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John Carmack Responds to Facebook Acquisition of Oculus VR
Filed under: OCULUS RIFT, FACEBOOK

To say that people had opinions about Facebook's purchase of Oculus VR would be putting it mildly. Gamers lashed out, Notch withdrew all Minecraft support for the system, and Cliff Bleszinski yelled at everyone to call down. Now John Carmack, Oculus's chief technical officer who left id Software for this gig, has imported what he thinks about this move.

Carmack commented on Peter Berkman's blog post, "Wrong and Right Reasons to be Upset about Oculus":

I share some of your misgivings about companies "existing and operating only to be acquired". I am a true believer in market economies, and the magic of trade being a positive sum game is most obvious with repeated transactions at a consumer level. Company acquisitions, while still (usually) being a trade between willing parties that in theory leaves both better off, have much more of an element of speculation rather than objective assessment of value, and it definitely feels different.

There is a case to be made for being like Valve, and trying to build a new VR ecosystem like Steam from the ground up. This is probably what most of the passionate fans wanted to see. The difference is that, for years, the industry thought Valve was nuts, and they had the field to themselves. Valve deserves all their success for having the vision and perseverance to see it through to the current state.

VR won't be like that. The experience is too obviously powerful, and it makes converts on contact. The fairly rapid involvement of the Titans is inevitable, and the real questions were how deeply to partner, and with who.

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.

The Facebook acquisition baffles me, but I'm willing to wait and see what happens with the technology first before judging. But then again, I doubt I'll ever get into VR since 3D already gives me a horrendous headache.



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2 post(s)
Reader Comments
akcool007 Mar 31 2014, 10:28 am EDT
can anyone tell me the name of the babe of the day :D
  BmmB: Good to know someone has his priorities straight :D …
Rafal Apr 01 2014, 03:45 pm EDT
I'm still very interested in how things will go from here, and about VR in general, though I have to say my... "loyalty" toward Oculus brand is quite nonexistent now (though to be fair I don't know if it ever existed, since I chose not to donate to the kickstarter in the first place). I'd be enthusiastically willing to purchase an open source knock off instead.

As for Carmack - he clearly simply ASSUMES that facebook is going to handle Oculus properly (b/c you don't just throw away 2 billion willy-nilly), but he clearly leaves himself enough room to quit this venture with straight face as soon as facebook pulls it in a direction he disagrees with.

In my view Carmack gave as little support to this buyout as he could without having to resign. If things go to shit it will be quite ironic. Carmack grows up and sells out his company, to join a new passion, which is then sold out from under him.
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