Id Software technical director John Carmack reckons that Sony will be the first console manufacturer to make the transition to the next generation of gaming platforms, though noted he doesn't expect any announcements to be made on the subject anytime soon.
Speaking to CD-Action, Carmack observed that Sony may want to launch its successor to the PlayStation 3 first in order to prevent a similar scenario to the current hardware cycle, where Microsoft gained the upper hand by releasing Xbox 360 a full year ahead of the competition.
“The whole jockeying for who's going to release the first next-gen console is very interesting and pretty divorced from the technical side of things,” he said, adding, “Whether Sony wants to jump the gun to prevent the same sort of 360 lag from happening to them again seems likely.”
“As developers, we would really like to see this generation stretch as long as possible. We'd like to see it be quite a few more years before the next-gen consoles comes out, but I suspect one will end up shipping something earlier rather than later.”
He also stated his belief that at least one next-gen machine would ship without the capacity for optimal media.
“I think that Xbox Live and the advent of that and the App Store with the iPhone are wonderful signs of the future of digital distribution,” said Carmack.
“I think there's a decent chance that one of the next-gen consoles will be without optical media. The uptake rates of people who have broadband connects surprised everyone this generation. It's higher than what the core publishers and even the first party people expected.”