John Carmack: Next-Gen Uninteresting, Virtual Reality Is The Future

That virtual reality headset Carmack showed off at E3 is becoming a reality.


John Carmack Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is becoming very real, and id Software’s John Carmack believes it’s the future of gaming

We mentioned into the analysis of Microsoft’s leaked next-gen dossier than John Carmack wasn’t all that interested in next-gen gaming. Speaking to Gamasutra, Carmack said VR headsets are becoming very real and very interesting.

Carmack said he had been building his headset, which looked little more than metal and wires taped together, and stumbled upon someone who had been building VR headsets in his workshops and selling them for $500. Carmack started development on the headsets because he wanted to revitalise Doom 3, which is part of the Doom BFG Edition, rather than just HDing the graphics and releasing it.

The person who Carmack came across, Palmer Luckey, is starting a Kickstarter where the headsets could go for $100. Thereafter they will sell for $500, and closer to $600 if Doom 3 is included. $500 sounds expensive, but it’s cheaper than most units. Carmack hopes they’ll release around August this year, less than two months away.

The Doom 3 demo of the headset during E3 literally had people moving their heads to control the game. It was pretty incredible stuff, even for a tape-and-metal construction that looked very fragile.

Coming This August, For $500

Carmack admitted that the headset won’t be available to cover a large amount of games, because gaming is a social experience. Having two people in a room, with one using a headset, isn’t much fun outside of a five-minute gimmick.

The legendary gaming figure also talked about powering this from smartphones, which isn’t that surprising considering tablets are using 1GB of RAM (the new iPad does this). On companies who have been interested in the tech, Carmack said Sony and Valve have shown an interest. Carmack is actually going to talk to Valve next month, who have shown an interest in the technology. Valve seems like a company that would implement virtual reality.

Carmack also said that the virtual reality headset differs from traditional gaming because it isn’t just about moving your head – players could touch the floor as if they were in the game. He said that’s cool, I think it’s cool and it is really cool.

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Jonathan is a writer on the technology and video game industries. He is comfortable with using Mac OS X and Windows; he began using Windows with Windows XP during his early double-digit years, and started using OS X in 2009 on a MacBook Pro. He began gaming on the SNES back in the 90s.

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