In an extensive interview John Carmack, co-founder of id Software had a lot to say about the next generation home consoles.
Like this site he is a fan of using online instead of plastic and cardboard to ship inventory: “I think that Xbox Live… the advent of that and the App Store with the iPhone are wonderful signs of the future of digital distribution. I think there’s a decent chance that one of the next gen consoles will be without optical media… the uptake rates of people who have broadband connects surprised everyone this generation. It’s higher than what the core publishers and even the first party people expected.”
As the title of this article says, he thinks that Sony will launch first: “The whole jockeying for who’s going to release the first next gen console is very interesting and pretty divorced from the technical side of things. Whether Sony wants to jump the gun to prevent the same sort of 360 lag from happening to them again seems likely. As developers, we would really like to see this generation stretch as long as possible. We’d like to see it be quite a few more years before the next gen console comes out, but I suspect one will end up shipping something earlier rather than later.”
And he knows what will be inside these machines: “We do have a very good sense of where the technology is going because we talk to NVIDIA, we talk to Intel, we talk to ATI/AMD and they’re all pursuing variations on massive multi-core processor integration. There’s lots of interesting things about that, about how we need to think about things on the game development side to take advantage of that.”
All good stuff, and there is loads more in the videos.
My thoughts are that the PS4 and Xbox 720 will just be the application of Moore’s Law to the current consoles. So they will be about 8 times more powerful and 100% backwards compatible. They will have 2 to 4 Gbytes of memory and terabyte class hard drives. Obviously they will all come with gesture interfaces and there is a very high likelihood that they will incorporate 3D technology.
As ever it is fun speculating.