Carmack: Mobile tech will eclipse current consoles "within a very short time"

Mobile gaming is evolving at breakneck speeds, and it won't be long before the technology we're gaming with on the go leaves current generation consoles in the dust. It's not a popular theory, sure, but it comes from the popular id Software guru John Carmack, whotold Industry Gamers (opens in new tab)that although mobile games and big budget console titles can co-exist, it won't be long before smartphones, tablets and handhelds will have the power to handle both.

"It’s unquestionable that within a very short time, we’re going to have portable cell phones that are more powerful than the current-gen consoles,” predicted Carmack. “2 years from now, there will be mobile devices more powerful than what we’re doing all these fabulous games on right now."

Having started work on id Software's Rage before the existence of iOS games, Carmack added he is amazed at how fast mobile tech has evolved in just amatter ofyears. That in mind, he clarified he's not worried about traditional development becoming yesterday's news, explaining:

“Could the bottom drop out on the triple A market because everyone’s playing Angry Birds? It doesn’t seem to be happening. The numbers don’t show that. We’re selling more big titles than ever before, despite having all of these other platforms out there. So it looks like it’s parallel growth rather than one stealing from the other. But platform wise, you could certainly imagine a future where, instead of having your console, you have your mobile device and it talks to your TV and when you want the experience on your big screen with the surround sound coming out of there, it’s still on the same device."

Above: Coming soon to iPhone 5?

Performance potential notwithstanding, Carmack said the mobile market also has the benefit of being privy to streaming, cloud-based gaming services like OnLive. Even if tablets and smartphones can't match the speed andvisual qualityof future consoles, he explainedthey willstill offer an unmatched level of convenience and appeal for people who don't necessary have the time or inclination to plug into a system at home.

The full interview can beread here (opens in new tab). Have a look and let us know if you think Carmack is on to something, or simply caught up in the mobile hype.

Jul 8, 2011

Matt Bradford wrote news and features here at GamesRadar+ until 2016. Since then he's gone on to work with the Guinness World Records, acting as writer and researcher for the annual Gamer's Edition series of books, and has worked as an editor, technical writer, and voice actor. Matt is now a freelance journalist and editor, generating copy across a multitude of industries.