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John Carmack speaks about Facebook's Oculus VR acquisition

by Mark Tyson on 31 March 2014, 12:45

Tags: Facebook

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Since the news broke last week regarding Facebook's acquisition of Oculus VR in a $2 billion deal, many have been waiting to hear from creator of Doom and Oculus CTO John Carmack, concerning his opinions on the matter. Carmack chose to voice his views regarding the acquisition in a response to a blog post by US chiptune rock band Anamanaguchi member Peter Berkman, who criticised the deal and stated that today "companies exist and operate only to be acquired."

Disagreeing with the criticisms voiced by Berkman, mainly accusing Oculus for abandoning its early supporters, Carmack stated that "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." He went on "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."

Carmack suggested that VR is set to become an industry technology over which "titans" are going to fight over. "The real questions were how deeply to parent, and with who," he said. This makes it clear that in his opinion, Oculus is still headed in the right direction as it was inevitable that one of these large corporations would make a move into VR and battling against them just didn't make sense.

Carmack went on to say that he "wasn't expecting Facebook (or this soon)" and admitted that he "could think of other companies that would have more obvious synergies." However, he does have reasons to believe that Facebook "get the Big Picture" as he sees it, "and will be a powerful force towards making it happen." Carmack also reasoned that "You don't make a commitment like they just did on a whim."

Interestingly Carmack concluded his comment by informing readers that he "wasn't personally involved in any of the negotiations," concerning the sale of Oculus VR to Facebook. Despite it not being a billionaire's whim, the whole deal happened very suddenly, it sounds; "I spent an afternoon talking technology with Mark Zuckerberg, and the next week I find out that he bought Oculus."



HEXUS Forums :: 11 Comments

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Carmack also reasoned that “You don't make a commitment like they just did on a whim.”

Oh come off it. $2bn to Facebook is pocket change. You sold out - simple as that.
Who wouldn't take the $2bn? To be honest when that much money is involved who cares what's going to happen to it? You're rich now.
AlexKitch
You sold out - simple as that.

So if someone offered you $2bn for your company, you'd refuse on moral grounds?
jim
So if someone offered you $2bn for your company, you'd refuse on moral grounds?

Oh absolutely not - I'd be scribbling down my bank details before you could say “private jet”.

My point was more about the sense of perspective… or lack of it. Facebook offered $3bn for Snapchat - an app which could be prototyped by any amateur developer in a week at maximum.

At $2bn, Occulus Rift sold out. It was arguably shaping up to be the next pillar of gaming technology. The guy has practically given it away.
There are a lot of gaming peripheral makers worth a lot less than than $2bn, if a big company with huge R&D budget jumped in they might leapfrog Oculus and they'd be worth nothing. $2bn must me a huge return for their investors, only a fool would have turned it down. Oculus are still operating and working on R&D except now they have a powerful backer. Very puzzled what Facebook want with VR though…