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In a recent interview, Doom creator John Carmack made a number of statements about his thoughts on the future of gaming consoles. He doesn't seem to think that there will be many more generations of hardware in the future, but states that Sony will likely be jumping the gun in the next-gen console race and releasing a new system before its time.
"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," he says. "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."
Carmack is also of the opinion that gaming hardware is nearing a brick wall in terms of improvement. He spoke about his feelings on the limited number of console generations to come after the next one.
"We talk about these absurd things like how many teraflops of processing and memory that are going into our game machines," Carmack says, speculating off-hand that the next gen consoles will have at least 2GB of internal RAM. "It's great and there's going to be at least another generation like that, although interestingly we are coasting towards some fundamental physical limits on things. We've already hit the megahertz wall and eventually there's going to be a power density wall from which you won't get more processing out there..."
I myself have become of the opinion that the next console generation will last a substantial amount of time longer than any before it, including this one. We'll just have to wait and see.