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  (Source: Heavy)
Brilliant game developer says Microsoft cloud computing does not appear to give the Xbox One a significant edge

Gaming legend and id Software Technical Director/cofounder John Carmack at his QuakeCon 2013 keynote offered up his thoughts on Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Xbox One and Sony Corp.'s (TYO:6758) PlayStation 4, which will be waging war this holiday season for dominance in the eight generation of home video game consoles.

He led off by saying that he hadn't done enough head to head benchmarks to make direct comparisons between the consoles.  But based on his experience (Mr. Carmack still remains actively involved in programming top id Software titles and pioneering new graphics techniques) he says he believes they're "very close" in capabilities and that "they're both very good".

In some ways this comparison is bad news for Microsoft as it calls into queston the company's claims that its console is five times as powerful when connected to the cloud as when processing offline (if anyone would fully leverage the Xbox One's full potential, it would likely be Mr. Carmack).

id Software

Also bad news for Microsoft is Mr. Carmack's dour assessment of the Kinect sensor.  Aside from concerns regarding "always on" U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) spying (Microsoft has a major voluntary data sharing agreement with the NSA, reportedly), Mr. Carmack offers criticism of the controls themself, stating, "[The Kinect 2 is] kind of like a zero-button mouse with a lot of latency on it."

The PS4 appears to enjoy a moderate lead in preorders over the Xbox One.

You can watch Mr. Carmack's full keynote below, via the YouTube:


For the unitiated, you may ask why listen to Mr. Carmack.  Well, he coded a hardware-optimized build of Wolfenstein 3D for the iPhone in 4 days, when it was estimated to take a full team of programmers two months to perform a basic (unoptimized) port.

Source: Kotaku



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RE: Not actually true, though, is it?
By Reclaimer77 on 8/4/2013 2:46:49 PM , Rating: 2
Argh, again?

How many times does this have to be explained? Yes, PC's have superior GPU's and hardware. Why? Because the PC is very inefficient at rendering graphics, so it needs that hardware. Mostly due to massive software overhead, because of compatibility concerns. PC hardware has to work with thousands of different hardware/software combinations. Meaning it's always poorly optimized for the task at hand.

Yes, we've been fortunate that we can throw tons of silicon and horsepower at the problem. But the problem still remains.

Consoles don't need as powerful a GPU or hardware, because they are purpose-built closed systems. The PS4, for example, is far more efficient at rendering graphics than our PC's.

I'm a PC "fanboi", but I just had to call you out here. The PS4 is certainly not gimped in delivering what it's designed to do.


By boeush on 8/4/2013 9:59:54 PM , Rating: 1
PCs aren't nearly as inefficient as you're trying to pretend. Compatibility concerns are largely a non-issue, because only the drivers relevant to actually installed hardware are loaded; most of the compatibility-related bloat manifests only on the mass storage footprint of the OS, not on any runtime performance. And each hardware vendor provides specifically optimized drivers for their respective hardware, so your claim of "poorly optimized" is BS. It is particularly BS in the case of graphics drivers and graphics hardware, as everyone knows how hard NVIDIA and AMD (and recently, Intel) work to squeeze every last flop of performance out of their GPUs.

The real issue (if any) with PC performance is that people load their PCs up with tons of concurrently running processes, which can have severe impacts on available memory and CPU/GPU cycles, and which can result in uneven performance/framerates as the background tasks vary their demands on the system. PCs are multitasking machines; consoles are largely intended for single-tasking.

Another thing with consoles vs. PCs is the power envelope. PCs can easily drain nearly 1 KW of power between their high-end CPUs and multi-GPU configurations, not to mention the rest of the hardware. Consoles have to be compact without needing a ridiculous cooling system. That's the main reason they're so much weaker than PCs.

And in terms of how truly weak these "next-gen" consoles really are, consider that they're already more than a year behind PCs in performance, and they haven't yet even formally launched. Then consider that they will continue to ship in their upcoming weak-ass configuration, for the next 5 years or so at a minimum -- while PCs will continue to roughly double their performance every two years in the meantime. Hell, within three or four years, I wouldn't be surprised if there are cell phone SOCs (built on ~10 nm processes) with more powerful graphics than these consoles.

In the meantime, the world will have moved on to 4k and other high-resolution multi-screen setups for gaming and media consumption...

The sad part is, these weak-ass consoles will tend to hold back the state of the art in gaming for the rest of the tech landscape -- so the much more powerful PCs will see their super-duper hardware basically going to waste in the meantime. It may even come to a point where people start seeing the power of PCs as unnecessary in a practical sense; to a large extent it's already happening with the shift to mobile/tablet/phablet systems. It's not because PCs are somehow weak or inefficient; it's because there's a dearth of software to actually harness all that power.


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