Oculus VR CTO John Carmack Talks Facebook Acquisition

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.

  • bak0n
    "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.
  • expl0itfinder
    It still bothers me that they essentially just flicked off the entire crowd-funding community.
  • alchemy69
    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.
  • house70
    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.
  • Quarkzquarkz
    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? =(
  • Menigmand
    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.
  • Menigmand
    Isn't that the way your "free market" normally operates, mr. Carmack?
  • Steveymoo
    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.
  • Integr8d
    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.
  • airborne11b
    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.