John Carmack Voices Support For Facebook’s Oculus Acquisition

John Carmack Voices Support For Facebook’s Oculus Acquisition

Last year legendary game developer John Carmack left his position at id Software to pursue his passion for virtual reality as chief technology officer of Oculus VR. While Facebook’s $US2 billion acquisition of Oculus came as a surprise to Carmack, he believes the company has what it takes to make his vision of the “Big Picture” happen.

Carmack’s comments of the acquisition were delivered in the form of a comment posted on an entry from the Tumblr of Peter Berkman, lead songwriter and guitarist for chiptune rock band Anamanaguchi. Berkman’s post, titled “Wrong and Right Reasons To Be Upset About Oculus”, suggested that many railing against the acquisition were upset for the wrong reasons, focusing on minor issues like VR ads or potential rebranding of the Oculus Rift, rather than the potential for data mining virtual reality and information monopoly. Berkman’s post culminates in disappointment that another promising independent tech company has gone the way of so many before it.

It is deeply upsetting to watch independently operating forces that create life-changing innovations get sucked into the old system just as they reach potential to break a standard model.

Carmack’s comment addresses that final point, holding up Valve as an example of a small tech company with a big idea that stayed the course. “There is a case to be made for being like Valve, and trying to build a new VR ecosystem like Steam from the ground up.” The difference, he points out, is that for years the industry thought Valve’s plans for a digital distribution platform were nuts, so he company was able to cultivate a new market with little competition.

That’s not the case with virtual reality, says Carmack.

VR won’t be like that. The experience is too obviously powerful, and it makes converts on contact. The fairly rapid involvement of the Titans is inevitable, and the real questions were how deeply to partner, and with who.

While this particular form of partnership came quicker than Carmack expected and from an unexpected source, Carmack seems confident in Facebook’s ability to bring his VR dreams to fruition.

…I do have reasons to believe that they get the Big Picture as I see it, and will be a powerful force towards making it happen. You don’t make a commitment like they just did on a whim.

Wrong and Right Reasons To Be Upset About Oculus [Peter Berkman, via Mike McWhertor’s Twitter]


      • As long as Carmack gets paid he’s not too worried about VR, is that what you’re saying?

        “Hey Carmack, here’s a cheque for ten million, we’re letting Facebook absorb and kill the future of VR, you in?”

        When you’re as rich and influential as Carmack already is you don’t value money as much as you value your time. He wants to work on VR and bring that technology to fruition, and all the money in the world wouldn’t keep him happy if he thought that future was jeopardised.

        He might be wrong, but he’s not a shill.

        • Plus have you seen his videos on VR? His enthusiasm is way too awkward to be insincere.

          If it was going down the toilet the guy would be bawling his eyes out.

          • I want to believe as well. When it was announced my thought process was:

            and then …
            “Eh, I guess it’s not too bad.”
            and a bit later…
            “this could actually be really good for VR…”
            and finally…
            “…But I’ll wait to see what Carmack says”

            Palmer Luckey is clearly just as passionate as Carmack is, but he’s young and wearing new cash goggles so his words don’t take me very far. But I trust Carmack. He’s a smart cookie and a genuine geek who puts tech above all else, so if he’s still in I still have faith.

          • all we need now is some proper official facebook anouncement
            not just some zuck tweet/interview

            cant take anything a thief says seriously. And pretty sure the takeover wasnt his idea anyway

  • John Carmack has the look of a man who is thinking “this shit is fuckin awesome.”

  • Man with direct personal interest in thing supports thing.

    Shocking news, really.

    • I think that if Carmack didn’t approve he would say so, he wouldn’t mince his words or sugar coat it.

        • You don’t have to be personally acquainted with someone to get an idea of how they operate. Carmack’s been in the public eye long enough for people to be familiar with his tendencies.

        • Because I know he’s done it in the past. From watching all of his keynotes and interviews I’ve just always gotten the impression that Carmack says what he thinks unfiltered by company spin.

          He’s a man that looks at things logically – he cares about numbers and systems and technologies, not about PR. He’s not the type of person that would make an argument which he knew had fallacies in it – if he says it it’s because he believes it.

    • Sort of. But not really. The two occurrences of “thing” in your sentence there aren’t the same. The first is the dream of VR becoming a full-blown reality, and the second is the Facebook acquisition, while everyone seems to be worried that the latter will somehow get in the way of the former.

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