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John Carmack Joins Oculus as CTO

What this means for his role at id Software remains unclear.

One of the earliest supporters of modern virtual reality headsets, id Software co-founder and programmer John Carmack, is joining Oculus as the company’s chief technology officer.

It remains unclear what Carmack’s role at id Software is going forward. Here’s the statement that was released to me by a ZeniMax representative just moments ago:

“John has long been interested in the work at Oculus VR and wishes to spend time on that project,” said a company spokesperson. “The technical leadership he provides for games in development at id Software is unaffected.”

ZeniMax is the parent company of id Software, Bethesda Softworks, and others.

In the press release from Oculus, the company noted that Carmack was now “full-time” at the company. I’ve asked for further clarification on whether this means Carmack is adopting more of a hands-off consultant role at his former home, or whether he’s still a day-to-day employee at id.

In either case, it’s a huge move.

“I have fond memories of the development work that led to a lot of great things in modern gaming--the intensity of the first person experience, LAN and internet play, game mods, and so on,” said Carmack in a statement. “Duct taping a strap and hot gluing sensors onto Palmer’s early prototype Rift and writing the code to drive it ranks right up there. Now is a special time. I believe that VR will have a huge impact in the coming years, but everyone working today is a pioneer. The paradigms that everyone will take for granted in the future are being figured out today; probably by people reading this message. It’s certainly not there yet. There is a lot more work to do, and there are problems we don’t even know about that will need to be solved, but I am eager to work on them. It’s going to be awesome!”

Carmack will be opening an Oculus office in Dallas, Texas, and is currently recruiting employees.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
114 Comments
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Edited by Mark

I can't wait to see what this means long-term.

Posted by Metal_Mills

MEGATON. But of the good kind!

Edited by RadixNegative2

Cool! I can't wait to see what we get out of this.

Posted by CaLe

There couldn't be a better person for the job.

Online
Posted by rolanthas

Wow, alright then, whatever doubts I may have had about the Rift just vanished.

Posted by CitizenCoffeeCake

That picture reminds me of Alton Brown, hm. Anyway, I'm interested to see where the technology goes. I've never had a gaming quality PC though so I probably won't get to experience it :(

Edited by masterpaperlink

good move

Posted by MrCHUP0N

Ace. But I wonder if Romero will post something snarky on Twitter...

Posted by Tesla

Shit just got real.

Posted by Baconbot

Wow! WOOOOOOWWWW

Posted by Atwa

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat

didn't see that coming.

Posted by paisan13

This is fantastic news for Oculus, not just on the technical side, but also on the marketing side.

Posted by ColumnBreaker

Makes a lot of sense, I haven't seen Carmack as giddy as he was when the Rift was being unveiled to the public with anything else related to games in a really long time. That guy goes with what he loves.

Edited by divergence

well, now he has an a new home if id implodes. When Bethesda makes public the fact that they had to scrap what they were doing on Doom 4 to start over, I tend to think things could be going a little better over there.

Posted by Dooley

I really gotta get one of these. This shits the future.

Edited by Fram

Oh MAN. Massive news. The Oculus Rift always seemed like it was going to be a gamechanger, and this ensures that it'll have the technical and creative muscle to back up that promise. It's a good time to be playing videogames!

Edited by Shivoa

Carmack vs Abrash: two industry giants enter, the winner is anyone who wants a great, cheap VR solution in the coming years.

This is certainly exciting news, have to see how it develops with regard to the leadership role at id.

Posted by AngryGuy

Best gaming related news I've heard in a long time.

Posted by JamesJeux007

Oh SHIT !

Posted by Deathpooky

I'm still wary about VR after being burned so many times in the past, but Carmack can do anything.

Posted by megalowho

Great for Oculus and the future of the format in general. Carmack's intelligence is being wasted at modern day id and his passion for VR is well known. Can't wait to see where this whole thing ends up.

Posted by iAmJohn

well, now he has an a new home if id implodes. When Bethesda makes public the fact that they had to scrap what they were doing on Doom 4 to start over, I tend to think things could be going a little better over there.

Based on that Kotaku story from a couple months back, it seems like Id already is imploding. When you consider that, it makes this move all the less surprising. Carmack hasn't really seemed invested in Id or game development in general for years now, and I cannot believe that didn't adversely affect morale and direction for the company. With Bethesda seemingly trying to reign things in and make them function as something closer to a cohesive unit rather than yet another 3D Realms, it sounds a lot to me like Carmack saw the writing on the walls and decided to move on before he could be forced out.

It's for the best, really - Oculus will be much better served by his talents than anything they could do to Id Tech 5.

Online
Posted by noizy

We've reached the singularity!

Posted by KaneRobot

This thing could just as easily flop as succeed, but I'm hoping it moves forward. Should be interesting.

Guess John has some extra time now that his outer apace projects are on "life support" (according to an Ars headline)

Posted by chilibean_3

I want to be able to buy a retail version of this so bad.

Posted by AMyggen

End of an era, but this makes a ton of sense. Carmack has been passionate about VR for a long time before OR was released.

Posted by DoctorWelch

Wait...I thought he was pretty much the one that invented this thing in the first place.

Edited by Scrawnto

Oh my god, this is the best news! Carmack is a perfectionist when it comes to tech. Listen to his keynote from last year's QuakeCon and you'll hear him talking about his efforts to eke the fastest response possible from sensors and displays. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't stand for any sub-par components in the Rift if he could help it, and he most certainly can help it in this position.

Posted by Corvak

Carmack may be one of the founders of the modern first person shooter - but it's clear his talents lie in breaking new technical ground, as opposed to game development. For Oculus, someone with that kind of experience with game engines is just the guy they need to go from cool side project to industry standard.

I see the Rift becoming for first person games, what the arcade stick is now for fighting games, and what the racing wheel is for racing sims. Not required, but a really cool addition for enthusiasts. If they can make it work with the major game engines, it will solve a great deal of compatibility woes down the road and open the door for eventual console versions.

Posted by Brake

Holy crap. This can only mean amazing things for the Oculus project. The consumer version can't come soon enough.

Edited by Abendlaender

That makes so much sense.

Posted by PurpleSpandex

Unsure about this, ID hasn't exactly been making great games.

Posted by kollay

Awesome move, John!

Edited by Deusx

Why is this such a big surprise to people? It was the obvious move from Carmack. He's been interested in VR since the 90's and he doesn't have his heart on making games anymore. It was only a matter of time. I'm interested in what may come out of this.

Posted by cikame

There is already a product here, what it needs is higher resolution screens and a more comfortable affordable way of putting those in front of people, depth sensors and then after that it's just ergonomics. Who has the best fitting best looking VR unit, that is the future until someone figures out direct brain VR stuff but that's a science problem not a Carmack one, not entirely sure what he can do here.

Edited by csl316

Holy balls. Exciting.

Posted by rulerofeden

I'm not really surprised. In fact, since the rise of the Oculus Rift in the public conciousness, I've wanted an Oculus unit with the phrase "Carmack's Vindication" engraved on the front.

Posted by Max_Cherry

The possibilities are endless.

Edited by ultrapeanut

Whoaaaa. This is so brilliant and perfect, in hindsight.

Posted by MasterRain

Yeah this was kinda obvious. Carmack is an ideas guy, hes an innovator. I don't think he fits well just making another Doom game. He was on the cutting edge of 3D graphic creation and now he want to be on the cutting edge of VR. Watch his Quakecon keynote, hes basically been working with occulus rift for years anyway, and is very passionate about it.

Posted by TheLastOtaku

Carmack and Luckey are going to make the next generation of gaming even more exciting than before.

Edited by XtremePudim

I believe in John Carmack

Posted by RadixNegative2
Edited by Anobix

Huge move, interested to see how the product evolves or changes since him joining.

Edited by Dunkelheit

Shit just got real. [2]

Posted by BeachThunder

If any person needs to be cloned...

Posted by Beaudacious

No doubt Carmack is an intelligent dude. Although for all his talks and opinions I haven't seen anything materialize in the last 8 years in a successful project worthy of his grand claims of change.

To be honest I'm not on the Oculus Rift bangwagon, since in my view there appears to be serious detriments in the concept beyond just resolution or weight.

Posted by MrL8N

I want to be able to buy a retail version of this so bad.

RIGHT. NOW. I'm down day one.

Edited by Wacomole

@tesla said:

Shit just got real.

Shit just got real. [2]

...just got VIRTUALLY real.

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