John Carmack, a pioneer of virtual reality technology, is leaving Meta after more than eight years at the company, according to an internal post reviewed by The New York Times.
The New York Times reported that in the post, which was written by Mr. Carmack, the technologist criticized his employer. He said Meta, which is in the midst of transitioning from a social networking company to one focused on the immersive world of the metaverse, was operating at “half the effectiveness” and has “a ridiculous amount of people and resources, but we constantly self-sabotage and squander the effort.”
“It’s been a struggle for me,” Mr. Carmack wrote in the post, which published on an internal forum this week. “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.”
Mr. Carmack was the former chief technology officer of Oculus, the virtual reality company that Facebook bought for $2 billion in 2014. Mr. Carmack was one of the most influential voices leading the development of V.R. headsets. He stayed with Facebook after Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive, decided to shift the company last year to focus on the meta verse and renamed Facebook as Meta.
According to The New York Times, Mr. Carmak’s post, which said he was ending his decade in V.R., concluded by saying he had “wearied of the fight” and would focus on his own start-up. (He announced in August that his artificial intelligence firm Keen Technologies, had raised $20 million.)
This week, Mr. Carmack testified in a court hearing over the Federal Trade Commission’s attempt to block Meta’s purchase of Within, the virtual reality start-up behind a fitness game called Supernatural. The agency has argued that the tech giant will snuff out competition in the nascent meta verse if it is allowed to complete the deal.
CNN reported that Carmack was celebrated for his work developing Wolfenstein 3D, Quake and Doom, and co-founded video game company id Software. He was an early advocate for virtual reality, though it was not uncommon for him to criticize Meta.
When asked for comment by CNN, Meta pointed to Carmack’s post and a tweet from CTO Andrew Bosworth.
“It is impossible to overstate the impact you’ve had on our work and the industry as a whole,” Bosworth tweeted. “Your technical prowess is widely known, but it is your relentless focus on creating value for people that we will remember most. Thank you and see you in VR.”
CBS News reported that John Carmack cut his ties with Meta Platforms, a holding company created last year by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, in a Friday letter that vented his frustration as he stepped down as an executive consultant in virtual reality.
“There is no way to sugar coat this; I think our organization is operating at half the effectiveness that would make me happy,” Carmak wrote in the letter, which he shared on Facebook. “Some may scoff and contend we are doing just fine, but others will laugh and say ‘Half? Ha! I’m at quarter efficiency!”
Carmack’s departure comes at a time that Zuckerberg, Meta’s CEO, has been battling widespread perceptions that he has been wasting billions of dollars trying to establish the Menlo Park, California, company in the “metaverse” – an artificial world filled with avatars of real people.
It seems to me that John Cormack finally got frustrated enough with the metaverse project, and its apparent lack of progress, to decide to leave the company. I hope his own startup will be more efficient and interesting for him than the “metaverse” was.