Carmack: Mobile gaming nothing to scoff at

Id Software co-founder and Quake legend John Carmack believes mobile gaming capabilities remain on track to surpass the raw horsepower of current-gen consoles.

“It’s unquestionable that within a very short time, we’re going to have portable cell phones more powerful than current-gen consoles. [True], people have exaggerated the relative powers,” Carmack told IndustryGamers.

“[For example], the [Apple] iPad 2 is not more powerful than the Xbox 360. It’s still a factor of a couple weaker. But the fact it’s gotten that close that fast – that means that almost certainly, two years from now, there will be mobile devices more powerful than what we’re doing all these fabulous games on right now.”

According to Carmack, the convenience offered by mobile devices is definitely a significant factor in encouraging casual gaming.

“One thing that we hear a lot, especially from our older developers, is,  ‘I don’t spend a lot of time sitting down in front of my 360 or PS3, but I pull out my iPad and play some little game all the time.’ It’s a different experience though… it’s a diversion rather than a destination.

“[Obviously], convenience is a huge thing. [Plus], there’s a whole spectrum of people and there’s a whole spectrum of game concepts and directions. You have the completely casual people that have no interest in buying a PS3. And then you’ve got the hard core people who want to sit down all weekend and stay in a position where they can get 20 hours of gameplay in.

However, Carmack said he doesn’t ultimately see wildly popular games like Angry Birds luring core gamers away from consoles and PCs.

“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,” he added.