John Carmack abandons Id Software entirely to focus on the Oculus Rift
When legendary programmer John Carmack (Doom, Quake) took over as Oculus VR’s Chief Technology Officer in August, it raised a bunch of questions: “Does this legitimize Oculus’s technology?” “Wait, I could’ve sworn I saw John Carmack showing off the Oculus at E3 2012—didn’t he already work for Oculus?” And, of course, “Is John Carmack human?”
That last question came about because Carmack revealed he’d be working for three companies at once: Oculus VR, id Software, and his aerospace startup Armadillo. “My time division is now Oculus over Id over Armadillo,” Carmack tweeted at the time.
Well, no longer. As of Friday, Carmack has officially left id, the studio he helped cofound in 1991 with fellow developers John Romero, Tom Hall, and Adrian (no relation) Carmack.
“John Carmack, who has become interested in focusing on things other than game development at id, has resigned from the studio,” said id’s studio director Tim Willits in a statement to IGN. Willits was also quick to clarify, “John’s work on id Tech 5 and the technology for the current development work at id is complete, and his departure will not affect any current projects.”
It’s a pretty big blow to id, which has become increasingly irrelevant in the last decade. The company’s engine technology is nowhere near as popular as it was in the '90s, and Rage—id’s last game—was underwhelming at best. The studio’s future looks increasingly unsure, now that both Carmack and long-time CEO Todd Hollenshead have left.
“I wanted to remain a technical adviser for Id, but it just didn't work out. Probably for the best, as the divided focus was challenging,” Carmack tweeted shortly after the news broke.
With Armadillo Aerospace in “hibernation mode” and no id to distract him, this should leave Carmack free to invest all his talent in Oculus—and it sounds like he has big plans. In October Carmack revealed he eventually wants the Oculus to function as a standalone unit, running Android, and that the company is close to solving motion sickness issues that arise from poor head-tracking.
The virtual reality space is increasingly crowded, but Carmack lends Oculus an air of credibility. After all, Carmack’s no stranger to new tech—this is the guy who brought 3D PC gaming to the mainstream. Perhaps a fully-focused Carmack is exactly what the Oculus needs to get the consumer iteration of the Oculus Rift perfected.
We’d appreciate it. I think our staff is tired of getting sick.