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Carmack says, Oculus selling to Facebook was the right move (hindsight)

This new just came out yesterday from an interview with Carmack. To be honest, there is some personal validation in his views. Upon first joining the Oculus community in 2016, there seemed to be a lot of negative sentiment against the Facebook acquisition. Granted, the worries and complaints against Facebook are understandable. However, as a Tech Company, I did feel that Facebook was strongly aligned to move both Oculus and the VR Industry forward as a whole; moreso than its competitors and the original Oculus execs.

I've also felt strongly that Facebook should integrate much more firmly with Oculus. For example, it's become a bit of a running joke that I'm still waiting and hoping that this very forum become fully integrated and require a Facebook Login lol.

In this latest interview, it seems that Carmack reveals a spot on sentiment. Aside from simply posting this news, I decided to recap my own feelings/views in an effort to help shed light on the rationale behind this thinking. For me, it was never about being anti-Palmer and pro-Zuckerberg on a mere whim. I always felt that the business-sense and tech-advantage were overwhelmingly apparent.

Yet up until now, these views have been discussed/argued back and forth mostly amongst the consumers. It is nice to see a true OG like Carmack weighing in on the matter. In the end though, it's all just conjecture; but felt like sharing some thoughts from both a VR news standpoint and some long-time consumer/community nostalgia. Cheers!

Carmack says early Oculus was "a bit of a mess"

Most VR enthusiasts aren't thrilled about Facebook's ownership of Oculus, especially as it begins to force the use of Facebook accounts instead of independent Oculus accounts. In a post on Hacker News Wednesday, John Carmack offered his perspective, calling the Facebook acquisition in early 2014 "not a perfect fairy tale outcome, but... the correct thing for the company in hindsight."

"Perhaps unusually, I actually wanted FB to impress itself more strongly on Oculus post acquisition because, frankly, Oculus was a bit of a mess. Instead, Oculus was given an enormous amount of freedom for many years," Carmack wrote.


Heres my take and i hate facebook for starters.

Its difficult to build and maintain a database of serves and services, most hardware/software companies don't want to drag themselves thru glass to take care of the back end.  I work in the back end of business its not glamourous its not fun, you get no gratification like the front end, but its needed.

Do i wish it was somewhere else, but its the nature of big tech, they have means and resources to keep the party a float.

But its a means that is justified in long run.

Expert Protege
I believed from the start it was a great thing for vr.  You need a bottomless pit of funds and a company that really has a string belief for the idea of vr. I remember when I 1st heard the story of Mark Zuckerberg flying to Palmer to get a demo of his headset. Many gamers were worried about less games and more social. All I really wanted was to see vr become mainstream. If it is mainstream social first then everything else would come after.

I totally agree. I would be willing to pay a lot more for higher quality gear, but for example when I only had the Rift and the Index came out, the consensus was that the Index was definitely better, but not $400 better.


If VR really takes off, then someone will recognize that there are people who are willing to pay for foveated rendering, or eye tracking, etc. And with a large overall market, there will be enough people to make it worth doing better gear. The more people in VR, the more likely that there will be choices for us. 

i7 8700, 16GB, RTX 2080 TI, Rift CV1 | i5 4690K, 16GB, GTX 1660 TI, Rift CV1 | Quest | Quest 2


Carmack is an idiot.


@Zenbane wrote:
However, as a Tech Company, I did feel that Facebook was strongly aligned to move both Oculus and the VR Industry forward as a whole; moreso than its competitors and the original Oculus execs.

I agree to this.

For VR industry it was the best decision!

You could never like fb logins, but without fb it is possible that we would have still dk2-like hmds without standalone, inside-out and games only. Even with competing products.

I think best competing hmds like Index, O+ or G2 will not be that good if not for competition with oculus/fb. Remember those LCD screens from smartphones in DK2? Great effort was done to make special VR displays.

So even if you do not like fb you could use great competing products thanks to high bar of fb products.


FB helps to make great researches on VR (multi focal optics, AI blurring etc).

FB is a sponsor to "VR for good" with lot's of content!


And the best thing is "vr for business" infrastructure. You have no comparable competing products (with software and video distribution channels, education, support for early developers etc).


But we need another step to make a next computing platform with VR.

For "smartphones" it was integration of camera, gps and mobile networks access into "portable computer" to make them great and popular.

So we need smartphone integration to make VR a useful and popular next computing.

Even if it would be smartphone+hmd first (software only integration).

Oculus companion app could display black/white tracking image on a smartphone full screen (like a QR code) and that image could be tracked with Oculus HMD cameras! That way you could get precise coordinates of a smartphone in 3D space and it's camera direction. This will allow you to use smartphone photo/video camera to make a photogrametry  of on object or even full room. VR app will guide you how to place your smartphone for better photos. You will have highres color photos from a smartphone precisely bound to 3D coordinates.


Image processing could be done on a smartphone or on servers but API should be accessible from VR app (for 3D scan/camera start/stop, gps requests, sms send/receive (with confirmations only!))


Just imaging you have made a statue, then use hmd+smartphone to make 3D model of it and next... you show it inside VR to other people as 3D object! Same easy way as you do with 2D photos sharing today.