John Carmack joins Oculus as full-time CTO, but ‘retains ties’ to id Software [Update]

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John Carmack himself has tweeted that he will indeed remain at id Software, while working with Oculus and continuing work at his aerospace company, Armadillo Aerospace – details below.

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Oculus, the company behind the virtual reality Oculus Rift headset, has just announced that John Carmack has joined the team as its Chief Technical Officer. Carmack will begin full-time work at the company’s new Dallas office (which is opening soon) to head up a new team of developers.


Writing on the Oculus Rift Kickstarter page (which originally helped fund the venture), Carmack wrote:

“I have fond memories of the development work that led to a lot of great things in modern gaming – the intensity of the first person experience, LAN and internet play, game mods, and so on. Duct taping a strap and hot gluing sensors onto Palmer’s early prototype Rift and writing the code to drive it ranks right up there. Now is a special time.

“I believe that VR will have a huge impact in the coming years, but everyone working today is a pioneer. The paradigms that everyone will take for granted in the future are being figured out today; probably by people reading this message. It’s certainly not there yet. There is a lot more work to do, and there are problems we don’t even know about that will need to be solved, but I am eager to work on them.

“It’s going to be awesome!”

According to confirmed reports, John Carmack will continue working with id Software in some capacity and will ‘retain ties’ to the game developer. What role Carmack will continue to fill at id Software after remaining as its Technical Director for over a decade (and having co-founded the studio in the early nineties) is unknown at this point.

Conflicting Statements:

Immediately after the news broke, there was much confusion over the current and future role of John Carmack at id Sofware, which hasn’t been helped by conflicting statements sent out by both Oculus and Bethesda (which owns id Software as a part of Zenimax). Here is Oculus’ statement:

“John Carmack joins Oculus VR full time as Chief Technology Officer and will work out of Oculus’ brand new Dallas office. Formerly at id Software, John is now full time at Oculus VR working on the Oculus Rift.”

And the counter-statement from Bethesda:

“John has long been interested in the work at Oculus VR and wishes to spend time on that project. The technical leadership he provides for games in development at id Software is unaffected.

“[He] will spend time working out of Oculus as part of his role with them, but he will also continue to work at id,” the statement continued.

In addition, the official id Software Twitter account recently sent out the following message:



Here are John Carmack’s statements on the matter:




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John Carmack is of course known as the co-founder of id Software and the programming genius behind Commander Keen, DOOM, Quake and RAGE, but in the last year or so he’s become something of an evangelist for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, going so far as to include support for the device in DOOM 3: BFG Edition (which unfortunately never materialised at retail).

During his most recent QuakeCon keynote, the famed developer continuously praised the Rift and technologies like it and described in detail the exciting potential and worrying troubles that Oculus and other companies face in the development of the tech.

The fact that John Carmack is so excited about Oculus and its future speaks volumes about what we can expect from virtual reality in the years to come.

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