John Carmack, the consulting CTO for Meta’s virtual reality efforts, has decided to leave the company. His departure is announced on Friday. Carmack, who openly criticized Meta’s advances in augmented reality and virtual reality during its metaverse ambitions, posted on the company’s internal Workplace forum of his decision to leave. We’ve built something pretty close to the right thing, Carmack said in the note, going on to say that the problem is our efficiency.
Carmack complained that it has been a struggle for him to influence the general direction of Meta and that he is tired of the fight. Despite his title as a senior consultant CTO/executive advisor, Carmack says he’s clearly not persuasive enough to improve Meta’s VR efforts.
Carmack is one of the most respected names in video games, thanks in large part to his role in co-creating the pioneering “Doom” and “Quake” franchises. This cachet has helped make Carmack one of Meta’s most important ambassadors in selling its vision of virtual and augmented reality to gamers who are also one of its key demographics.
John Carmack, known in the tech industry for his work on virtual reality as well as classic games like Doom and Quake, has left his role as CTO consultant at Meta. For the record, the role of a Chief Technical Officer (CTO) is to guarantee the technical and technological innovation of his company. The Technical Director is also known as the Director of New Technologies.
Carmack originally joined Oculus as CTO in 2013, after helping promote original Oculus Rift prototypes he received from Palmer Luckey, and entering Meta when the company (then called Facebook) acquired Oculus in 2014. However, in 2019 he took on a less-involved role within the company, stepping down as CTO of Oculus to take on a new role as a consulting CTO.
At the time, he said he was going to work on general artificial intelligence (and last August we learned that the work would not be for Meta, but rather for his new startup Keen Technologies). Carmack had spent about 20% of his Meta time, he tweeted in August.
It hurts me to hear people say they don’t even get out of their headphones to show the company because they know it’ll be a mess of loading and updating before they can do anything cool , Carmack said this moment. Demonstrating virtual reality in front of your friends should be fun.
Carmack said Meta made some improvements. On Friday, he criticized virtual reality can bring value to most people in the world, and no one is better placed to do so than Meta.
Earlier this year, Carmack acknowledged that the $100 price increase for the Quest headset happened because the company’s free mtavers apps, from which Meta derives little revenue from in-app purchases, were more popular than its premium games.
Based on his internal post where he discusses his departure to Meta employees, which he later shared on his personal Facebook page, he seems unhappy with the way things are currently going at Meta. He said it has been a struggle for him to understand that the business can be made more efficient, and even though I have a voice at the highest level here and feel like I could be able to make things happen , he felt that I was clearly not successful enough .
We’ve built something pretty close to the good thing, Carmack wrote of Quest 2. He also said he was tired of the struggle with Meta, which burned billions in its Reality Labs division to create things like VR headsets and software for his media vision. Carmack also allegedly wrote internal articles criticizing CEO Mark Zuckerberg and CTO Andrew Bosworth’s decision-making during his Meta stint, a New York Times report.
Bosworth, in a tweet thanking Carmack on Friday, said it’s impossible to overstate the impact you’ve had on our work and the industry as a whole. Your technical prowess is well known, but it’s your constant focus on creating value for people that we will remember most.
It’s not the first time Carmack has been unhappy with Meta’s priorities for VR
He was remarkably candid about his frustrations during his keynote during Meta Connect in October, saying there are a lot of things that get cranky to me about VR. He pointed out how difficult it is for users to update headsets quickly and a very skeptical semblance of his progress with Horizon Worlds as a social platform and Meta’s decision to raise prices for Quest 2 and the introduction of a Quest Pro $1,500.
Carmack talked about its internal efforts to push for the development of a super-cheap, super-lightweight Meta VR headset that could cost $250 and weigh 250 grams. Instead, Meta has missed out on its recent VR hardware efforts behind the heavily overrated, $1,500 Quest Pro. We don’t build this helmet [bon march, lger] today, but I keep trying [de pousser le construire] , Carmack said with some exasperation during the opening speech. “I’ve always been clear that commendable consumer headsets are the most important choice for us and for VR adoption,” he said.
You can watch that full conversation below.
At the end of 2021, Carmack also had a few words of warning as Facebook changed its name to Meta and pivoted completely behind the amorphous metaverse idea. Carmack said we deserve to be wary of architectural astronauts who make a lot of high-profile waves instead of creating viable products that customers find useful.
To that end, Carmack challenged his fellow Meta employees, saying we could do [Facebook Connect] in the mtavers for the 2022 edition. When Carmack showed up in an empty room as an awkward avatar for the 2022 keynote, he said upfront that this is not the situation I hope .
In a podcast interview in August, Carmack said the nearly $1 billion Meta is losing every month from its virtual reality endeavors makes her stomach ache… But that’s how they dismantle their commitment to this gard… Google tried and then canceled all these projects, while Meta really sticks to funding virtual reality and augmented reality.
A True Believer of Virtual Reality
During his time at Oculus (and then Facebook), Carmack helped lead the company’s first wireless headsets, including the Samsung smartphone-powered Gear VR, then the low-cost, low-power Oculus Go (which it officially unlocked via a software update) long after it stopped being sold). Back in 2018, he talked about the first Quest headset as a potential competitor to the Nintendo Switch.
Carmack also co-founded id Software, known for games like Doom, Quake, Wolfenstein 3D and Commander Keen, in 1991. The studio was bought by Bethesda owner ZeniMax Media in 2009. ZeniMax and id followed Oculus and Luckey in 2014 to allegedly misappropriated trade secrets, and the complaint frequently mentioned Carmack’s role as an Oculus assistant while still employed at ZeniMax. The parties reached an agreement in 2018.
Carmack is now focusing its efforts on Keen Technologies.
Here is Carmack’s full message to employees, from his Facebook page
I resigned from my position as executive consultant for virtual reality at Meta. My internal corporate message leaked to the press, but that leads them to take a few choice things. Here’s the full message, as seen by internal employees:
It’s the end of my decade in VR.
I have mixed feelings.
Quest 2 is almost exactly what I wanted to see from the start – mobile hardware, tracking, optional PC streaming, 4k notch, commendable. Despite all the complaints I offered of our software, millions of people are still benefiting from it. We have a good product. It is a success, and Russian products become the better world. Everything could have happened a little faster and went better if different decisions had been made, but we integrated something quite close to The good thing.
The problem is our efficiency.
Some will wonder why I care how progress happens, as long as they [les progrs] occurs ?
If I try to influence others, I would say that an organization that has known nothing but inefficiency is ill-prepared for the inevitable competition and/or belt-tightening, but in reality, that’s the pain. the most personal to see a 5% GPU usage count in production. I’m offended.
[edit : j’tais trop potique ici, car plusieurs personnes ont rat l’intention. En tant que spcialiste de l’optimisation des systmes, je me soucie profondment de l’efficacit. Lorsque vous travaillez dur l’optimisation pendant la majeure partie de votre vie, voir quelque chose d’extrmement inefficace blesse votre me. Je comparais l’observation des performances de notre organisation un nombre tragiquement bas sur un outil de profilage.]
We have a significant amount of people and resources, but we constantly self-sabotage and waste our efforts. There’s no way to sugar coat this; I think our organization operates half the efficiency that would make me happy. Some may scoff and claim we’re doing just fine, but others will laugh and say Half? Ha! I’m at quarter efficiency!
This is a struggle for me. I have a voice at the highest level here, so I feel like I might be able to shake things up, but I’m obviously not persuasive enough. A lot of the stuff I complain about ends up coming back to me after a year or two of it and the evidence mounts, but I’ve never been able to kill stupid things before they do damage, or set a direction and have a team stick to it. I think my influence has the margin at positive, but it’s never been a driving force.
It was admittedly self-inflicted – I could have run Menlo Park after the Oculus acquisition and tried to fight battles with generations of leaders, but I was busy programming, and I assumed I hated a , that I would be bad and probably lose anyway.
Enough complaints. I got tired of the fight and I have my own startup, but the fight is always winnable! Virtual reality can bring value to most people around the world, and no company is better positioned to do so than Meta. It may be possible to get there by simply continuing to follow current practices, but there is plenty of room for improvement.
Make better decisions and fill your products with an expression of your interest [ Give a Damn ]!
Source: John Carmack
I’ve always been clear that commendable consumer headsets are most important to us and VR adoption, do you share that view?
Do you think a consumer headset that costs $250 and weighs 250 grams should help wider adoption of virtual reality?
What do you think of Facebook’s decision to spend so many resources developing the mtaverse?