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Oculus VR CTO John Carmack Talks Facebook Acquisition

By - Source: Peter Berkman | B 25 comments

He responds to a musician's blog.

Former id Software programmer and Oculus VR chief technology officer John Carmack has finally spoken up about Facebook's acquisition of Oculus VR last week. He responded to a Tumblr blog by musician Peter Berkman who provided his two cents about the surprising acquisition.

According to Berkman's post, Facebook will know where you're looking, what you're doing, and how long you do it. The social site may even cross-reference that VR data with all the other information they already have on a billion people. This data won't be released to the public, but used as a way to make Facebook more revenue. He also said that companies exist and operate only to get acquired.

"I share some of your misgivings about companies existing and operating only to be acquired," Carmack said. "I am a true believer in market economies, and the magic of trade being a positive sum game is most obvious with repeated transactions at a consumer level. Company acquisitions, while still (usually) being a trade between willing parties that in theory leaves both better off, have much more of an element of speculation rather than objective assessment of value, and it definitely feels different."

Carmack said he wasn't expecting Facebook or an actual acquisition this soon. "I have zero personal background with them, and I could think of other companies that would have more obvious synergies. However, 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 added that he didn't have anything to do with the acquisition. He spent one afternoon talking technology with Mark Zuckerberg, and then next week he finds out that Zuckerberg actually bought Oculus VR.

"There is a case to be made for being like Valve, and trying to build a new VR ecosystem like Steam from the ground up," he wrote. "This is probably what most of the passionate fans wanted to see. The difference is that, for years, the industry thought Valve was nuts, and they had the field to themselves. Valve deserves all their success for having the vision and perseverance to see it through to the current state."

Although Facebook's acquisition of Oculus VR was rather shocking last week, perhaps this is the best thing that could have happened with Oculus VR. The VR company possibly now has access to Facebook's mound of cash, which could help accelerate development.

As for the data mining question, Carmack admitted that he liked the way Amazon recommends products with each visit.

Add your comment Display 25 Comments.
Top Comments
  • 12 Hide
    expl0itfinder , April 3, 2014 8:01 AM
    It still bothers me that they essentially just flicked off the entire crowd-funding community.
  • 11 Hide
    house70 , April 3, 2014 9:23 AM
    Time will tell, but Berkman was essentially right.

    At this point in time Carmack doesn't want to upset his new employer, his answers are as P.C. as apologetic.

    Ii think Oculus changed the entire kickstarter industry; gone are the days when people would support new tech based solely on trust, and you'll see more and more supporters adopting/demanding some sort of investment-based return. This, in turn, will make more and more of them to just bid their time and wait, to maximize their chances of success (just like FB did here, they did not act until they were sure it took off, so to speak), and the end result will be less funding from pure enthusiasts. The whole kickstarter process will turn into a waiting game, in effect killing the whole idea behind it.
Other Comments
  • 1 Hide
    bak0n , April 3, 2014 7:29 AM
    "I am a true believer in market economies, and the magic of trade being a positive sum game" A.K.A I'm a true believer in a big payout just like anyone who works with stock perks or any other sort of vestment is. I can't blame him. My wife gets stock perks at her start up company as well and we have high hopes for it.
  • 12 Hide
    expl0itfinder , April 3, 2014 8:01 AM
    It still bothers me that they essentially just flicked off the entire crowd-funding community.
  • -7 Hide
    alchemy69 , April 3, 2014 8:09 AM
    Don't read this, it's got Facebook cooties! Seriously, anyone would think from all the butthurt whining that Zuckerberg's money was a different colour, or something. I'm not a big fan of Coca-cola but that doesn't stop me from enjoying Ghostbusters.
  • 11 Hide
    house70 , April 3, 2014 9:23 AM
    Time will tell, but Berkman was essentially right.

    At this point in time Carmack doesn't want to upset his new employer, his answers are as P.C. as apologetic.

    Ii think Oculus changed the entire kickstarter industry; gone are the days when people would support new tech based solely on trust, and you'll see more and more supporters adopting/demanding some sort of investment-based return. This, in turn, will make more and more of them to just bid their time and wait, to maximize their chances of success (just like FB did here, they did not act until they were sure it took off, so to speak), and the end result will be less funding from pure enthusiasts. The whole kickstarter process will turn into a waiting game, in effect killing the whole idea behind it.
  • 3 Hide
    Quarkzquarkz , April 3, 2014 9:27 AM
    Listen, in other words it's going to be harder and harder to get rid of your 'online carbon footprint'. It's going to be harder to remain anonymous. Why would you be exposed to all these info jargon? I love Oculus Rift don't get me wrong, but pretty soon facebook will control the way we use it by putting crappy ads or thumbs up to certain views or god-knows what else? =(
  • 3 Hide
    Menigmand , April 3, 2014 9:35 AM
    I never understood Kickstarter. You're basically providing free startup funds for some guys to start up a business so they can then become millionaires?If Oculus Rift had not gotten all that money for free, they might have gone out and asked for real investment. I might then have been able to invest in them, and so might everybody else.
  • -1 Hide
    Menigmand , April 3, 2014 9:37 AM
    Isn't that the way your "free market" normally operates, mr. Carmack?
  • 3 Hide
    Steveymoo , April 3, 2014 10:01 AM
    I hope Mr. Zuckerburg compensates those that invested in the company earl.... what am I saying, of course he won't. That's the problem with kickstarter I suppose, you know the risks, any jerk can waltz off into the sunset with your money, with no repercussions. You know the guys that started this business are now able to retire, because they sold out on a dream that you paid for? Yep.
  • 6 Hide
    Integr8d , April 3, 2014 10:10 AM
    My 'online carbon footprint'? Because Eeeeeeaaaarth.Here's the thing. These guys sold out, no ifs, ands or buts. And this cop-out, that they all append to their excuses, that "we'll have access to FB's piles of cash," is a straw man. I had Los Angeles investors calling these people 24/7, trying to throw money at them. They couldn't get through!!!If Palmer Luckey went back to Kickstarter and said, "Hey guys. We need another $50M to put this on store shelves," he'd have had it in no time. No time!Bottom of the line, these guys took the payout; no question about it. And now, if you buy Oculus, you're buying Facebook. And in my opinion, f*ck Facebook.
  • -1 Hide
    airborne11b , April 3, 2014 10:18 AM
    So many people here are up in arms for no reason. OR got a great start with kickstarter, but $2 billion backing from FB is going to take it to the next level. Kickstarter wasn't a waste of time nor was the FB buy a slap in the face to Kickstarter supporters of OR.It was kickstarter that gave them time and money to improve their design and to show the world what they wanted to do. This is what got the attention of FB and made the purchase possible.Now instead of some small niche divice made by some relatively small company, they got one of the world's biggest businesses behind them.The naysayers of this buyout are short sighted and waffling around for no reason.
  • 0 Hide
    Chris Droste , April 3, 2014 10:47 AM
    wow...did i just read the most naive and uneducated statement from John Carmark EVER?" 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."when interviewed by the WSJ, Brendan Iribe can be quoted as commenting:"I would never have imagined we could have gotten this thing done in a few days."REF from Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/oculus/comments/21dy3k/wsj_irebe_i_would_never_have_imagined_we_could/and WSJ: http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2014/03/25/oculus-ceo-describes-rapid-sale-to-facebook/RAPID SALE and $2 BILLION DOLLARS DO NOT go together and magically equate to "well-thought-out"This whole thing might just have been orchestrated by Iribe, railroaded Palmer and Carmack was ignorant of the whole thing.(this is a copy from my view on the matter from my G-plus page)
  • -1 Hide
    Wishbringer360 , April 3, 2014 10:55 AM
    Good grief people. When you fund a kickstarter project you are not buying a stake in a company, you're simply helping an idea get off the ground. And to that end, the Oculus kickstarter did just that, it helped make the idea of an affordable VR headset come to fruition. That's in itself is the payoff!Oculus took the steps need to go mainstream with their product, which has always been there goal. Some people seem to think that Oculus should have remained some kind of indie project, but Palmer has always been clear that they are trying to change the entire world with VR, and unfortunately that takes not only a vast amount of money, but infrastructure as well.
  • -2 Hide
    stevejnb , April 3, 2014 11:25 AM
    Quote:
    So many people here are up in arms for no reason. OR got a great start with kickstarter, but $2 billion backing from FB is going to take it to the next level. Kickstarter wasn't a waste of time nor was the FB buy a slap in the face to Kickstarter supporters of OR.It was kickstarter that gave them time and money to improve their design and to show the world what they wanted to do. This is what got the attention of FB and made the purchase possible.Now instead of some small niche divice made by some relatively small company, they got one of the world's biggest businesses behind them.The naysayers of this buyout are short sighted and waffling around for no reason.


    Quote:
    Good grief people. When you fund a kickstarter project you are not buying a stake in a company, you're simply helping an idea get off the ground. And to that end, the Oculus kickstarter did just that, it helped make the idea of an affordable VR headset come to fruition. That's in itself is the payoff!Oculus took the steps need to go mainstream with their product, which has always been there goal. Some people seem to think that Oculus should have remained some kind of indie project, but Palmer has always been clear that they are trying to change the entire world with VR, and unfortunately that takes not only a vast amount of money, but infrastructure as well.


    More or less what I was saying a few days ago. Go figure, I was met by hordes of snarling PC enthusiasts who acted like Kickstarter donations gave them controlling stake in the company.

    This is the best thing that could have happened to OR, what the OR team likely wanted from the beginning, and the donations from people made it happen. Instead of being happy that this company has been given the chance to get their idea off the ground in ways that kickstarter scraps would have never made possible, people are melodramatically acting betrayed.

    Now, cue another accusation that I work for Facebook or some such...
  • 0 Hide
    therickmu25 , April 3, 2014 1:16 PM
    Carmack added that he didn't have anything to do with the acquisition. He spent one afternoon talking technology with Mark Zuckerberg, and then next week he finds out that Zuckerberg actually bought Oculus VR."So he had everything to do with it? Seriously you probably inadvertently turned his mind to shit from how smart you are and made the Rift out to be the next coming of Christ.
  • 0 Hide
    therickmu25 , April 3, 2014 1:51 PM
    Carmack added that he didn't have anything to do with the acquisition. He spent one afternoon talking technology with Mark Zuckerberg, and then next week he finds out that Zuckerberg actually bought Oculus VR."So he had everything to do with it? Seriously you probably inadvertently turned his mind to shit from how smart you are and made the Rift out to be the next coming of Christ.
  • 6 Hide
    teknic111 , April 3, 2014 2:58 PM
    "Facebook will know where you're looking, what you're doing, and how long you do it. The social site may even cross-reference that VR data with all the other information they already have on a billion people. This data won't be released to the public, but used as a way to make Facebook more revenue."This is reason enough to never buy an Oculus Rift.
  • 2 Hide
    IQ11110002 , April 3, 2014 9:53 PM
    I couldn't care who owns it to be honest, But if an advert pops up ANYWHERE in my game and ruins the experience the Oculus Rift will be going through the real world window followed by soundwaves with lots of f words in it!
  • 0 Hide
    Wishbringer360 , April 3, 2014 11:29 PM
    Quote:
    "Facebook will know where you're looking, what you're doing, and how long you do it. The social site may even cross-reference that VR data with all the other information they already have on a billion people. This data won't be released to the public, but used as a way to make Facebook more revenue."This is reason enough to never buy an Oculus Rift.


    This is pure fear-mongering with no substantiating evidence, not to mention that it defies all reason. The entire device would go down in flames if there was even the slightest suspicion that it was being used to secretly spy on you. I cannot imagine the people on the Oculus team standing for it, nor Facebook being dumb enough to try it.

    That said, I fully believe that Facebook will make their own social software for the rift, which you can optionally consume knowing that your activities will be tracked in the same manner that the Facebook website does.
  • -2 Hide
    unwanted , April 4, 2014 12:00 AM
    Really people that use kickstarter have no idea what they are doing.Everyone thinks they funded Oculus VR and are an investor hence the butthurt over FB but thats not what we kickstarted.The kickstarter WAS NOT to fund the Oculus VR company. The kickstarter was to get the DK1 produced and in the hands of devs so that there would be software for the RIFT when it is released, after all who would by something if they had nothing to use with it?Yes after the big success on kickstarter they acquired some VC funding and if no one pledged on the kickstarter then that very well may never have happened and Oculus VR may not exist today.But that still doesn't change what it was people were pledging for. Maybe they wanted to help the company succeed and grow or they thought that's what they were pledging for, the company and not ONLY the DK1 which everyone recieved. But that is their fault for not knowing what they were pledging for when it was spelled out in black and white and video. The kickstarter had nothing to do with funding the company only funding the DK1.It's as if someone did a kickstarter to make a game, they made the game and all the kickstarters got it, then a year later EA comes and buys the company for $1B and everyone on kickstarter chucks a tantrum cos zomg we kickstarted that company (no you kickstarted that single game) with our money and now they've gone and got rich off it!!! those bastards!! how dare they!!! no sorry you kickstarted a game not a company, maybe they sold the company for alot because of that game, but your involvement and contribution ended once the game was completed.
  • 6 Hide
    hixbot , April 4, 2014 6:34 AM
    I've never before been so quickly disinterested in an exciting new product as I was with the Oculus when it was acquired by Facebook.
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