January 27, 2023

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Doom and Quake veteran John Carmack leaves Meta with “mixed feelings”

2 min read

John Carmack is the co-founder of id Software and programmer for prolific games such as Doom, Quake, and Wolfenstein 3D. The programmer and developer has long since left id, however, and has been working as consulting CTO for Meta since 2013. At least, he was until he announced his plans to leave Meta on Friday.

Everyone deserves a sim wheel.

Via Business Insider, Carmack’s decision to leave the company was announced in an internal memo, which the publication describes as “scathing.” Reportedly, the memo was published to an internal workplace forum at Meta, with Carmack criticising Meta’s augmented and virtual reality efforts.






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Carmack’s memo starts by saying, “This is the end of my decade in VR. I have mixed feelings.” He continues by stating that the Quest 2 is almost exactly what he wanted to see from the beginning, however, efficiency is an issue for Meta.

“Some will ask why I care how the progress is happening, as long as it is happening?” Carmack asks. “If I am trying to sway others, I would say that an org that has only known inefficiency is ill prepared for the inevitable competition and/or belt tightening, but really, it is the more personal pain of seeing a 5% GPU utilization number in production. I am offended by it.”

John Carmack continues to express frustrations with his position, and the direction in which the company is headed. He shares that despite being in a high-level position, he is unable to enact change as quickly as he’d like, as well as, “I have never been able to kill stupid things before they cause damage, or set a direction and have a team actually stick to it.”

The memo concludes with a more hopeful tone from Carmack, saying, “Enough complaining. I wearied of the fight and have my own startup to run, but the fight is still winnable! VR can bring value to most of the people in the world, and no company is better positioned to do it than Meta. […] Make better decisions and fill your products with “Give a Damn!”

With VR in mind, the founder of Oculus recently designed a new headset that could actually kill a player who dies in game, and the PSVR2 is soon to be released, if Meta isn’t your thing.