John Carmack expands on Facebook's Oculus Rift acquisition

Programming legend has reason to believe Facebook understands the 'big picture'

id Software co-founder and Oculus CTO John Carmack has elaborated on his position regarding Facebook's acquisition of Oculus Rift.

Following the purchase last week many have sought comment from Carmack regarding his thoughts on the acquisition. While he confirmed that he was in support of the move last week, now he has offered further thoughts on the matter.


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Commenting on the blog of Peter Berkman, Carmack responded to criticisms of the acquisition while making his own position clear.

He says that while fans would prefer Oculus Rift to follow a model similar to Valve, virtual reality is too significant a technology to remain at that level.

I share some of your misgivings about companies 'existing and operating only to be acquired'. 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.

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. 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.

VR won't be like that. The experience is too obviously powerful, and it makes converts on contact. The fairly rapid involvement of the Titans is inevitable, and the real questions were how deeply to partner, and with who.

Honestly, I wasn't expecting Facebook (or 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.

I wasn't personally involved in any of the negotiations -- I spent an afternoon talking technology with Mark Zuckerberg, and the next week I find out that he bought Oculus.

Carmack said last week on Twitter that Facebook operates at the scale a technology like the Oculus needs.

"I expect the FB deal will avoid several embarrassing scaling crisis for VR," he said. "I have a deep respect for the technical scale that FB operates at. The cyberspace we want for VR will be at this scale."

Facebook announced last Tuesday that it will purchase the virtual reality headset company for $2 billion.