Why did John Carmack leave id Software for Oculus? The future of VR is more important

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For industry watchers, John Carmack’s exit from id Software may not have come as too much of a surprise considering his continued work and further involvement in virtual reality headset developer, Oculus, but his departure was no less important for the future of VR, Oculus and the way we might play games in the future.

Carmack believes so much in the break-neck, cutting edge work going on at Oculus that instead of continuing on at id Software – a studio he co-founded over twenty years ago – he decided to leave in order to contribute to that work.


Prior to his departure, however, Carmack tried to convince the higher ups at id Software owner Zenimax that it would be worth dedicating time to incorporate VR work and features into the company’s upcoming games, including Wolfenstein: The New Order and the next DOOM game. “It would have been a huge win,” Carmack told USA Today. “It seemed like a sensible plan for me.”

Zenimax declined, and Carmack decided to leave:

“But they couldn’t come together on that which made me really sad. It was just unfortunate,” Carmack said. “When it became clear that I wasn’t going to have the opportunity to do any work on VR while at id software, I decided to not renew my contract.” Leaving the company was “bittersweet,” he admits.

Had Zenimax bought into his vision for a VR future, he “would have been content probably staying there working with the people and technology that I know and the work we were doing,” Carmack continued.

While Carmack hasn’t always been a believer in VR technology, it’s in recent years that he has come around to the idea after Oculus founder Palmer Luckey sent him a protypical version of the Oculus Rift headset, which Carmack modified and helped promote. Speaking on his work at Oculus today, Carmack said:

“While Oculus is still kind of scary fast in terms of all the people coming on there is still the sense that a handful of us are going to crunch really hard and get something done by next Thursday.”

Do you believe the future of gaming to be in VR and headsets, or will traditional television-based gaming continue to be dominant five years down the line? Have you tried using an Oculus Rift headset?

Source: USA Today

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