Video game pioneer John Carmack is stepping down from his consulting position at Meta with “mixed feelings” about “ending his decade in VR,” he announced in a Facebook post on Friday.
Carmack stayed on thanks to the company’s more than $10 billion investment in virtual reality technology. And while he still believes in the potential value of VR, he questions Meta’s effectiveness, saying in a post that the company has “a ridiculous amount of people and resources, but we’re constantly self-sabotaging and wasting effort.”
“It was a struggle for me,” Carmack wrote. “I have a voice at the highest levels here, so I feel like I should be able to move things, but obviously I’m not convincing enough.”
Carmack is noted for Wolfenstein 3D, Quake and Doom, and co-founding video game company id Software. He was an early proponent of virtual reality, thought it was not uncommon for him to criticize Meta.
Carmack became Oculus’ CTO in 2013. Meta bought Oculus VR in 2014 for $2 billion, and now sells the Meta Quest 2 and Quest Pro headsets. Cormack stood by the headset, calling it a “good product” despite his “complaints” about the software.
“Successful products make the world a better place,” said Cormack. “All of this could have been a little faster and better if different decisions had been made, but we built something that was pretty close to ‘The Right Thing.’
Carmack still believes Meta is the company best positioned to integrate VR technology into the mainstream. CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced in October 2021 that the company would leave social networks and participate in the construction of the so-called metaverse, but at a significant cost.
“I think my impact on the sidelines has been positive, but it’s never been the main driver,” Carmack said.
When asked for comment, Meta pointed to Carmack’s post and a tweet from CTO Andrew Bosworth.
“It’s impossible to overstate the impact you’ve had on our work and the entire industry,” Bosworth on Twitter. “Your technical prowess is widely known, but we will remember most of all your relentless focus on creating value for people. Thanks and see you in VR.”
Meta recently announced it was laying off 11,000 employees, the most significant job cuts in the tech giant’s history, amid high inflation, rising interest rates and fears of a recession. Meta lost $9.4 billion in the first nine months of 2022 on its metaversal efforts, and expects unit losses to “increase significantly year over year” in 2023.
— CNN’s Claire Duffy and Rachel Metz contributed to this report.