John Carmack Speaks On Oculus/Facebook Deal

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John Carmack Speaks On Oculus/Facebook Deal

john carmack

John Carmack says that the deal was "unexpected", but he has faith that Facebook can see "the big picture."

When Facebook bought Oculus for 2 billion dollars earlier this month, one of the first people fans looked to for answers was John Carmack, the legendary game designer who joined Oculus as Chief Technical Officer last year. Carmack has been relatively silent on the issue, but has now made his thought's clear on Peter Berkman (of Anamanaguchi fame)'s blog. Carmack says he wasn't expecting the deal, but still has faith that Facebook can see "the big picture."

"Honestly, I wasn't expecting Facebook (or this soon)," said Carmack. "I have zero personal background with them, and I could think of other companies that would have more obvious synergies."

"However," he added, "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."

Carmack said that he personally wasn't involved at all in the negotiations. "I spent an afternoon talking technology with Mark Zuckerberg, and the next week I find out that he bought Oculus."

He also mulled over going the "Valve" route, as in, "trying to build a new VR ecosystem like Steam from the ground up," admitting that while this is what the most passionate fans wanted to see, it never would have worked. "VR won't be like that," he explained. "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."

Source: Peter Perkman's Tumblr

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..and right now Oculus VR's developer pages are down for routine maintenance -- If on April 1st they put up a mock version of them, that are a taste of everything we fear from out of Facebook, I may never be able to forgive them for toying with us. :P

Cheif technology officer for company which just made a deal which probably made him personally a shitton of cash says deal is a great idea.

News at 11.

You really think Carmack is out for the money? - Little do you know.

mrverbal:
Cheif technology officer for company which just made a deal which probably made him personally a shitton of cash says deal is a great idea.

News at 11.

I'm not a big fan of his games, personally, but when John Carmack starts talking about anything related to game tech in general and graphics tech in particular, it's usually a good idea to listen. If the man has spoken to Zuckerberg personally about the technology and is now saying that he has cause to believe that the two are seeing eye to eye on the matter, I'd at least put that down as a mark in the "pros" column.

I don't think the problem really lies with the fact that Facebook bought the Oculus Rift, but how people feel Facebook has either treated them or their past acquisitions. So now people are looking at this buyout as Facebook going to do the behavior that people expect of them and use that on the Oculus Rift. To me its a lot like how people react to anything EA does as well, past experiences influence the reaction they give on anything EA might do now.

mrverbal:
Cheif technology officer for company which just made a deal which probably made him personally a shitton of cash says deal is a great idea.

News at 11.

Because John Carmack, one of the Co-Founders of Id software, is concerned with making money. I suppose if he feels like topping off his scrooge mcduck style vault then yes i guess he could use the money.

Sanunes:
I don't think the problem really lies with the fact that Facebook bought the Oculus Rift, but how people feel Facebook has either treated them or their past acquisitions. So now people are looking at this buyout as Facebook going to do the behavior that people expect of them and use that on the Oculus Rift. To me its a lot like how people react to anything EA does as well, past experiences influence the reaction they give on anything EA might do now.

The difference is, that EAs aquisitions were treated with scepticism based on an elaborate knowledge of what they did to Bullfrog, Origin, Maxis, Westwood, and BioWare, and not with the vague stereotypes of a community that knows very little about Facebook's business behavior so just assumes the shallowest possible expectations about it's philosophy, and about how it's hardware branch would be treated the exact same way as it's main website.

This is less like EA aquiring a small developer and worrying that their talent will be driven away, and more like Coca Cola buying Kellog's and worrying that your cereal will start to come in coke flavor only, or Disney buying Lucasfilm so expecting the next Star Wars movie to be an animated musical.

Even with J.C weighing in, I am still not convinced Facebook is the ideal partner here. I mean you just know they are going to try to cram as much of their social tools in to the applications and games as they can. It's too big an opportunity not to.

I still think this is an elaborate April Fool's prank btw.

Oh, I have little worry that Facebook doesn't have a big picture in mind for the Oculus tech. In fact, I'm certain they have plans for it. The problem is I'm not sure it's the same big picture that gamers have in mind for the tech, particularly those who donated their own money out based on what Oculus was selling itself as at the time of the donations.

mrverbal:
Cheif technology officer for company which just made a deal which probably made him personally a shitton of cash says deal is a great idea.

News at 11.

The man is already rich, and I really doubt he gives a shit about making more money rather than making good tech. The guy just has zero interest in the business side of things and is one of the only people in the industry that I'd feel comfortable saying wouldn't sell out an idea he believed in just to make some more money.

And I'd say it's even less likely that he supports it just because of money when he comes right out and says that he had no idea it was going to happen and that he can think of a lot of companies they'd have better synergy with. Again, he only cares about the tech, and if he's saying that he and facebook are seeing eye to eye on it, I'm going to take him at his word. I still question whether the acquisition was a good idea overall, but I don't question his thoughts on how things are going internally.

It's weird that I can really understand why people are mad in this shit storm, I backed mighty no. 9 and I would be livid if tomorrow Inafune came out and said that he sold the game to a Sega (or some other company). Wasn't the WHOLE FREAKING POINT of kickstarter to allow devs to create something they were truly passionate about with the added freedom of not being at the mercy of a bigger company whose only concern was money? These people kickstarted the "Occulus Rift" not "Facebook presents the Occulus Rift", I am certain if people knew that this was going to happen they would have never backed it.

And before anyone brings it up no Occulus is not legally obligated to do anything for the backers, but I still think pissing off your only consumer base is a bad idea, the backers are the one's who were going to get the damn thing and tell everyone how awesome it is. As for the apparent social media aspect that was mentioned in the followup response? never gonna happen the problem with hardware that has a social purpose is it only really works if EVERYONE has one and the occulus is niche product for a small demographic of gamers who for the most part are not huge into social media

This deal really could be cool for technology in my honest opinion, it just may not be as important for gaming anymore. I mean certainly in my case, I live 8000 miles away from my home town, but I would be really pumped if I could put on the Oculus and feel like I'm back home for a bit. It might certainly have a good effect on this kind of communication. That being said, now for gaming, it's a part of a big corporate entity, and for the purposes of gaming I really don't know what the difference, if there is any, between this head set and Sony's headset.

That being said Cliffy B should go F*** himself for being an arrogant prick about the whole fiasco, because really every thing he said just came out sounding like: "Notch wouldn't be so pissed if he was an actually investor like me, not that its about the money, even though I should mention that this deal is gonna make a lot of it; oh and gamers are self-entitled babies who still need to understand that I am their god and I am a bit miffed that they are still only paying me 60 dollars a disc to kiss my shoes."

But yeah John Carmack probably wants this deal to work, because after all he is more of a designer, but at the same time, in business you don't have the luxury to be publicly skeptical about your own products even if that is how you feel. I really hope they do good things with the rift.

mrverbal:
Cheif technology officer for company which just made a deal which probably made him personally a shitton of cash says deal is a great idea.

News at 11.

Like many said, yeah no.

He was already rich and he even joined (and presented) the Occulus Rift when they were small because he believed in the technology and wanted to help. His oppinion, even if it ends up being wrong, is the one he trully has on the subject and you cant blame him for that.

Alterego-X:

This is less like EA aquiring a small developer and worrying that their talent will be driven away, and more like Coca Cola buying Kellog's and worrying that your cereal will start to only come in coke flavor, or Disney buying Lucasfilm so expecting the next Star Wars movie to be an animated musical.

I don't know about you but I'd watch that.

Orange12345:
It's weird that I can really understand why people are mad in this shit storm, I backed mighty no. 9 and I would be livid if tomorrow Inafune came out and said that he sold the game to a Sega (or some other company).

If he would sell it a year AFTER releasing it and providing the copies to backers, then your anger at him would be rather irrational.

The purpose of Kickstarter is to materialize specific creative products, not to give you eternal control over their creator's business choices.

mrverbal:
Cheif technology officer for company which just made a deal which probably made him personally a shitton of cash says deal is a great idea.

News at 11.

While I have no idea of what John's personal stakes in the company are, other than as an enthusiastic employee, I expect the largest chunk of those $0.4b + 1.6 in monopoly money went to buying out the venture capitalists, that entered the picture back in December.

mrverbal:
Cheif technology officer for company which just made a deal which probably made him personally a shitton of cash says deal is a great idea.

News at 11.

You do understand that he gave up a cushy job at Bethesda to work in a young upstart company like Occulus just out of pure enthusiasm?

RA92:

mrverbal:
Cheif technology officer for company which just made a deal which probably made him personally a shitton of cash says deal is a great idea.

News at 11.

You do understand that he gave up a cushy job at Bethesda to work in a young upstart company like Occulus just out of pure enthusiasm?

Oh yes, lets take a look.

-Armadillo Aerospace is making a loss yearly.
-Doom 4 in development hell.
-Oculus rift making tons and tons of money.

Hmm, why would he ever want to work on OR? Ignorance is bliss.

Alterego-X:

Sanunes:
I don't think the problem really lies with the fact that Facebook bought the Oculus Rift, but how people feel Facebook has either treated them or their past acquisitions. So now people are looking at this buyout as Facebook going to do the behavior that people expect of them and use that on the Oculus Rift. To me its a lot like how people react to anything EA does as well, past experiences influence the reaction they give on anything EA might do now.

The difference is, that EAs aquisitions were treated with scepticism based on an elaborate knowledge of what they did to Bullfrog, Origin, Maxis, Westwood, and BioWare, and not with the vague stereotypes of a community that knows very little about Facebook's business behavior so just assumes the shallowest possible expectations about it's philosophy, and about how it's hardware branch would be treated the exact same way as it's main website.

This is less like EA aquiring a small developer and worrying that their talent will be driven away, and more like Coca Cola buying Kellog's and worrying that your cereal will start to come in coke flavor only, or Disney buying Lucasfilm so expecting the next Star Wars movie to be an animated musical.

Alterego-X:

Orange12345:
It's weird that I can really understand why people are mad in this shit storm, I backed mighty no. 9 and I would be livid if tomorrow Inafune came out and said that he sold the game to a Sega (or some other company).

If he would sell it a year AFTER releasing it and providing the copies to backers, then your anger at him would be rather irrational.

The purpose of Kickstarter is to materialize specific creative products, not to give you eternal control over their creator's business choices.

Your hammer is hitting nail after nail on the head.
People need to just chill the fuck down and watch how it goes. For all we know, the consumer version of OR will be amazingly good, without a single trace of Facebook in the user experience.

SourMilk:

Oh yes, lets take a look.

-Armadillo Aerospace is making a loss yearly.
-Doom 4 in development hell.
-Oculus rift making tons and tons of money.

Hmm, why would he ever want to work on OR? Ignorance is bliss.

Wealth doesn't work that way. If you have your personal aerospace company, and a lead position in a AAA development studio, it matters little whether their recent business luck is best summarized with little green arrows pointing upwards or red arrows pointing downwards, it's still a fact that your standards of living are absurdly secure, and creative fulfillment is a much more important priority than "cash".

Why would he want to work on OR? Why would *anyone* keep working in such demanding positions for decades after founding their own prosperous corporation? Probably not to pay off his car early, or to put his kids through college, but because it's the most fun thing he can spend his time with.

SourMilk:

RA92:

mrverbal:
Cheif technology officer for company which just made a deal which probably made him personally a shitton of cash says deal is a great idea.

News at 11.

You do understand that he gave up a cushy job at Bethesda to work in a young upstart company like Occulus just out of pure enthusiasm?

Oh yes, lets take a look.

-Armadillo Aerospace is making a loss yearly.
-Doom 4 in development hell.
-Oculus rift making tons and tons of money.

Hmm, why would he ever want to work on OR? Ignorance is bliss.

Ignorance is bliss? Speak for yourself. If Carmack was so infatuated with wealth, why does he always insist on releasing the source code of his engines under the GPL? Most of the money that Oculus has raised are from investors, and that's where most of the sales cash is going to go. Carmack is not an investor. Whatever money he's going to get out of this is going to be nothing compared to the licensing revenue he earned from idTech 1 through 3.

So, that was actually enlightening, and simultaneously worrying and assuring.

Zuckerberg spoke with the man himself; Carmack isn't and has never really been a money-grubbing douchebag despite being in an EXTREMELY powerful position to do so (the guy is basically the grandfather of modern 3D gaming; even Call of Duty uses tech from a platform Carmack developed) and it sounds as though Zuckerberg has something of an understanding of the design philosophy of the OR.

...BUT, at the same time, Carmack hinted at plans for a Valve (Steam) like system development. Which both makes a terrifying amount of business sense; literally, it terrifies me because it is Facebook.

Instead of just getting a VR package to supplement/replace a standard display for media, you get a VR package with that and a lot of other baggage. If that baggage is internal to the system but context-specific then there's no problem (just as a lot of Windows components are useless to the majority of its users, but are included "just in case").

But on the other hand, it would be trivially simple to data-mine and monetize the OR platform, and given that is Facebook's entire model, there is a powerful incentive to do so.

So...I was ambivalent before, I'm ambivalent now.
And the kickstarter backers are going to get their OR for sure now, but it may come with more baggage than they expected.

We Kickstarter backers got our Rifts long ago.

Orders are now open for a second revision developer kit, with better screen and positional tracking (still not consumer version specs) -- delivery stars in June.

Atmos Duality:

And the kickstarter backers are going to get their OR for sure now, but it may come with more baggage than they expected.

The Kickstarter backers have already got all their DK1s a year ago, their business with Oculus is done.

Alterego-X:

The Kickstarter backers have already got all their DK1s a year ago, their business with Oculus is done.

Ah.
Well, then I don't know why I keep seeing all these claims about them getting screwed everywhere, or the butthurt reactions.
(on second though, maybe I do. It's the internet. It's driven by butthurt impotent rage)

You don't make a commitment like they just did on a whim."

"I spent an afternoon talking technology with Mark Zuckerberg, and the next week I find out that he bought Oculus."

Maybe it's just me, but these two comments seem in contradiction.

"I talked to a guy for a few hours one day and the next day he tosses two billion dollars at me."

Seems kind of like a whim to me. :/

And besides, even Carmack doesn't seem entirely convinced that Facebook has the same end-goal for the Rift as Oculus did pre-buyout.

So...I'm still dubious about this deal.

I'm glad the blind hate has calmed down a bit. As I said before, until more information about the actual product is out there is no real reason for us to get angry. Instagram hasn't changed since facebook bought it, it's still a site you post lots of pictures of food, cats and sex.

I do not think that advertising will be bundled with the Rift. If it's put in the firmware then there will be a hack to remove it. If it's part of a third party program then there will be a way to block it. I can tell you that it won't be in the games you play because that would mean you either need a second micro-computer built into the rift that can manage its own overlay (adding more cost, weight, heat, power consumption etc) OR an automatic mod to the exe file of any game that is ever run, which seems to breach quite a few ToC's in some games.

J.C Denton's announcement hasn't changed my thoughts on the matter. I'm not worried, I'm still going to buy one, and im going to spend entire weeks immersed in who knows what games.
Unless the rift becomes blue with a giant facebook 'like' sign on the front.

Vigormortis:
Maybe it's just me, but these two comments seem in contradiction.

JC is a techie in the company, Facebook was apparently talking with the biz guys about the deal.

I believe that JC didn't even realize any talks were in place. In every interview he made where he talked about the business side, he complained about having to deal with the biz. As id Soft's owner, he complained about having to be on the meetings. When id licensed their engines to other companies, JC complained about having to support them. When ZeniMax bought id, JC was happy he no longer has to deal with that crap.

Also he is a known weirdo. A person who shatters computer tech every few years and builds rocket ships in his free time probably wouldn't notice if Zuckerberg was talking about the deal in the same room for weeks unless he was talking to JC directly.

I'm looking forward to see what they can do with the boatloads of money they got. Yes, they raised $2.5 million on kickstarter-but that's only about a third of what Ouya raised, and I don't think people want something that's about one-third as polished as Ouya. (Never mind the fact that OR is trying something a lot more complex than Ouya did).

Some people need to set aside their anger and read. He wasn't part of the negotiation. He is their lead tech guy, he doesn't have much say in who buys the company or how the product is funded. He also confirmed Zuckerberg's desire to hold the current course. Everyone should know that if this thing was only ever about gaming, well it would be a niche product always and forever. The concept of Virtual Reality was always intended for a lot more than gaming. Just as gamers, we want to see it go far. And it will only if it gets major backing from a company such as Facebook. I'm not gonna lie, I wanted Valve involved in this, but I know they can't match Facebook's offer.

Baresark:
Some people need to set aside their anger and read. He wasn't part of the negotiation. He is their lead tech guy, he doesn't have much say in who buys the company or how the product is funded. He also confirmed Zuckerberg's desire to hold the current course. Everyone should know that if this thing was only ever about gaming, well it would be a niche product always and forever. The concept of Virtual Reality was always intended for a lot more than gaming. Just as gamers, we want to see it go far. And it will only if it gets major backing from a company such as Facebook. I'm not gonna lie, I wanted Valve involved in this, but I know they can't match Facebook's offer.

Stop....

He is a tech guy that has no idea how business is done and doesnt like to get involved in such things...

But hes preeeeeeeeety sure Mark "shady" Zuckerberg is willing to stay the course?

Facebook allready kinda sorta laid out their plans to turn the OR into a social media plattform made for add revenue and not a gaming periferal.

How is that "staying the course" ? Look John might be the go to guy if you want to discuss technical stuff about the OR but he clearly has no idea about business or what Facebooks real plans are. A simply "oh sure we wont change the course" from mark zuckerberg means jack shit if its not written on paper and signed by the guy himselfe.

Zuckerberg OWNS the company now.. he can do whatever the hell he pleases both with the company and the product. Heck he could dismantle the whole company only leaving key personal and transferring the whole thing to another department if he so wanted. (the feasability of such a thing might be non existant but hey... he threw 2 billions at the OR guys to get his hands on a new toy)

It doesnt matter what Carmack thinks or says... he has as much influence about all this as the guy sitting right next to him in office... none what so freaking ever.

From the sounds of it he wasnt even really involved in the talks and was left in the dark till the buyout happened. So hearing from him how "great" of a chance this whole deal is... yeah.. im sorry Carmack but dont say stuff you have no idea about. Youre a great techie but you have no business sense as you have explained over and over and over back in your ID days.

Whatever happens to the OR now it will not be what the company originaly intended it to be. Otherwise Facebook would have never gotten involved.

I never had a beef with Carmack. He did what he felt was right for Oculus. My beef lies with Facebook. I have absolutely no trust in the company and I am vehemently against all of their business practices. Where foot-faced Zuckerberg preaches an "open and connected world" I see opportunists in a board room licking their lips at how much more money they can rake in at the expense of all of our personal information.

If Facebook can exist and play in it's own corner I'd be fine with that, but I fear they'd rather stick their fingers into every other IP and aspect of my life until one day they are just unavoidable. Just a few days ago I read they are working with NASA to launch their own drones and satellites.

I refuse to buy or use the Rift now. Which sucks because I was looking forward to it.

And Carmack is such idol to be listened like GOD because?

Alterego-X:

The difference is, that EAs aquisitions were treated with scepticism based on an elaborate knowledge of what they did to Bullfrog, Origin, Maxis, Westwood, and BioWare, and not with the vague stereotypes of a community that knows very little about Facebook's business behavior so just assumes the shallowest possible expectations about it's philosophy, and about how it's hardware branch would be treated the exact same way as it's main website.

This is less like EA aquiring a small developer and worrying that their talent will be driven away, and more like Coca Cola buying Kellog's and worrying that your cereal will start to come in coke flavor only, or Disney buying Lucasfilm so expecting the next Star Wars movie to be an animated musical.

Um what?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mergers_and_acquisitions_by_Facebook
Facebook has a pretty known history of its aquisition. Not a good one. In fact, id personally say its worse than EA aquisitions. EA ones at least try to push out at least one last game before deing and getting assimilated.
There is no denying Facebook practices are evil, whether their philosophy is that or not is irrelevant, because its the actions that matter.

In fact, your examples show that you are the one who has little knowledge of the companies you claim to make a point with.

Strazdas:

Um what?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mergers_and_acquisitions_by_Facebook
Facebook has a pretty known history of its aquisition. Not a good one. In fact, id personally say its worse than EA aquisitions. EA ones at least try to push out at least one last game before deing and getting assimilated.
There is no denying Facebook practices are evil, whether their philosophy is that or not is irrelevant, because its the actions that matter.

In fact, your examples show that you are the one who has little knowledge of the companies you claim to make a point with.

There are only two aquisitions on that list that are even remotely similar to Oculus or to the EA aquisitions in scope, and in thei subject being a pre-existing revered brand with it's own business culture, and those are Instagram and WhatsApp. Both of which are still running as rather autonomous platforms. What's so evil about that?

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