Frustrated virtual reality pioneer leaves Facebook’s parent

Dec 16, 2022, 7:46 PM | Updated: Dec 17, 2022, 9:51 am

FILE - Meta's logo can be seen on a sign at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., on No...

FILE - Meta's logo can be seen on a sign at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., on Nov. 9, 2022. John Carmack cut his ties with Meta Platforms, a holding company created last year by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, in a Friday, Dec. 16, 2022 letter that vented his frustration as he steeped down as an executive consultant in virtual reality.(AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez, File)

(AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez, File)

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — A prominent video game creator who helped lead Facebook’s expansion into virtual reality has resigned from the social networking service’s corporate parent after becoming disillusioned with the way the technology is being managed.

John Carmack cut his ties with Meta Platforms, a holding company created last year by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, in a Friday letter that vented his frustration as he steeped down as an executive consultant in virtual reality.

“There is no way to sugar coat this; I think our organization is operating at half the effectiveness that would make me happy,” Carmack wrote in the letter, which he shared on Facebook. “”Some may scoff and contend we are doing just fine, but others will laugh and say, ‘Half? Ha! I’m at quarter efficiency!'”

In response to an inquiry about Carmack’s resignation and remarks, Meta on Saturday directed The Associated Press to a tweet from its chief technology officer and head of its reality labs, Andrew Bosworth. “”It is impossible to overstate the impact you’ve had on our work and the industry as a whole,” Bosworth wrote in his grateful tweet addressed to Carmack.

Carmack’s departure comes at a time that Zuckerberg, Meta’s CEO, has been battling widespread perceptions that he has been wasting billions of dollars trying to establish the Menlo Park, California, company in the “metaverse” — an artificial world filled with avatars of real people.

While the metaverse losses have been mounting, Facebook and affiliated services such as Instagram have been suffering a downturn in advertising that brings in most of the company’s revenue. The decline has been brought on by a combination of recession fears, tougher competition from other social networking services such as TikTok and privacy controls on Apple’s iPhone that have made it tougher to track people’s interests to help sell ads.

Those challenges have caused Meta’s stock to lose nearly two-thirds of its value so far this year, wiping out about $575 billion in shareholder wealth.

Although Carmack had only been working part time at Meta, the dismay that he expressed seems likely to amplify the questions looming over Zuckerberg’s efforts to become as dominant in virtual reality as Facebook has been in social networking since he started the service nearly 20 years ago while attending Harvard University.

Zuckerberg began to explore virtual reality in earnest in 2014 with Facebook’s $2 billion purchase of headset maker Oculus. At the time, Carmack was Oculus’ chief technology officer and then joined Facebook after the deal closed. Before joining Oculus, Carmack was best known as the co-creator of the video game Doom.

Federal regulators are now trying to limit Zuckerberg’s sway in virtual reality by preventing his attempt to buy Within Unlimited, which makes a fitness app designed for the metaverse.

Carmack testified earlier this week in a trial pitting the Federal Trade Commission against Meta over the fate of the deal. Zuckerberg is expected to testify at some point in the trial, which is scheduled to resume Monday in San Jose, California.

Despite his frustration with the way things have been going at Meta, Carmack praised its latest virtual reality headset, the Quest 2, in his resignation letter. He described the headset as “”almost exactly what I wanted to see from the beginning” of his Oculus tenure.

“It is successful, and successful products make the world a better place,” Carmack said of the Quest 2. “It all could have happened a bit faster and been going better if different decisions had been made, but we built something pretty close to The Right Thing.”

But Carmack ended his letter with this entreaty: “Maybe it actually is possible to get there by just plowing ahead with current practices, but there is plenty of room for improvement. Make better decisions and fill your products with ‘Give a Damn!'”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Image:The New York Giants' Willie Mays poses for a photo during baseball spring training in 1972. M...

Associated Press

Willie Mays, Giants’ electrifying ‘Say Hey Kid,’ dies at 93

Willie Mays, whose singular combination of talent, drive and exuberance made him one of baseball’s greatest players, has died. He was 93.

1 day ago

Image: This photo provided by the Washington Department of Ecology shows a derailed BNSF train on t...

Associated Press

Judge orders BNSF to pay Washington tribe nearly $400M for trespassing with oil trains

BNSF Railway must pay the sum to a Native American tribe in Washington after it ran 100-car trains with crude oil on the tribe's reservation.

2 days ago

Photo: In this photo provided by Tieanna Joseph Cade, an amusement park ride is shown stuck with 30...

Associated Press

Crews rescue 28 people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride

Emergency crews in Oregon rescued 28 people after they were stuck dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park.

2 days ago

juneteenth shooting texas...

Associated Press

2 killed and 6 wounded in shooting during a Juneteenth celebration in a Texas park

A shooting in a Texas park left two people dead and six wounded, including two children, on Saturday, authorities said.

3 days ago

Photo: Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Wednesday, J...

Jack Jeffery, The Associated Press

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months

An explosion in Gaza killed eight Israeli soldiers, the military said Saturday, making it the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.

4 days ago

Juanita Beach Kirkland...

Kathy McCormack and Nick Perry, The Associated Press

‘Tis the season for swimming and bacteria alerts in lakes, rivers

With summer about to start, many people flocking to their favorite swimming holes may also want to read up on bacteria warnings.

5 days ago

Frustrated virtual reality pioneer leaves Facebook’s parent