Carmack chimes in on Oculus-Facebook deal


— 9:10 AM on March 31, 2014

A lot of folks have spoken out about Facebook's pending acquisition of Oculus VR, but John Carmack, who has served as Oculus' CTO since last August, has stayed characteristically quiet. Or at least, he had, until a couple of comments of his surfaced in a Tumblr thread about the deal. The comment thread is tied to a blog post by chiptune musician Peter Berkman, who is critical of the deal.

In his first reply, Carmack says that, while there's a "case to be made" for going at it alone and taking an approach similar to that of Valve with Steam, VR is "too obviously powerful, and it makes converts on contact." He explains: "The fairly rapid involvement of the Titans is inevitable, and the real questions were how deeply to partner, and with who." Nevertheless, it looks like the Facebook deal took Carmack by surprise. His reply goes on to state:

Honestly, I wasn't expecting Facebook (or this soon). I have zero personal background with them, and I could think of other companies that would have more obvious synergies. However, 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.

I wasn't personally involved in any of the negotiations -- I spent an afternoon talking technology with Mark Zuckerberg, and the next week I find out that he bought Oculus.

In a followup post, Carmack addresses privacy concerns. He says that, while he doesn't believe privacy is dead, he does think catering to people who want to "remain unobserved" implies "disengaging from many opportunities." And he adds:

I have never felt harmed by data mining, and I rather like the recommendations that Amazon gives me on each visit. Educate me. What terrible outcome is expected from this?

I have to say, I'm a little surprised a relatively small company like Oculus didn't keep its CTO more in the loop about such a major move. It sounds like Carmack's talk with Zuckerberg might have helped make up the Facebook CEO's mind, though. Interesting... (Thanks to The Verge for the link.)

   
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