John Carmack Shares His Thoughts on Facebook’s Oculus VR Purchase

Regardless of your stance on Facebook’s recent inhalation of the whole of Oculus VR, what’s ultimately more important is the quality of the product Oculus delivers. That product, of course, will depend on its creators, and if you were worried that ex-id Software boss John Carmack was bullied into a deal by Zuck, you can rest easy — he seems A-ok with the whole thing.

Carmack’s comments come via an unlikely channel: a lengthy reply to a blog post by videogame and chiptune musician Peter Berkman. According to the reply, not only was Carmack not involved will the logistics of the deal, but nearly didn’t see it coming at all.

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.

Ok, fair enough. Facebook gets the general VR gist and has big-time cash, which is undeniably beneficial. Still, couldn’t Oculus have used its $75 million in venture capital and been just fine on its own? Carmack says it’s not so simple.

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.

Carmack’s point is a good one. Virtual reality is, at least thus far, the most blatantly interesting new technology paradigm in decades. Even intelligent mobile devices were not so obviously life-altering, nor even in the same range, until the industry-wide refinement that took place from 2007 onward thanks to Jobs’ iPhone

Still, Carmack can sympathize with purist fans to a degree, and makes it quite clear in the first paragraph of his rebuttal. In the end, though, he’s not taking full responsibility, and why should he? There are few things in this life that can’t be blamed on an “afternoon talking technology with Mark Zuckerburg.”

[Source: Peter Berkman]