Eric Johnson

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Game Veteran John Carmack Joins Oculus VR as CTO

john_530_bigJohn Carmack, co-founder of Id Software and the lead programmer of classic games like Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake, is joining virtual-reality gaming startup Oculus VR as its chief technology officer.

In a message sent to its Kickstarter backers this morning, the Oculus team praised Carmack’s early interest in the company, noting that he was the first developer to integrate its virtual-reality headset, the Oculus Rift, into his game Doom 3: BFG Edition. A consumer version of the Rift hasn’t yet been officially announced, but game developers have been tinkering with the dev kit versions of the hardware for months.

Carmack will work out of a new Dallas office, “opening soon,” but according to Eurogamer he will also remain in some capacity at Id, which is owned by Bethesda Softworks. However, this tweet from Carmack’s verified account says that Id and the other company he founded, aerospace startup Armadillo Aerospace, are moving down the totem pole.

At the annual QuakeCon gaming competition — named after one of Id’s best-known games — Carmack delivers a yearly keynote speech. In this year’s speech, he praised Sony’s progress in developer-friendliness, calling the outlook of the coming next-gen race between Xbox One and PlayStation 4 “very close.”

The first version of the Oculus Rift (again, with no release date yet announced) is currently slated to only work with PCs. However, the company’s execs have repeatedly expressed interest in other platforms: “We hope to make the headset compatible with major consoles and mobile devices in the future,” according to the device’s FAQ.

That said, Carmack brings to the table some serious game-design chops. Exactly how that experience will be applied to the company as it preps its first consumer device remains to be seen.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik