Frustrated virtual reality pioneer leaves Facebook’s parent

Frustrated virtual reality pioneer leaves Facebook’s parent

BERKELEY, Calif. — A prominent video game creator who helped lead Facebook‘s expansion into virtual reality has resigned from the social networking service’s corporate parent after becoming disillusioned with the way the technology is being managed.

John Cartmack severed all ties to Meta Platforms, a holding firm created by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg ,. He wrote a Friday letter in which he vented his frustrations as he worked as an executive consultant in virtual realities.

“I don’t know how to describe this, but I believe our organization is operating at half of the effectiveness that would make my happy,” Carmack wrote in a letter which he shared with Facebook. “Some will laugh and claim we are doing fine, while others will say, “Half?” Ha! I’m at quarter efficiency! ‘”

Meta, in response to a question about Carmack’s resignation, directed The Associated Press on Saturday to a tweet by Andrew Bosworth, its chief technology officer, and head of its reality laboratories, to respond to the inquiry. “It is impossible for me to overstate the impact that you have had on our work and the entire industry,” Bosworth wrote in a grateful tweet to Carmack.

Carmack’s departure comes at a time that Zuckerberg, Meta’s CEO, has been battling widespread perceptions that he has been wasting billions of dollars trying to establish the Menlo Park, California, company in the “metaverse” — an artificial world filled with avatars of real people.

While the metaverse losses are mounting, Facebook and its affiliated services like Instagram have been experiencing a decline in advertising revenue that accounts for most of the company’s revenue. Recession fears, increased competition from TikTok and tighter privacy controls on Apple’s iPhone have all contributed to the decline. These privacy controls have made it harder to track people’s interests in order to sell ads.

These challenges have caused Meta’s stock price to drop nearly two-thirds this year, wiping away about $575 million in shareholder wealth.

Although Carmack had only been working part time at Meta, the dismay that he expressed seems likely to amplify the questions looming over Zuckerberg’s efforts to become as dominant in virtual reality as Facebook has been in social networking since he started the service nearly 20 years ago while attending Harvard University.

Zuckerberg began to explore virtual reality in earnest in 2014 with Facebook’s $2 billion purchase of headset maker Oculus. Carmack was Oculus’ chief technology officer at the time and he joined Facebook shortly after the deal was closed. Carmack is best known for co-creating the video game Doom.

Federal regulators now try to limit Zuckerberg’s influence in virtual reality by preventing him from trying to buy Within Unlimited, a fitness app for the metaverse.

Carmack was one of the witnesses in a Federal Trade Commission trial that pitted Meta against Meta regarding the fate of the deal. The trial is set to resume Monday in San Jose. Zuckerberg is expected testify at some stage.

Despite his frustration at the state of Meta, Carmack wrote a glowing endorsement of its latest virtual reality headset, Quest 2, in his resignation letters. The headset was “almost exactly what” he wanted from the beginning of his Oculus tenure.

” “It is successful, successful products make the planet a better place,” Carmack stated about the Quest 2. “It could have gone a lot faster, and been better if different decisions were made, but we built something pretty close To The Right Thing. “

Carmack concluded his letter with this plea: “Maybe it is possible to get there just by plowing ahead with current practice, but there is still plenty of room for improvement. “Give a Damn!” will help you make better decisions and fill your products.

Read More