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Carmack joins Oculus VR

id Software co-founder announced as Rift maker's new full-time CTO; id says Carmack's technical leadership at studio "unaffected"

[UPDATE]: A Bethesda representative provided the following comment: "John has long been interested in the work at Oculus VR and wishes to spend time on that project. The technical leadership he provides for games in development at id Software is unaffected." When asked for clarification, the rep told GamesIndustry International that Carmack "will spend time working out of Oculus as part of his role with them, but he will also continue to work at id."

Carmack provided his own clarification in a Twitter post, saying, "My time division is now Oculus over Id over [rocketry developer] Armadillo. Busy busy busy!"

The original story follows below:

John Carmack has always been a vocal supporter of the Oculus Rift VR headset, but the id Software co-founder has taken that support a step further. Oculus VR today announced that Carmack has joined the company full-time to be its chief technology officer, and will work out of a new Dallas, Texas office the company is forming.

A representative with id Software parent Bethesda had not returned a request for comment as of press time, but Oculus referred to Carmack as "formerly at id Software."

"The dream of VR has been simmering in the background for decades, but now, the people and technologies are finally aligning to allow it to reach the potential we imagined," Carmack said in a statement. "I'm extremely excited to make a mark in what I truly believe will be a transformative technology." Oculus noted that Carmack has championed open source software, and co-founder and CEO Brendan Iribe stressed the company shares his commitment on that front.

"John's early experiments with the Rift put Oculus on the map and helped create an amazing amount of momentum around virtual reality," Oculus founder Palmer Lucky said. "His technical genius and passion for solving hard problems makes him the ideal CTO."

Oculus Rift kits have been available to developers since March. The headset has no commercial release date as of yet.

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Latest comments (15)

Adam Campbell Producer, Hopster3 years ago
Wow, I knew he loved the tech. Good luck!
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Michael Benfield Senior Designer, Codemasters Birmingham3 years ago
End of an era, and hopefully the start of a new one.
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Sam Brown Programmer, Cool Games Ltd.3 years ago
He did say at QuakeCon he was having to put Armadillo on ice because he'd burnt through all of his spare cash. We should have guessed he'd need something else to occupy his time instead. ^__^

BTW, where does it say "Formerly at id Software"? It's not on the blog post, and there's no mention of him on the Occulus About->People page.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Sam Brown on 7th August 2013 4:37pm

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Show all comments (15)
Wow, I think this pretty much assures us the the Oculus is going to be the game changer we all think it can be. Outstanding news.
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Tim Carter Designer - Writer - Producer 3 years ago
When you're out of ideas, what's a tech guy to do?

(Chase the next fad.)

If they're doing a good job, they should be making themselves obsolete on a regular basis.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tim Carter on 7th August 2013 10:58pm

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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd3 years ago
The problem Oculus has will be the problem we all have always known it will have. The tech in it costs a lot of money and it will cost the amount of a whole console (maybe more) on top of a gaming PC to make any use of it. I say this as a PC gamer who will ultimately own one, but for the general market I struggle to see this reaching an acceptable price.
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I think 300 already is an acceptable price. This thing isnt a gimmick, its industry changing tech. At 300 its a price of a monitor, or a cheap tablet. 300 really isnt much for something that is such a leap in gaming.

As many that have demoed and watch people demo, first reaction is wow, this is awesome followed by.. "is this out yet?" followed by " how much will it be?".. followed by " 300, huh thats not bad at all"

Nausea is the only roadblock I see for this tech. But then again nausea hasnt stopped the rollercoasters from being a worldwide favorite experience.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Todd Weidner on 8th August 2013 12:32am

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Matt Walker Production Coordinator, Capcom3 years ago
As "game-changing" as hardcore gamers find the Oculus Rift to be, I agree with Nicholas that it's a stretch to think that this will become mass market. I've only tried out the roller coaster demos so far, but I fail to see how this is going to be applicable to anything outside of first person games. That, and frankly, does Joe Walmart and his family want to sit in the living room with one of these things on?

All the same, good luck to them - it's a very cool prospect.
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Jose Martin Entrepreneur & Financing - Media / Tech / Interactive Entertainment 3 years ago
Tried it twice....disorientation was a problem but only one of many roadblocks I could see right off the bat with mass market penetration but I'm tired and don't want to write a paragraph on each problem I envision right now ;)
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Saehoon Lee Founder & CEO, Pixellore3 years ago
Go for it John. Please make my index finger burn again with adrenaline and let me puke every 30 sec. I miss the days of Q3.
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Morgan King Animator 3 years ago
I don't think anyone is expecting the consumer Rift 1.0 to be an industry-upheaving boom like the iPhone or something, but the interest in the tech has been huge. It just needs an audience big enough to warrant content development, because it's going to need years to build content and best-practices and explore content types that are best suited to it. The mainstream moment isn't going to happen until there's been a massive public beta test to shape the direction HMD gaming will take and to streamline the experience.
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Leo Wakelin Community & Social Media Manager, Fatshark3 years ago
That's a bold strategy, Cotton. Lets see if it pays off
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Richard Westmoreland Game Desginer, Exient Ltd3 years ago
This is a really good catch for Oculus. I've been lucky enough to play with one and it was absolutely amazing, I really can't wait for the HD version and consumer units.

Sure, this only works for first person games but first person doesn't have to mean a shooter.
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Nick McCrea Gentleman, Pocket Starship3 years ago
Very exciting move from Mr Carmack - we've long passed the point where technical chops alone will carry a game to success. It's not that game engine technology is commoditized, exactly (at least in the console world); the strongest technical teams still enable the most ambitious and compelling creative visions to take shape most easily, but the days when an incredible engine meant great sales are long gone.

On the other hand, the problems facing the Rift are at least partly technical in nature, and are directly addressable by people with a skillset like John Carmack. That's not to say it's simply a case of the latency down, the resolution up and then profit - I do agree that there are a whole slew of impediments to mass market adoption here, but the Rift has the potential to be a successful niche (there is such a thing) for the core gamer market, and who knows where it goes from there.

Bottom line, Carmack can make a huge impact at Oculus in a way he probably can't anymore at Id.
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Michael Vandendriessche Studying Computer Science, K.U. Leuven3 years ago
Bottom line, Carmack can make a huge impact at Oculus in a way he probably can't anymore at Id.
This pretty much sums it up. It's sad to see him go from ID but it's probably best for him and the games industry as a whole.
Looking forward to results of the OR. Doubt I'll get one soon after it comes out.
This is more somethign for me after a couple of iterations and after the price has come down.
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