In a surprise move after the conclusion of QuakeCon which just ended this weekend, where Carmack gave his usual interesting talks about virtually everything geeks would enjoy, Carmack and Oculus have announced that he will be joining the company in the CTO role. Carmack has been a strong proponent of the Oculus’ VR headset, the Rift, which had crazy success and is seeing no sign of slowing down. However, the Oculus team suffered a great setback recently right before E3 this year with the death of their co-founder and acting CTO, Andrew Scott Reisse. That left the company scrambling to finish some of their projects for E3 like a demo that they were working on with Epic. Thankfully, Epic stepped up and provided the engineering talent and expertise to make sure everything went off without a hitch, but that was merely a temporary fix.
With the addition of a veteran like John Carmack, someone who is clearly passionate about graphics and especially passionate about VR and has already invested in it. I have faith that Carmack will not only take Oculus further than we had ever imagined before, but that we will see even more incredible stuff coming from them shortly. We’ve already seen some partner companies like Virtuix successfully launch Kickstarter campaigns that were also wildly successful VR ventures.
A picture of me playing with Oculus’ Rift combined with Virtuix’s Omni and a Maingear gaming PC
What I’m interested to see is how John’s graphical expertise will allow Oculus to expand beyond just being in PCs. As we already showed in a recent article with the Galaxy S4 at Siggraph, Oclulus’ Rift is already working with smartphones. But I would really like to see how they can tie it into tablets, smartphones, and virtually any kind of graphically capable device. With someone like John, the possibilities are basically endless and I’m excited to see how they do with him onboard now with a much more hands-on role.
John Carmack is not only an incredibly knowledgeable guy, but he’s very passionate and very well connected. If Oculus needed someone to help them make that next step forward, he is their guy. Somehow, I don’t think they’ll need to crowdfund the next version of the Rift and hopefully we’ll see a consumer version of the original Rift shortly so that people can start playing with them in their favorite games.