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John Carmack Explains Why He Left Id Software

You could've played Wolfenstein: The New Order and Doom 4 with your Oculus Rift.

By Mike Williams. Published 2 months ago

In November, John Carmack shocked a few people by leaving id Software to work as Oculus VR's chief technology officer full-time. He had been splitting his time between id Software and Oculus VR since August, so cutting ties with the studio Doom built was unexpected. Carmack was one of the original founders of id Software way back in 1991. It was readily apparent that Carmack had an affinity for Oculus - he put the small company on the map when he talked about the Oculus Rift headset at E3 2012 - but did he have enough love for the device to end his 22-year career with id?

The answer seems to be "yes". According to an interview with USA Today, Carmack left id Software because parent company ZeniMax Media didn't want to add Oculus Rift support to Wolfenstein: The New Order and Doom 4. Carmack eventually decided to choose his passion for cutting-edge technology over the studio he had build from the ground up.

"It would have been a huge win," said Carmack. "It seemed like a sensible plan for me. I would have been content probably staying there working with the people and technology that I know and the work we were doing."

"They couldn't come together on that which made me really sad. It was just unfortunate," he added. "When it became clear that I wasn't going to have the opportunity to do any work on VR while at id software, I decided to not renew my contract."

Carmack told USA Today that leaving id Software was "bittersweet," but Oculus is providing him with new opportunities and the feeling of just starting out.

"I really do think VR is now one of the most exciting things that can be done in this whole sector of consumer electronic entertainment stuff," explained Carmack. "I've seen this when we transitioned from 2D games to 3D games and everybody has seen the mobile transition, right now in the last five years. After you have been around for a while, you can notice some of the trends. It really feels like VR has the possibility to be something really huge."

The best community comments so far 2 comments

  • orient 2 months ago

    @danger.to.others If you think VR headsets are just a fad or a gimmick then you're in for a rude awakening. When the tech is ready for widespread consumption (comfortable, decent price), consuming visual media will never be the same.

  • danger.to.others 2 months ago

    Dude has lost his mind.
    I don't care how good something looks, like let's say they perfected 3D TV where it looked incredible without any weird eye strain or fatigue, I would never use it so long as it is anchored to having to wear glasses.
    Same with Virtual Reality. I think the majority feel the same way that no one is going to hook up gear or headsets to their body when they want to play a game or watch a movie.
    Sure, there'll always be a few hardcore tech nuts who will use this stuff, but it'll never be a mainstream accepted concept with those constraints. People want to be comfortable.

    Leaving a company he started and making games he likes with people he enjoys for a headset gimmick.
    Mr. Carmack needs to get to a doctor to see if he has a tumor in his brain altering his judgement skills. He's clearly got something wrong with him.

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