Carmack – Vita will look “pretty pokey” in a year or two

John Carmack, id Software boss and father of the FPS, is known for his love of new tech and playing around with that tech. So a handheld as powerful as a PS3 should excite him to no end, right?

Not quite; Carmack has spoken to Gamespot about what he sees in the future of the PS Vita, and it’s not looking bright in his eyes. Asked if he had gotten a look at the system yet, Carmack replied: “No, but I think that Sony learned a lot from the PS3, and they’ve gone out of their way to make sure that the development is as easy as possible on there. However, I wouldn’t want to be the executive making the decision to launch a new portable gaming machine in the post-smartphone world.”

Sony’s own smartphone, the Xperia Play, could end up competing with the handheld, for example. “I think that they’ve picked as eminently a suitable hardware spec as they could for that,” Carmack continued. “They’re going to have you program for it like a console, so it’s going to seem twice as powerful as a smartphone with the exact same chips in there.

“But of course, by the time they actually ship, there may be smartphones or these tablets with twice as much power as what they’re shipping with on there. And a year or two after that, it’s going to look pretty pokey.”

“Pretty pokey”, eh? Does this hurt chances of an id game on Vita? But what does Sony need to do to turn the Vita into a success? “The key to their success, if there’s going to be a success there, is allowing people to more or less directly move over the console development engine to technologies on there. Because you know, you don’t have people making $50 million budget iOS games.

“You make a game that’s fun and quick to do, and you grab low-hanging fruit with the technology there. So, even if that plays out, such that people find that they can easily bring over their full-on, full-blown AAA console titles and put it on [the Vita], that’s going to give it a reason for existence.”

What can we say? If there’s a developer out there that knows the industry inside out, it’s Carmack.