John Carmack, the virtual reality pioneer who joined Meta from Oculus after its $2 billion acquisition, has left the social network. Business Insider first reported his departure, citing people familiar with the company, and released parts of his internal memo that contained sentiments critical of Meta and its augmented and virtual reality efforts. after Internal AND The New York Times’ reports surfaced, Carmack confirmed on Twitter and Facebook that he is indeed leaving the company and even released his note to full staff members.
“This is the end of my decade in VR,” Carmack said in his memo. He began by praising the Quest 2 headset for being what he “wanted to see from the beginning,” with its indoor-outdoor tracking, optional PC streaming, cost-effectiveness, and a display with a resolution that’s near 4K. However, he argued that it could have “happened a little quicker and gone better if different decisions had been made”.
Carmack’s main issue with Meta appears to be the company’s efficiency — or, based on his memo, the lack thereof. “We have a ridiculous amount of people and resources, but we constantly self-sabotage and waste effort,” he wrote. “There’s no way to cover this up; I think our organization is operating at half the effectiveness that would make me happy.”
The executive said that as “a voice at the highest levels”, he felt he should have been able to move things forward, but he “apparently wasn’t persuasive enough”. While he did not provide detailed examples, Carmack noted that a good portion of the things he complained about changed course only a year or two after the evidence on the matter had already been accumulated. “I’ve never been able to kill stupid things before they do damage, or set a course and have a team stick to it,” he added. Carmack admitted near the end of the memo that he was “battle-weary” but that he still believes “VR can bring value to the most people in the world, and no company is better positioned to do that than Meta.”
As an executive said on Twitterhe makes it no secret that he has “always been very frustrated with the way things are done [Meta.]” In a podcast interview with Lex Fridman in August, he said the $10 billion loss from the company’s AR and VR division made him “sick of [his] stomach thinking about so much money being spent.” He wrote posts on Meta’s internal message board criticizing the features of its headphones and the need to install software updates before he could use them. Apparently , he was also pushing Meta to put the immediate user experience first when it comes to how he wants to build his vision for the metaverse.
Carmack became Oculus’ first chief technology officer in 2013 after leaving id Software, where he co-created Punishment AND The earthquake franchises. He joined Meta when, like Facebook, it acquired Oculus for $2 billion in 2014. In 2019, he stepped back from Oculus and acted as CTO only in an advisory capacity to focus on Artificial General Intelligence ( AGI), or the type of AI that is capable of performing human tasks. His startup, Keen Technologies, is working on developing those kinds of AI systems.
As anyone who listens to my unscripted chats on Connect knows, I’ve always been very frustrated with the way things are done on FB/Meta. Everything needed for spectacular success is right there, but it doesn’t come together effectively.
— John Carmack (@ID_AA_Carmack) December 17, 2022
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