Carmack: iPhone Powerful as PS2, Xbox

Among the hardcore gaming crowd, John Carmack’s work with id Software is legendary for producing 3D gaming works such as Doom and Quake. Although Carmack is clearly comfortable pushing the limits of PC hardware, his latest interest appears to be in mobile games – and his sights are now set on the Apple iPhone.

"We wanted to do something for the iPhone, but we just didn’t have the scheduling or the resources available," Carmack said to Forbes. "I really regret not having something at launch."

The launch that Carmack referred to was the launch of the App Store on iTunes, which coincided with the release of the iPhone 3G. The App Store allows iPhone and iPod Touch users to download and install applications and games for use on their mobile device.

While Carmack won’t have the usual dual-core CPU and blazing AMD or NVIDIA GPUs on tap, he seems more than confident that the iPhone is capable of delivering the graphical goods.

"The iPhone, as a device, is in the same generation power-wise as the PS2 or Xbox," he said. "The graphics are a little lower but the RAM is a lot higher. … You could easily spend $10 million on an iPhone game, but the market just can’t support that yet."

Anna Kang, president of id Mobile, explained that the game for iPhone would be based off an existing id property, meaning that it could be from id’s roster of first-person shooters, the old classic Commander Keen, or even the lesser known Orcs & Elves game from the Nintendo DS.

Carmack isn’t letting on what type of game it’ll be, but he intends to impress. "We have a title we want to develop exclusively for iPhone," he added. "I’m not announcing anything specifically, but it would be a graphical tour de force."

Of course, PC faithful need not worry that Carmack is moving away from making shiny, flashy 3D engines. These mobile games are likely side projects that he does in his spare time. His next engine, called id Tech 5, will power the game "Rage" and is set to push the modern graphics and game consoles.

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  • lobhob
    I could see it as powerful as a psp, which can more or less sort of simulate ps2 graphics, but not as powerful as a ps2 because it wouldn't have a powerful enuf processor in it without it at least having heat problems for the iphones size. I don't see where ram can improve grphics as it says in the article, just load times idk.
  • martel80
    What about Doom 2 level 1 deathmatch over bluetooth-ed iPhones? :)
  • Anonymous
    It doesn't say that ram improves graphics. It says that the graphics aren't as good but it has more RAM.