E3 2011: Carmack: PCs "an order of magnitude" more powerful than consoles

There is wisdom and experience in those eyes

Yesterday Tim caught up with id Software co-founder John Carmack for a frank discussion about the evolving technology powering the games industry, and why advances on the PC in recent years have convinced him to make a "large change of direction" in the way he develops games.

The main reason for this? Sheer processing power. When Carmack started developing Rage, consoles and the PC were roughly equivalent. Now Carmack says "we have an order of magnitude more power on the PCs."

"Now that we're looking on PCs that have ten times the horsepower of the consoles I'm making a large change in my direction" he says. "we should be focusing on building things efficiently on the PC and deploying on the consoles."

"There's several developers that if you said 'Go for it' on here we would make vastly better looking stuff if we really made that our focus."

So what's stopping that from happening? Carmack says that there are a few barriers to PC development, but the main one is cold hard economics.

"To do best of breed on here takes years to develop an engine and develop the content to go with it, and you'll just run yourself out of business doing things that way," he says.

"Those just end up being the cold hard economic truths, that you can spent $100 million working on a game now, and if you did that focused on the PC you'd be out of business."

You can watch our interview with John Carmack in its entirety right here .

Tom Senior

Part of the UK team, Tom was with PC Gamer at the very beginning of the website's launch—first as a news writer, and then as online editor until his departure in 2020. His specialties are strategy games, action RPGs, hack ‘n slash games, digital card games… basically anything that he can fit on a hard drive. His final boss form is Deckard Cain.