Ever since Oculus launched their Kickstarter campaign for the DK1 all the way back in 2012 consumer VR has evolved at a sometimes breakneck pace. As the consumer VR industry has transitioned from from the bulky and blurry headsets of those early days to the high-res and, in the case of the Oculus Quest, wireless headsets available today there has been huge growth in both the size of the VR market and the number and types of experiences available on the platform. During that time there have been countless games and applications for VR created both by professional developers and the hobbyist community across multiple different hardware and software platforms. Some of these experiences, such as the "Welcome to Oculus" DK1 demo, have become iconic whereas others only have a small but dedicated fanbase that remembers them fondly.
Like nearly all legacy software, these programs are at risk of being lost to the digital void without preservation efforts. This threat is even more immenent for programs designed for dead hardware like Oculus Go, Google's Daydream, or Samsung's Gear VR.
That's where John Carmack wants to help.
Correct. I am still guardedly hopeful that there will be a move in an official capacity, but I will pay for third party archiving efforts myself if necessary.— John Carmack (@ID_AA_Carmack) February 9, 2021
During a Twitter thread with Verge reporter Adi Robertson and Voices of VR Podcast host Kent Bye, gaming industry icon and early VR supporter John Carmack appeared to offer financial support towards efforts to archive these early VR programs. Sites like the Internet Arcade have made strides to back up early arcade games, and various online groups are dedicated to archiving old games and other software before they're lost to time, but there hasn't yet been a similar effort to do the same for VR programs.
Although it remains to be seen what form this effort will eventually take, let alone how experiences designed for hardware that no longer exists can be made to run on current and future VR devices, having the support of a powerful figure like Carmack bodes well for any attempt to create an archive of these early VR experiences.