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John Carmack: Virtual reality titan is leaving Meta

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CNN
 — 

Video game pioneer John Carmack is resigning from his consulting position at Meta with “mixed feelings” about the “end of his decade in VR,” he announced in a Facebook post Friday.

Carmack stuck around through the company’s more than $10 billion investment into virtual reality technology. And although he still believes in the potential value of VR, he questioned Meta’s efficiency, saying in his post that the company has a “ridiculous amount of people and resources, but we constantly self-sabotage and squander effort.”

“It has been a struggle for me,” Carmack wrote. “I have a voice at the highest levels here, so it feels like I should be able to move things, but I’m evidently not persuasive enough.”

Carmack was celebrated for his work developing Wolfenstein 3D, Quake and Doom, and co-founded video game company id Software. He was an early advocate for virtual reality, thought it was not uncommon for him to criticize Meta.

Carmack became CTO of Oculus in 2013. Meta bought Oculus VR in 2014 for $2 billion, and now sells the Meta Quest 2 and Quest Pro headsets. Cormack has stood by the headset, calling it a “good product” despite his “complaints” about the software.

“Successful products make the world a better place,” Cormack said. “It all could have happened a bit faster and been going better if different decisions had been made, but we built something pretty close to The Right Thing.”

Carmack still believes Meta is the company best positioned to integrate VR technology into the mainstream. CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced in October 2021 that he would take the company beyond social media and go all in on building the so-called metaverse -— but at a hefty cost.

“I think my influence at the margins has been positive, but it has never been a prime mover,” Carmack said.

When asked for comment, Meta pointed to Carmack’s post and a tweet from CTO Andrew Bosworth.

“It is impossible to overstate the impact you’ve had on our work and the industry as a whole,” Bosworth tweeted. “Your technical prowess is widely known, but it is your relentless focus on creating value for people that we will remember most. Thank you and see you in VR.”

Meta recently announced it is laying off 11,000 employees, the most significant job cuts in the tech giant’s history amid high inflation, rising interest rates and recession fears. Meta lost $9.4 billion in the first nine months of 2022 on its metaverse efforts and expects losses from the unit to “grow significantly year-over-year” in 2023.

– CNN’s Clare Duffy and Rachel Metz contributed to this report.

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