February 6, 2023

Virtual reality pioneer John Carmack is leaving Meta after more than eight years at the company, according to an internal post reviewed by The New York Times.

In the post, written by Mr. Carmack, 52, the technologist criticized his employer. Meta, he said, was transitioning from a social networking company to one focused on immersive Metaverse worlds, operating at “half efficiency” with “a staggering number of people and resources, but we were constantly self-sabotaging and wasting effort.

“This is a struggle for me,” Mr. Carmack wrote in a post on an internal forum this week. “I have a voice at the top here, so it feels like I should be able to push things forward, but I’m clearly not convincing enough.”

As the former CTO of Oculus, the virtual reality company Facebook acquired in 2014 for $2 billion, Mr. Carmack is one of the most influential voices leading the development of VR headsets. He stayed with Facebook after CEO Mark Zuckerberg decided last year to shift the company to focus on the Metaverse and rebranded Facebook as Meta.

However, while Meta is rapidly moving into what Mr. Carmack specializes in, he has at times objected to how the work is going. He is known for internal posts criticizing the decisions and direction of Mr Zuckerberg and Meta CTO Andrew Bosworth. Mr. Carmack has been working part-time at the company in recent years.

Carmack and Mehta did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Meta’s earnings were hit hard by its spending on Metaverse and slower growth in social networking and digital advertising. In July, the Silicon Valley company reported its first sales decline as a public company. Last month, Meta said it would lay off about 11,000 workers, about 13% of its workforce, the company’s largest layoff.

in a podcast interview In August, Mr Carmack said that Meta’s division that was in charge of augmented reality and virtual reality plans at the time lost $10 billion, which made him “nausea”. He added that the company’s metaverse efforts have been hampered by bureaucracy and plagued by concerns about diversity and privacy.

In other posts this year seen by The Times, Mr. Carmack criticized the capabilities of the company’s Quest virtual reality headset. In his farewell post, he praised the Quest 2 headset for being “almost exactly what I wanted to see from the start” in terms of cost and mobile hardware, though he remained critical of its software.

“We built something very close to The Right Thing,” he said.

Mr Carmack’s post said he was wrapping up his decade in VR, concluding by saying he was “tired of fighting” and would focus on his start-up. (He announced in August that his artificial intelligence company, Keen Technologies, $20 million raised.)

“VR can bring value to most people in the world, and no company is better suited to do it than Meta,” he wrote.

Prior to Meta, Mr. Carmack pioneered various techniques in computer graphics that were central to the games he developed, including Quake. He joined Oculus in 2013 as CTO and resigned in 2019 to work part-time.

mr carmack also testified this week During court hearings at the FTC’s attempt to block Meta’s acquisition of Within, the virtual reality startup behind a fitness game called Supernatural. The agency argued that if the tech giant was allowed to complete the deal, it would stifle competition in the nascent metaverse. The hearing is expected to continue next week.

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