id Software co-founder John Carmack agrees that mobile gaming devices like cellphones will, in "a very short time," surpass the power that consoles offer, but still insists that traditional consoles will have a place in the market for some time to come. "It's unquestionable that within a very short time, we’re going to have portable cell phones that are more powerful than the current-gen consoles" Carmack told IndustryGamers, suggesting that while there will still be "hard core people who want to sit down all weekend and stay in a position where they can get 20 hours of gameplay in," for most people their smartphones and tablets will be "good enough."
Part of that mobile experience may well include streaming games, using services like OnLive as HTC has included on some of its devices. "Mobile is getting a lot of wins on convenience and I do think that streaming services like OnLive have a future" he says, though cautions that "it's not at all clear that the existing ones will survive long enough for that future to get there."
Eventually, though, the handsets themselves are likely to be capable of console-style gaming on their own, without having to rely on hefty servers in the cloud. Instead, it would be connected - either wired or wirelessly - to your TV and play games on its own:
"Platform wise, you could certainly imagine a future where, instead of having your console, you have your mobile device and it talks to your TV and when you want the experience on your big screen with the surround sound coming out of there, it’s still on the same device." Jon Carmack, id Software
As for what the changing ecosystem means for id Software, Carmack says the team is now focusing on accelerating triple-A game development so that the market doesn't evolve under its feet without them even realizing. "It’s amazing to think that when we started Rage, iOS didn’t exist. There was no iPhone" Carmack marvels. "All of that has happened just in the space of one project development timeline."