as slow would be 50 units, whereas if you start from 10 it would be 5, this neglects that raw power doesn't translate clearly into improved performance.
To give a different example, I have a laptop, and a desktop. The laptop has a 1.6 ghz dual core processor, while the desktop has a 2.6 ghz quad core processor. Basic maths suggests the desktop system is 3 times more powerful than the laptop. Yet for 90% of tasks you'll struggle to even notice there's a meaningful difference.
Meanwhile, the Desktop system also has a GPU that's 20 times faster (According to benchmarks). This has noticeable effects for some extremely demanding games, and yet, in some cases, where titles will run on both systems, the laptop does much better than should seem reasonable from that gap. (Like, Half life 2 runs at 40 fps on one, and 120 on the other - And that's not even with any huge number of effects disabled.). - Raw performance calculations rarely have the effect the numbers suggest they should.

If anything, I would argue relative differences tell you much more than absolute differences will. The difference between a performance of 1 and 2, is much more impressive than that between 99 and 100. The absolute difference is identical, yet one will stand out like a sore thumb, the other will barely register... Of course, going from 1 to 2 is a doubling of performance, while the other is something like just over 1% more...

The problem with this new generation as a whole is it represents an unusually small leap in absolute raw power terms, at a time when we're already faced with a serious case of diminishing returns.
So not only is the apparent improvement not going to be huge, but even the raw improvement on a technical level is surprisingly small. (From the PS1 to PS2 to PS3 seems to have been in the region of 20-40 times as powerful each generation. This new generation seems to be hovering at about 10-15 times more powerful at the very most...)

If I pull some numbers out of thin air, (Educated guesses based on known information, but still ultimately made up, so take them with a grain of salt), you find something like this:
Wii: 1
Xbox 360: 20
PS3: 20-30 (Very difficult to work with architecture confuses performance estimates)
Wii U: 30-60 (weak cpu. Hard to get any meaningful estimates of GPU performance)
Xbox One: ~120
PS4: ~180

Now, made up or not, even if the above numbers are about right, what does that mean in practice?
Well, put the best the Wii has to offer next to a PS3 or 360 title, and believe it or not, it can hold it's own... Superficially. Of course, if you look at it any deeper than superficially and it becomes immediately obvious that pushing a wii to it's absolute limits will just about get you to a place that the PS3/360 can more or less do in it's sleep. But that anything that looks even superficially comparable exists should be the first warning sign that raw performance alone isn't all it's cracked up to be.
The 'next gen' stuff meanwhile, so far doesn't look that great compared to the existing generation. It's way too early to tell of course, and again we end up comparing best case stuff on the old systems to things that are easy for the newer systems...

The Xbox One and PS4 however seem to have pretty small margins over their predecessors, especially when you consider what came before (And the Wii is already faster than anything in the generation before it.).
Xbox One and PS4 are very similar overall, making comparisons between them unusually easy.

But that kind of performance gap, while it seems huge (my made up numbers for instance suggest the gap between the two is as large as the best case scenario for an entire Wii U system - not a trivial gap in absolute terms...), it's still just not likely to mean much in practice.
At this point we are very heavily into the realms of diminishing returns.

As for the Wii U issue, well, only time can really tell. It seems to be stuck between generations in terms of performance. - And that's going to have some impact, but it's not as big a gap as it seems. And with a gap that size, ports are still quite feasible. That definitely wasn't the case for it's predecessor. A wii version of a cross-platform release had nothing in common with other versions of the 'same' game. And I very much doubt a repeat of that situation will arise again... (But it still might not get ports in the first place.)

Anyway, it's all just a bunch of random speculation. The Wii U is hard to predict in relation to this.
The PS4 and Xbox One are not. - They're equivalent for all practical purposes.
One is more powerful than the other, but the margin is so small and their designs so similar, it barely matters.

Anyway, I think I've spent enough time rambling incoherently. I may be an amateur game programmer who has been studying this kind of technical stuff for over 15 years, but that's no excuse for the mess I just wrote. XD

Anyway, Ignore my nonsense. But please, take Carmack seriously. The guy knows what he's on about.

CrystalShadow:
That's all quite true, but misses the point somewhat.
The abstractions that allow thousands of different PC's to be programmed using the same API create a huge amount of overhead.
However, when talking about 2 consoles that have the same CPU architecture, and are even using the same manufacturer for their CPU and GPU, which even come from the same family of processors...
Optimisation isn't going to mean much, because the optimisations are going to be much the same for both systems.

Let's say the tests John ran weren't able to use most of the GPU or RAM because the tests didn't allow the CPU to mostly offload the processing. The machines would look pretty darn similar if that's the case since from what I hear the CPU is nearly identical if not actually identical. We still don't know the actual CPU speeds though as neither party announced them aside from an unconfirmed leak that was fairly accurate elsewhere.

The strength of both consoles lies not in the CPU but everything else. As such, for any accurate comparison you HAVE to have software that is optimized for offloading in efficient ways to get a valid test. Even though they are both x86. We have no idea what tests Carmack ran. Again, I generally trust his work and even moreso I'm going to trust his intention for having said that he hasn't really run them through the wringer. It means on a face comparison. For consoles, optimization means so much more than the surface comparison means.

Meanwhile, are you aware of how much ram a typical PC operating system actually demands just for the OS? It's not that much of a surprise console versions get away with less. It's not as impressive as you'd think.
Yes, consoles do more with less, and can be optimised more. - But that's an argument about PC vs console. NOT console Vs. Console.

It invalidates testing consoles the same way you'd test pc's. That's the point.

Small advantages don't create huge differences that easily.

It depends on what you're calling small differences. We've seen some pretty lofty estimations regarding how much more powerful one machine is than the other. 50% is the last estimate. Microsoft hasn't even denied that, they responded to the estimates by saying they expect to double or triple their processing via cloud computing.

As for John Carmack... I trust his guesses on this kind of stuff... If he says something like that, I believe him.
Do you know the kind of insane optimisations that were nessesary to even get something like doom working on the systems that existed in 1993? Or running quake without 3d hardware to work with?
He's got decades of experience creating some of the most optimised code ever written to back up his opinions.
As for mine... Small changes don't magically create huge performance differences. Big performance differences that have to do with optimisation come from big structural differences. (The gamecube for instance has a radically different graphics architecture to the original Xbox. The Xbox could do effects a gamecube would struggle with - but the gamecube could do trivially do things with textures an Xbox would choke on even attempting. - those kinds of differences certainly show in heavily optimised games... But not generally in cross-platform titles, because those tend to be built to the lowest common denominator.)

What you forget is that Carmack stated up front that he hasn't run benchmark testing on them. He likely didn't intend for anyone to run away with his quote as some kind of golden fact. But, him being the industry vet that he is, he was smart enough to preface his comment with a disclaimer that he hasn't done in-depth testing or benchmarking. If you trust Carmack you should take that preface into account as well.

The notion that anyone, even an industry veteran, could take full advantage of optimizations of consoles before they're even released to the public is... questionable. I do believe they'll look similar. I mean, look at the graphics at the end of the current generation. VERY impressive. I wouldn't expect graphics to get that much more complex before significant diminishing returns hit home and so this generation may be more an improvement in AI and physics which is a pretty good area to make better and will help graphics anyways.

Yes, that's quite true. But it's still going to be less of a challenge than it ever was trying to get a 360 or PS3 title running on a wii.

Yes and I don't know. Yes it should be less of a challenge to fit them in the WiiU graphically because as my first sentence stated, the WiiU doesn't look like it'll be as large of a gap as the Wii was compared to the 360/PS3. "I don't know" because I don't know how different the WiiU's proprietary hardware is compared to x86 environments compared to the Wii's difference with the 360/ps3. I imagine this past generation was an all around nightmare for programmers that had to learn the basics of three different machines with only the 360 being closest to a pc.

True enough. Although this does simply reinforce the lack of meaningful difference between the PS4 and Xbox One...

I'm not sure why this is relevant. Non-proprietary hardware benefits absolutely everyone involved. The ps4 and the XBO moving to a standard architecture is a plus in both of their courts and a negative in anyone else left behind. The hardware becomes cheaper to make, development resources drop SIGNIFICANTLY, and ports become a lot cleaner. Manufactures, Developers, Customers. I can't think of a single downside aside from these companies marching along to what may inevitably be the equivalent of steam boxes in the living room that act as home servers. As far as I'm concerned, the future console developers have will be mostly in setting generational standards that devs can more easily work on as well as making those standards cheaper for the consumer than buying a full-blown pc of comparable power would be. FYI, I own a powerful pc, a ps3, and a 360. I own the other systems as well except for the WiiU but I hardly consider my Wii to be a game machine so much as a really fun party machine. I mean, I'd consider it my Nintendo first-party game emulator before I'd call it a full fledged gaming machine. Fun games, but very limited.

Although it should be remembered that modern consoles have much, much, more in common than older ones.
While the Wii U still uses a different processor architecture (and a lot of structural differences), it's graphics hardware is ATI technology -derived shader model 4 equivalent hardware, not hugely removed on any technical level from that in the PS4 and Xbox One.
Still, it will be something of an issue, as already demonstrated by launch titles ported from other systems which were clearly very badly optimised compared to the other systems they were on.
(Wii U seems to have a design particularly heavily biased towards GPU rather than CPU loads...)

Indeed. This really is sad. I would like to say that hopefully this is because they are porting from the 360/ps3 titles which are quite different but they're all pc games. I do wonder what the problem is but we may not really know for another year or so. I'm hoping the publishers just saw it as a risk of a machine and so did not put as many resources as they could have.

That's neither here nor there. The likelyhood of the Wii U ending up in the situation the dreamcast was in is incredibly low. Of course, anything could happen, but it's unlikely.

How so? The numbers seem to put it at selling at an even slower rate than the dreamcast did. Keep in mind that the Sega Saturn killed Sega's console run, not the Dreamcast. So saying that the WiiU appears to be heading that route doesn't mean that Nintendo itself is going to die. Though I do wonder if Nintendo may see more benefits to them releasing their software on other consoles this gen. I mean, their Mario Kart Wii sold over 34.3 million games. Surely sales like that would be more beneficial to them than remaining exclusive on a console that has just barely sold more than a tenth of the number of copies of that game sold. Heck, a Mario game on PC or non-nintendo console? I'd buy it. It'd have be done after the WiiU is a sure failure and if Nintendo isn't planning to try to relaunch a different console halfway into the generation. Frankly though, unless Nintendo has another Wii breakthrough they may make more money as a software company like Sega did.

But either way, I'm not sure how you can say that the odds are incredibly low when it's selling at around the same rate or even less thanks to this last quarter result as the dreamcast did? The first quarter after the holiday 3million units (that was already 2 million units short of what they were forecasting) they only increased by 12% which is terrible for a new console. This past quarter was 4%. Nintendo has admitted several of the mistakes they've made to cause this and have provided no clear way out.

As for your conclusions here, if anything is going to suffer because of this it's actually the multi-platform releases.
Nintendo actually has some pretty hefty connections when it comes to exclusives, not to mention their own internal development teams tend to result in Nintendo systems in fact having a disproportionate number of exclusives.

Multi-platform releases are a major thing to miss out on. You're talking most AAA titles that aren't Nintendo. I'm not 100% what exclusives they had over the past decade that were good and weren't released later on the other systems or wasn't Nintendo made (example, No More Heroes was a great Wii exclusive title, then bam, released on other systems with more content). I've come to consider my purchase of Nintendo consoles as generally my Nintendo tax to be able to play their software and little else.

Exclusives are easy, from a technical point of view though; They don't really factor into a discussion about hardware power, because by definition they never face the prospect of being ported, so comparative hardware strengths and weaknesses rarely matter unless something has to run reasonably well on multiple systems.

Point #2, the one your comment quoted immediately above is in response to, is regarding sales, not hardware strength. These poor sales are already hitting Nintendo:

http://www.theverge.com/2013/7/31/4574032/nintendo-earnings-q1-2013

Note that even games that have already developed ported titles like Batman: Arkham Origins are trimming out features like multiplayer. That announcement was in response to this. Don't get me wrong, there are very few games I play for multiplayer but this is just a bad sign for them. The reason is that they don't expect the market to be large enough to warrant supporting it. The sales of the console IS major. It sidesteps the hardware mattering at all especially when the hardware is proprietary. If there aren't customers on the other end then you're not going to spend resources producing ports for it. Entire publishing companies have decided to not support the WiiU because of this and the ones have remained stalwart may only be doing so due to work already being in progress or because they think it can turn itself around. Either way, they are taking a risk. Nintendo may need a significant price drop and a MAJOR title or two just to recapture interest.

Depends on how you look at it. 25 vs 50 gb on a disk is not a huge issue. The gamecube demonstrated that this tends to just result in multi-disk releases (or sometimes some reduction in asset use), and that a bigger gap (roughly 1.5 Vs 9 gb)

The internal storage could be a bigger issue, but remember the 360 started life with hard disks being an optional extra, and the Wii U does in fact support external storage if the issue were truly critical. (You can hook up a 2 TB external hard disk to a Wii U right now, if you're inclined to; - the internal storage is not an absolute limit)
Not ideal, but hardly fatal.

Multi-disks would work, I keep forgetting that bit despite having lived through it. Can the system play games from the 2 TB external drive? Can digital games be transferred readily back and forth? Keep in mind, we're instantly talking about non-standard setups the moment we're talking about external drives.

I wouldn't say they're doing well, but I wouldn't count them out just yet. The 3DS launch was almost as bad, and it's now quite popular.
But yes, there is a fairly high chance this will be one of their worst product launches in a very long time.

I assume they have enough assets stored away for such a rainy day. A failure as bad as this is shaping up to be may significanty change the way they decide to do business going forward if they really can't compete on the hardware front. I would be interested to see what they'd do if they became a software company (with the exception of their excellent handheld product line and software) in which the profit margin rose or fell according to what they published.

That depends on how you're measuring things. You're also forgetting that computing hardware, for all practical intents and purposes (especially 3d graphics hardware) shows the effects of diminishing returns. 10x the raw performance of a graphics chip doesn't nessesarily result in a dramatic change in appearance.

For instance, going from a scene with 10,000 polygons to one with 100,000 is a 10x leap in complexity (and performance requirements). But it's not going to represent a 10 times more impressive image. Going from 100,000 to 1 million is less impressive than that, but is still a 10x improvement in performance. And going from 1 million to 10 million is getting to the point where a lot of the differences are incredibly subtle, but again represents a 10x improvement in performance.

Image complexity is one component of processing. As I've stated before, I anticipate that the largest difference we should see this generation should be in the physics and AI department moreso than a huge graphical leap like there was between the PS2/XBOX generation and the PS3/360 generation. Physics can require a heck of a lot more processing than image quality. We will still see a firming up of graphics and the games should look a lot more attractive than in the previous generation but we really are in a age where better graphics won't make that much of a difference like you stated. That doesn't mean that demands on processing are any less significant. You're just talking the paint on the hood while I'm talking about what's underneath.

even though you are correct, that if the base was 100 units, being half as slow would be 50 units, whereas if you start from 10 it would be 5, this neglects that raw power doesn't translate clearly into improved performance.
To give a different example, I have a laptop, and a desktop. The laptop has a 1.6 ghz dual core processor, while the desktop has a 2.6 ghz quad core processor. Basic maths suggests the desktop system is 3 times more powerful than the laptop. Yet for 90% of tasks you'll struggle to even notice there's a meaningful difference.
Meanwhile, the Desktop system also has a GPU that's 20 times faster (According to benchmarks). This has noticeable effects for some extremely demanding games, and yet, in some cases, where titles will run on both systems, the laptop does much better than should seem reasonable from that gap. (Like, Half life 2 runs at 40 fps on one, and 120 on the other - And that's not even with any huge number of effects disabled.). - Raw performance calculations rarely have the effect the numbers suggest they should.

The difference in power has a significant and clear difference in performance when the capacity of one is reuohed. When you have to fit a game into a smaller box it will be apparent here and there. In this case I'd expect a hit to graphics as well as under-the-hood performances. While I don't think the difference is as severe as between the wii and current gen systems, I still think it will be QUITE noticeable, all things considered, even if not entirely graphical.

Of course, going from 1 to 2 is a doubling of performance, while the other is something like just over 1% more...

Exactly. This is why it's unreliable to say that 5 to 6 times weaker hasn't traditionally been the problem that 10+ times weaker has been. If it used to be 10x weaker that was the problem then this generation that number of times should be less because the overall bar is so far raised.

The problem with this new generation as a whole is it represents an unusually small leap in absolute raw power terms,

While it is not the same kind of proportionate change as we've seen before, this is several times as powerful as the current gen tech. What you've got to realise is that with each subsequent iteration you're seeing not just a machine that is multiple times more powerful than its predecessor, but multiple multiple times all of the predecessor's predecessors.

The 'next gen' stuff meanwhile, so far doesn't look that great compared to the existing generation. It's way too early to tell of course, and again we end up comparing best case stuff on the old systems to things that are easy for the newer systems...

This is the story of EVERY console release. The graphics are slightly but noticeably better than the previous generation and things improve from there. We could hold up Skyrim or the most advanced game on the 360 compared to whatever the most graphically advanced game was available on the Xbox and the difference would be striking.

The Xbox One and PS4 however seem to have pretty small margins over their predecessors, especially when you consider what came before (And the Wii is already faster than anything in the generation before it.).
Xbox One and PS4 are very similar overall, making comparisons between them unusually easy.

They are multiple times more powerful than their predecessors. The improvement should not always be exponential until eternity. Eventually even doubling system power may not be viable over a span of 5 years. Not without some significant breaks in technology in the meantime. Imagine the most powerful computer on the market. Four Titans crossbridged with all the latest fix'ns to back it up. Twice as powerful as that really means something right now.

Just because I don't like people (Carmack in this instance) saying shit in public on topics that they should know better when they don't know the truth I'm going to post these two links here to show their contrast with his words:

http://www.edge-online.com/news/power-struggle-the-real-differences-between-ps4-and-xbox-one-performance/
http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/xbox-one-vs-playstation-4-how-do-they-measure-under-4B11215299

The escapist already posted the bit with the unnamed developers saying that the power difference was clearly there. Those articles put numbers to it and interview individuals to get a better estimate.

Their words is that it is clearly noticeable. A 50% power difference in which the ps4 is the winner. Those articles go on to state that functionally it may not matter because game developers will want their games to work on both systems and so will design with the XBO parameters in mind. Ergo, the weakest link decides the quality of most games. With only games where optimizations for the ps4 being made will show the difference.

The only benefit of a doubt I'll give Carmack in this instance is that he clearly stated he hadn't run benchmarks on them. There's also no telling what kind of tests he was running. The XBO can perform better if the computations aren't a using texturing or arithmetic/logical unit (ALU) based which pretty much all modern games are. So how he came to this conclusion is beyond me.

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