This isn’t bizzaro world. We will soon live in a world where the maker of Doom, Quake and most of my childhood memories works for Mark Zuckerberg. John Carmack will soon be a Facebook employee.
Facebook just announced its plan to buy Oculus VR for around $2 billion in cash and stock. The company will operate independently within Facebook with a focus on gaming. Facebook communications confirmed to TechCrunch that everyone stays the same at Oculus and John Carmack will remain Oculus’ CTO.
Carmack left id Software for Oculus VR in late 2013. Apparently id’s parent company, Zenimax, didn’t share Carmack’s enthusiasm for virtual reality and attempted to limit the resources available to make VR games.
“They couldn’t come together on that, which made me really sad. It was just unfortunate,” Carmack told USA Today in February. “When it became clear that I wasn’t going to have the opportunity to do any work on VR while at id software, I decided to not renew my contract.”
If Carmack says VR can be a big thing, it would be wise to listen. As the champion and developer of many of the aspects that make up games, Carmack has made a bigger impression on this billion-dollar industry than just about anyone else.
Likewise, it’s understandable why Zenimax and others are a bit more bearish on VR. So far the technology hasn’t proven itself to be anything other than a cool tech demo. Its opportunity to be a viable consumer product is still years away.
But Facebook is in this for the long haul. Mark Zuckerberg told reporters and investors today during a call that it’s his company’s vision to build the next computing platform. And with John Carmack in the fold, Zuck now has one of the best in the business working for him.