John Carmack Quits As Meta Defends Massive VR Investments

One of Facebook owner Meta’s top virtual-reality executives, John Carmack, has left the company, as Meta’s chief technology officer defended the firm’s controversial VR and “metaverse” investments.

Carmack, known for helping create the landmark Doom and Quake games that helped advance 3D graphics in computer games, joined VR headset company Oculus Quest as chief technology officer in 2013, a year before it was bought by Facebook, now Meta, in 2014.

Oculus Quest is now Meta’s Reality Labs and is the keystone of the metaverse efforts on which it’s spending billions of dollars each year, a controversial fact with investors, who initiated a stock selloff in late October over the company’s high ongoing VR investments and weak financial outlook.

Carmack moved into a consulting CTO role at Meta in 2019, and has remained an outspoken internal critic at the company.

Meta Quest Pro

‘Struggle’

In an internal memo he published on Friday, Carmack spoke of his “struggle” to push technical advances forward and a “notable gap” in strategic thinking between himself and Meta chief executive Mark Zuckerberg.

“I have always been pretty frustrated with how things get done at FB/Meta,” Carmack wrote on Twitter. “Everything necessary for spectacular success is right there, but it doesn’t get put together effectively.”

In his internal memo Carmack wrote, “We have a ridiculous amount of people and resources, but we constantly self-sabotage and squander effort.

“There is no way to sugar coat this; I think our organisation is operating at half the effectiveness that would make me happy. ”

Investor ire

Bosworth replied to Carmack’s remarks, saying it was “impossible to overstate the impact” Carmack had had on Meta and the industry.

In a long blog post late on Monday Bosworth defended Meta’s ongoing investments in long-term VR plans, saying they amounted to about 20 percent of the company’s resources with the rest supporting businesses such as Facebook and Instagram.

He said the investments were “reasonable for a company of our size and in our industry”, but acknowledged Meta would limit its investments as the company faces declining revenues due to a cooling ad market.

“Our investments are responding to the business conditions,” he wrote.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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