John Carmack Departs Meta Citing A Big Company That Can’t Get Out Of Its Own Way

john carmack
John Carmack, consulting CTO for Meta's virtual reality efforts, states he is leaving the company as he is "wearied of the fight." Carmack joined Oculus in 2013 as CTO, prior to its acquisition by Facebook.

The news about Carmack leaving Meta came yesterday as people familiar with the situation shared an internal message from the CTO with Business Insider. Shortly after, Carmack confirmed the news on his Facebook and Twitter accounts, sharing the full memo which began with, "This is the end of my decade in VR." Carmack has been openly critical of Meta's efforts (or lack there of) in AR and VR in the past, with his main issue being the company's efficiency.

In his memo, Carmack remarked, "We have a ridiculous amount of people and resources, but we constantly self-sabotage and squander effort." He continued saying, "There is no way to sugar coat this; I think our organization is operating at half the effectiveness that would make me happy."

quest 2 internal view
Oculus Quest 2 VR headset

Carmack addressed why he cared so much about the progress, stating, "If I am trying to sway others, I would say that an org that has only known inefficiency is ill prepared for the inevitable competition and/or belt tightening, but really, it is the more personal pain of seeing 5% GPU utilization number in production. I am offended by it."

The executive did point to some positives in his memo, such as the mobile hardware, inside-out tracking, optional PC streaming, and being cost-effective. He added that despite all his complaints, millions of people are getting value from the product. He added that Meta is "better positioned" to bring VR value to most people in the world.

In the memo, Carmack also said that "as a voice at the highest levels," he felt that he should have been able to use his influence to move things along. However, he was "evidently not persuasive enough." His admission included the fact that things he complained about only turned his was after a year or two and evidence had piled up. Carmack added, "I have never been able to kill stupid things before they cause damage, or set a direction and have a team actually stick to it."

While he stated that the situation was "admittedly self-inflicted," he ended the memo saying that the company should "Make better decisions and fill your products with 'Give a Damn'!"