Video game genius John Carmack quits Meta, ‘frustrated with how things are going there’ on VR

Meta’s future in the Metaverse will be without John Carmack, who served as a consultant CTO (chief developer) at Meta and has been working on VR headsets since 2013.

“It’s the end of my decade spent in virtual reality“. In a long Facebook post, the essential John Carmack explained, on December 17, 2022, the reasons for his departure from Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and Oculus.

However, it was on Twitter that he was most direct: “As some know, I’ve always been quite frustrated with the way things are going at Meta/Facebook. Everything one would need to be phenomenally successful is there, but it’s not put together in the most efficient way“. 

He then points out that in his opinion, the value of the final delivered product is not high enough to balance the expenses and the energy committed to the project. “There is a noticeable disconnect between how Mark Zuckerberg and I view strategic issues, so I know it would have been very frustrating to keep trying to push my vision internally“. 

John Carmack announces that he will devote himself full-time to his startup Keen Technologies, which aims to develop an “Artificial General Intelligence” (AGI), an artificial intelligence capable of adapting to all situations, and not a specific algorithm for a specific case.

John Carmack, Meta, the Metaverse, and the Rest

In his press release, Carmack said he was filled with “mixed feelings” about his experience at Meta: “[The] Quest 2 headset is almost exactly what I wanted to see from the start – a mobile product, followed by the interior and the outdoor, optional PC streaming, 4k(ish) screen, cost-effective. Despite all the criticisms that I could formulate against our software, millions of people still benefit from it (…) The problem is our efficiency”, he asserts.

The Oculus Quest 2 Elite strap. 

We have a ridiculous amount of people and resources, but we’re constantly sabotaging ourselves and wasting our efforts. There is no way to coat it; I think our organization is operating at 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!’ 

Carmack, known for being one of the brains behind several cult video games like Doom and Quakejoined Meta in 2013 to work on prototypes for the Oculus Rift headsets — which aren’t called that anymore.

It was a fight for me,” concluded the ex-CTO. “I have a voice at the highest level here, so I feel like I should be able to get things done, but obviously, I’m not persuasive enough. A lot of the things I complain about end up proving me right after a year or two, and the evidence mounts, but I’ve never been able to kill stupid things before they do damage, or to set a direction and have a team stick to it. I think my influence at the margins has been positive, but it has never been a driving force. »

The immediate impact of Carmack’s departure on Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse project is not quantifiable, but the signal sent is harsh, as Meta struggles to convince investors of the viability of its virtual world project.


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