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Dev tools key to Xbox 720 / PS4 success – Microsoft’s advantage?

Today there is still a difference of opinion when you ask people which of today’s games consoles is the best on the market, recently id Software’s technical director, John Carmack, revealed that in his opinion the Xbox 360 is the best console ever made, followed by the PlayStation 3.

What’s interesting about Carmack’s opinion is the fact that rather than talking about graphical power, gameplay and online aspects he instead thinks that the Xbox 360 dev tools are what makes it superior to the PS3. What does this mean? Well if development tools are good devs should be able to create great games easily, if not the bottom line is that games will take much longer to develop and perhaps result in a lower-quality final product – which is not what consumers want to see.

This is not the first time we have heard that Microsoft’s dev tools for Xbox 360 are superior to Sony’s dev tools for PS3, but with the Xbox 720 and PS4 seemingly in sight we think that poor development tools could result in serious problems for next-generation games, especially launch titles as it puts a lot of pressure on game developers who have never used these tools before.

Despite praising the 360 Carmack has stated that things aren’t perfect, both Sony and Microsoft do not allow you to plug in a keyboard and tweak things which can be a pain when developing titles. Here is his exact quote “It pains me a lot that Microsoft and Sony completely disallow the ability to plug in a keyboard and tweak with things. It’s even a pain for us in development that in our full retail builds we can’t bring down and play with debug tools”.

Many experts think that in terms of the software side of things Sony has to improve, people love to hate Microsoft but in terms of live services and dev tools you have to admit that the Xbox 360 has set a benchmark for other consoles to follow, does this mean that the Xbox 720 has a slight advantage over the next-gen PlayStation? We would love to hear what you have to say on the matter.

If you would like to find out more about John Cormack’s opinions on the current-gen consoles check out RipTen and CVG.

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