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Doom creator labels SteamOS concept 'dicey'


Steam OS

The creator of Doom and Quake, John Carmack, has called Valve's SteamOS concept "dicey."

Doom and Quake were two seminal PC game series back in the '90s, so when the co-founder of developer id speaks up on PC gaming's immediate future, people tend to sit up and take notice.

When asked at an Nvidia conference what he thought about Valve's plans to launch a console-like PC gaming platform, SteamOS, and accompanying Steam Machines hardware, John Carmack was a little hesitant in dishing out the praise.

"It still seems a little bit dicey to me," said Carmack, "getting everything moved over to Linux, pushing from that side of things."

Of course, Carmack had similarly gloomy thoughts when Valve approached his company to feature Doom 3 on the Steam online store at its launch 10 years ago.

"We basically said, 'Are you crazy? This would be nuts to try to kind of tie yourselves to this little, notional digital distribution platform,'" recounts Carmack. "But clearly, Valve has played a good, strong, long game."

Despite having his predictions scuppered by the huge popularity of the Steam distribution network, Carmack admits to having similar misgivings with SteamOS. "I'm afraid that I may be at that same point right now where I'm like, 'Making your own sort of little console OS? Are you crazy?'" he admitted, before accepting that "maybe 10 years from now, they're going to look like brilliant prophets again with it."

Carmack admitted that he would have been "pseudo-scornful" of the whole SteamOS concept if it have been any other company. So we'll just attribute the above musings as 'slightly-scornful,' then.

Next, read our Xbox One vs PS4 comparison feature.

Via: PC Perspective


October 21, 2013, 9:04 am

I'm really worried we will see less and less innovation as developers just produce to "console" like specs... PCs are meant to have almost limitless potential and soon that will be lost to just producing textures that can be run on the current gen platforms. Why build a powerhouse of a game when most people will on run the medium settings?


October 21, 2013, 12:18 pm

Because gaming innovation does not lie in better graphics and finer detailed textures, Edward. It lies in bringing new concepts, immersive stories and addictive playability.

I'm not the best schooled in such things, but I don't know of any recent PC only games which were all that innovative. On the other hand I can think of some independent titles I have played on the PS3, which were truly awesome and unlike anything I had previously played.


October 21, 2013, 1:10 pm

You're right about gameplay innovation... it can come from many sources and, usually a bigger pie means more opportunity so more developers and new ways to play. Hence the significant innovations coming from mobile and indie gaming.

But new concepts, stories and playability are only a few types of innovation! Another type (which I inadequately tried to describe!) would be new physics engines. Dolby Atmos, HDMI, 4K, even new medicines etc... They're all types of innovation!

And, what's the point of making something that consoles can't run? You are ruining your market. Hence my arguement... Innovative new physics engines will only come around with new hardware iterations of consoles that can handle them.

I mean, a good example would be the next gen games that come out over the next year... Everyone is going to be like "Oh wow!" and "That looks so amazing!" etc when my PC was able to run this sort of stuff years ago.

Just a shame that enthusiast PC gamers are going to end up sidelined is all.


October 23, 2013, 11:08 am

Ok you make some good points. But I can't help but feel that the hardware market for gamers (and I'm talking about the mass market here, not the early adopters of new tech) has reached a level of maturity, and the development of higher specced machines is bound to slow down because the competitive advantage is just not there any more.

Its a bit like the mobile phone market. 3-5 years ago, the strides that were being made with each new model were astounding. Now, pretty much any smartphone can do the same basic stuff, irrespective of the OS. You can make and receive calls, emails, and texts, browse the internet, watch videos, play games and take crappy pictures. The market has started to settle down into a steady trickle of evolutionary improvements.

Likewise in gaming, once your hardware is able to render relatively realistic 3d people, show explosions with realistic damage, render light in a beautiful and cinematic way, pump out 5.1 surround sound, then you have the basics covered. There will always be a gradual improvement as a result of competitive pressures, but the rate of improvement is going to slow.

Don't forget, the folks who buy consoles don't want to have to plan for a new graphics card or what have you every year, neither in terms of logistics or budget. The mass market just wants to plug in and play.

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