Legendary game developer John Carmack has left his position as an executive consultant at Meta, Developer reports.
The id Software co-founder and lead programmer on classic games including Doom and Wolfenstein published a letter describing his decision, stating that he had mixed feelings and despite a successful product, the problem was performance. This message was posted on his Facebook page:
“Quest 2 [Meta’s VR headset] is almost exactly what I wanted to see from the beginning — mobile hardware, inside out tracking, optional PC streaming, 4k (ish) screen, cost effective. Despite all the complaints I have about our software, millions of people are still getting value out of it. We have a good product. It is successful, and successful products make the world a better place. 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.
The issue is our efficiency…. We have a ridiculous amount of people and resources, but we constantly self-sabotage and squander effort….
It has been a struggle for me. 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. A good fraction of the things I complain about eventually turn my way after a year or two passes and evidence piles up, but I have never been able to kill stupid things before they cause damage, or set a direction and have a team actually stick to it. I think my influence at the margins has been positive, but it has never been a prime mover.
This was admittedly self-inflicted — I could have moved to Menlo Park after the Oculus acquisition and tried to wage battles with generations of leadership, but I was busy programming, and I assumed I would hate it, be bad at it, and probably lose anyway.
Enough complaining. I wearied of the fight and have my own startup to run, but the fight is still winnable! VR can bring value to most of the people in the world, and no company is better positioned to do it than Meta. Maybe it actually is possible to get there by just plowing ahead with current practices, but there is plenty of room for improvement. Make better decisions and fill your products with “Give a Damn”!”
But you know, he’s not the only one criticizing Meta. Brad Gerstner, the founder of Meta’s shareholder Altimeter Capital, wrote a letter in October urging Meta to reduce its investment in the metaverse and “solidify the company’s position” as one of the world leaders in artificial intelligence.
The metaverse is likely to be powered by decentralized technologies. Perceived abuses of power by centralized web2 companies like Meta have stimulated an appetite for a return to decentralized web1 principles.
AR is increasingly perceived as the next big “disruptor” that could revolutionize our daily lives. Forecasts indicate that Apple is expected to replace the iPhone with its upcoming AR glasses in about 10 years.
While the anticipated headsets from companies like Apple, Sony and HTC are likely to reduce the company’s market share, Meta currently holds about 90% of the VR headset market.
Meta is best positioned to capitalize on the interest in VR, but investors fear the company is betting too much on the metaverse becoming its primary revenue driver in the coming years, according to Developer.