John Carmack resigns consulting post at Meta
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John Carmack, the programmer who brought us Doom and Quake and Oculus/Meta virtual reality products, has resigned from his executive virtual reality consultant position at Meta.
In a post to employees, Carmack said, “This is the end of my decade in VR. I have mixed feelings.”
Carmack joined the VR team at Oculus in 2013, stepping down from his job at Bethesda’s id software and transitioning from traditional gaming to VR. He moved on after then-Facebook acquired Oculus in 2014 for $4 billion. In 2019, he stepped down from the CTO role at Oculus for the consulting role.
“Quest 2 is almost exactly what I wanted to see from the start – mobile hardware, inside-out shell, optional PC streaming, 4K(ish) screen, cost effective,” he wrote. “Despite all the complaints I have about our software, millions of people still get value from it. We have a good product. It is successful, and successful products make the world a better place. It could all have happened a little faster and gone better if different decisions had been made, but we built something pretty close to the real thing.”
He said the issue is the company’s efficiency. He said that an organization that has only known inefficiency is “ill-prepared for the inevitable competition and or belt-tightening, but actually seeing a 5% GPU utilization number in production is the more personal pain. I’m offended by that .” (In a LinkedIn post, Carmack said he was “getting too poetic here.”
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Carmack said, “We have a ridiculous amount of people and resources, but we’re constantly sabotaging and wasting effort. There’s no way to sugarcoat it; I think our organization is operating at half the efficiency that would make me happy make. Some may scoff and claim we’re doing fine, but others will laugh and say ‘Half? Ha! I’m on quarter efficiency!”
He said it was a struggle for him, and even though he has a voice at the highest level, he feels he should have been able to move things along. He said that he’s “never been able to kill stupid things before they do damage, or set a direction and actually make a team stick to it.” He called it self-inflicted, since he never moved to Menlo Park where Meta is based. But he said he was into programming and would probably have lost leadership battles anyway.
“Enough complaining,” he said. “I’m tired of the fight and started running on my own, but the fight is still winnable! VR can bring value to the most people in the world, and no company is better positioned to do so than Meta. Maybe it is actually possible to get there by just plowing ahead with current practices, but there is plenty of room for improvement.”
Back in August, Carmack tweeted that his Keen Technologies raised $20 million.
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