In a recent interview with IndustryGamers, id Software's John Carmack said that cloud gaming will eventually be a significant part of the landscape. Why? Because ultimately convenience always wins out with consumers, even if it means the overall quality is taken down a few notches. Look at how much easier it is to load up FarmVille – it doesn't require installation or a hefty set of system specs, yet has seemingly breathed new life back into PC gaming.
"Consumers have shown over and over again that convenience can often more than offset some quality issues, and there will be significant convenience wins possible there over optical media or digital downloads," he said. "I think this is inevitable, but I wouldn't really want to be placing a bet on what the adoption rate is going to be."
Until then, Carmack said the immediate future should consist of another console run, big MMOs for PCs, more movement towards digital distribution, smartphones encroaching on dedicated gaming territory, and so on. "Blockbuster games will continue to increase in development cost, but gaming should continue to have a much more vibrant "low end" than, say, the movie industry," he said.
Outside his predictions, the interview actually covered numerous personal topics such as what drew him into the gaming industry, what career he would have chosen other than what he's doing now, his proudest moment so far, and even covers his personal favorite titles. But when asked to reveal something that most people in the industry don't know about him, Carmack admitted that he had a lot of fun doing metal fabrication work for Armadillo Aerospace.
"The full time staff there has grown to the point that I'm not involved much in the metal cutting anymore, but for several years I would come in from the garage or back from the shop with lots of little metal chips stuck to my clothes, to the consternation of my wife," he said. "Taking a solid block of metal and turning it into a precision machined part and a big pile of metal chips is a thrill very different than the ethereal world of software."
So what would Carmack be doing had he not taken residence in the gaming industry? He said he could find enjoyment in almost any engineering task.
"Graphics is fun, but so are any number of tasks in software engineering," he said. "Operating system work, compilers, network optimization, data mining, embedded system control, or any of hundreds of other things offer challenges and rewards. More physical based engineering tasks are slower paced than software engineering, but the same principles apply -- figure out how to do what you want with the tools you have available, and optimize towards some cost function of time, resources, and reliability."
And after programming classic titles like DOOM, Wolfenstein and Quake, what are some of his favorite titles? "The Mario games remain my personal favorites," he admitted, adding that he finally finished Super Mario 3 just last year.