Virtual Reality

Virtual reality pioneer John Carmack leaves Meta

John Carmacka pioneer in virtual reality technology, is leaving Meta after more than eight years with the company, according to an inside story reviewed by The New York Times.

In the message written by Mr. Carmack, 52, the technologist criticized his employer. He said Meta, which is transitioning from a social networking company to one focused on the immersive world of the metaverse, is operating at “half the efficiency” and has “a ridiculous amount of people and resources, but we are constantly self-sufficient”. – sabotage and wasted effort.

“It’s been a struggle for me,” Mr Carmack wrote in the post, which was posted on an internal forum this week. “I have a voice at the highest level here, so I feel like I should be able to get things done, but obviously I’m not persuasive enough.”

As the former CTO of Oculus, the virtual reality company that Facebook acquired for $2 billion in 2014, Mr. Carmack was one of the most influential voices leading the development of VR headsets. He stayed with Facebook after chief executive Mark Zuckerberg decided to move the company last year to focus on the metaverse and rebrand Facebook to Meta.

Yet even though Meta was moving quickly into a field in which Mr. Carmack specialized, he was sometimes a dissenting voice how the effort was going. He gained notoriety for his internal posts that were critical of the decision-making and direction set forth by Mr. Zuckerberg and Andrew Bosworth, Meta’s chief technology officer. Mr. Carmack had worked part-time for the company for a few years.

Mr. Carmack and Meta did not respond to requests for comment. Initiated reported earlier at the departure of Mr. Carmack.

Meta’s revenue has been hit hard by its spending on the metaverse and its slowing growth in social media and digital advertising. In July, the Silicon Valley company released its first drop in sales as a public company. Last month Meta said it was lay off about 11,000 employeesor about 13 percent of its workforce, in what amounted to the company’s largest job cuts.

In a podcast interview in August, Mr. Carmack said Meta’s then-$10 billion loss in the division housing its augmented reality and virtual reality initiatives made him “tummy sick”. He added that the company’s metaverse efforts have been hampered by bureaucracy and hampered by concerns about diversity and privacy.

In other articles seen by The Times this year, Mr Carmack criticized the features of the company’s Quest virtual reality headsets. In his farewell post, he praised the Quest 2 headset as “almost exactly what I wanted to see all along” in terms of cost and mobile hardware, although he was still critical of its software.

“We built something quite close to The Right Thing,” he said.

Mr Carmack’s message, which said he was finishing his decade in virtual reality, concluded by saying he was “tired of the fight” and would focus on his own start-up. (He announced in August that his artificial intelligence company, Keen Technologies, had raised $20 million.)

“VR can bring value to most people around the world, and no company is better positioned to do so than Meta,” he wrote.

Prior to Meta, Mr. Carmack pioneered various computer graphics techniques that became crucial to the games he developed, including Quake. He joined Oculus in 2013 as Chief Technology Officer and left that role in 2019 to move into a part-time role.

Mr. Carmack this week also testified during a hearing on the Federal Trade Commission’s attempt to block Meta’s purchase of Within, the virtual reality startup behind a fitness game called Supernatural. The agency argued that the tech giant will stifle competition in the nascent metaverse if allowed to complete the deal. The hearing is expected to continue next week.

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