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id Software's Loss Was Oculus VR's Gain: Why Carmack Left

The Oculus Rift is going to change the world. How do we know? You can smell it in the air; you can feel it in your bones. We felt the same thing when we first saw Wolfenstein, when we first saw Quake running on a GPU, when mobile phones suddenly became game machines with multiple cores. That feeling has returned thanks to Oculus VR.

Id Software co-founder John Carmack must have felt the same thing when he first checked out Palmer Luckey's Rift prototype. Now he's the Chief Technical Officer of Oculus VR as of August 2013, working out of his Dallas office while the main team resides in Irvine, California.

Between August and November 2013, Carmack, 43, tried to do both jobs. He told USA Today that he wanted Oculus VR and ZeniMax Media (id Software's parent company) to agree to adding support for Oculus Rift in games that he worked on.

Had the deal been signed and sealed, Wolfenstein: The New Order would have been part of Oculus' tech demonstration during CES 2014. Doom 4 would have been part of the agreement as well.

Even more, had the deal gone through, Carmack could have stayed with id Software and continued to work both jobs. "I would have been content probably staying there working with the people and technology that I know and the work we were doing," he told USA Today.

"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."

He left id Software in November 2013.

While there's a lot of attention on the way Oculus Rift will change gaming, eventually the HMD will change the way many people live their lives, their jobs. The Oculus Rift could be used in word processing, email writing, and according to USA Today, possibly providing Minority Report-like functions.

"It could become something that is potentially usable by almost anybody that carries a mobile device," Carmack told the paper.

Palmer Luckey, Co-founder of Oculus VR and the inventor of the Oculus Rift, said that Carmack's early experiments with the Rift put Oculus on the map and helped create a huge amount of momentum around virtual reality.

Check out our time with Oculus Rift at CES 2014 here.