Why John Carmack Left id Software for Oculus Rift

By | 3 years ago 

When longstanding id Software figurehead John Carmack announced he would take on the role of Chief Technology Officer for Oculus Rift alongside his normal duties at the Doom developer most figured Carmack was putting one foot out the door. And so, when Carmack revealed he had left id for a full-time position at Oculus few were surprised.

However, although we knew at the time how invested Carmack was in VR and the Oculus Rift, a reason was never given for his id Software departure. Most assumed it was because Carmack was being pulled in too many directions, but that is apparently not the case.

In an exclusive interview with USA Today, Carmack reveals the real reason he left Id for Oculus, claiming that it was ZeniMax Media‘s (parent company to Id Software) disinterest in VR that ultimately made the decision for him. Carmack had hoped that ZeniMax might support VR first with Wolfenstein: The New Order, or even just use that game as a demo experience for the Oculus, before putting full VR support into Doom 4. Unfortunately, ZeniMax was apprehensive about that idea, and so Carmack decided it best not to renew his contract.

“I would have been content probably staying there working with the people and technology that I know and the work we were doing. But they couldn’t come together on [VR] which made me really sad. It was just unfortunate. 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.”

In Carmack’s mind, a relationship between Doom 4 and Oculus would have been a “huge win” for all parties involved. As we have previously mentioned, the Oculus Rift will need at least a few “killer apps” to urge consumers its way, and Doom 4 could have fit that bill perfectly. It’s a highly anticipated sequel, and who could pass up the chance of having a 3D Cacodemon right in your face?

Just recently, however, we learned that EVE Valkyrie will be exclusive to the Oculus Rift, which puts that franchise’s surprisingly strong and devoted fan base in Oculus’ corner, and there will likely be plenty more announcements of Oculus Rift-centered titles in the future. Carmack is a well-known face in the industry, which likely makes his place on the Oculus team enticing to developers.

Not to mention, Carmack’s dedication to getting the Oculus Rift done right suggests he is heavily invested in the success of the VR headset as a long term gaming option not just a gimmick. It’s a shame he ended up leaving id, but it’s nice to know his talents are still going to good use.

Are you surprised that John Carmack left id Software over VR support? Do you think Doom 4 would have been a great “get” for Oculus Rift?

Source: USA Today