John Carmack expresses optimism and concern over Facebook/Oculus deal

By Ozzie Mejia, Mar 31, 2014 1:30pm PDT

Oculus chief technology officer John Carmack has spoken out about Facebook's acquisition of Oculus VR. The former id studio founder addressed the 'self-focused' and 'short-sighted' concerns raised following the sale, while also speaking out about his own concerns. His main one being that the sale takes away from what Oculus could have ultimately become as a standalone company, while also sending a message that startup tech companies will aim for the goal of acquisition over innovation.

"Instead of Oculus being their own specialized operation that could create it’s own goals and emergent desires, we now have a massive cultural force whose energy is being funneled (along with many others) to a singular entity who’s goals and desires have been long-since determined," Carmack said on Tumblr (via his own Twitter account). "The internet emerged a model of social capitalism where niche businesses can operate and grow naturally with a set audience, and then blast past them to wild proportions when a truly transcendent product is delivered. It may be a personal grievance, but the all-to-the-top approach this represents sits poorly with me. Cultural evolution is the most important thing in the age of information, good ideas can and should change paradigms. It is deeply upsetting to watch independently operating forces that create life-changing innovations get sucked into the old system just as they reach potential to break a standard model."

Carmack's thoughts extended to user comments, expressing initial skepticism with the Facebook sale. However, he does express confidence that the company will see Oculus' vision through.

"Honestly, I wasn't expecting Facebook (or this soon)," Carmack added. "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."

Facebook purchased Oculus a week ago for $2 billion in cash, stock, and incentives. The company has expressed interest in Oculus remaining on its current path, as well as using their technology for other pursuits outside of gaming.

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