John Carmack stepping down as CTO of Oculus to work on AI

The chief technology officer of Oculus, Facebook’s VR subsidiary, is stepping down this week, he posted on Facebook today. John Carmack, who was the lead programmer on Doom and who put the Oculus Rift on the map in 2012, says he plans to focus his time instead on artificial intelligence.

Carmack will remain in a “consulting CTO” position at Oculus, where he will “still have a voice” in the development work at the company, he wrote.

Carmack joined Oculus as CTO in 2013, leaving id Software, the maker of Doom, which he’d co-founded. In March 2014, Facebook announced it would acquire Oculus. In May 2014, ZeniMax Media, id’s parent company, sued Oculus, alleging that misappropriated trade secrets were used to build development tools for the Oculus Rift. The two companies settled last December.

Recent comments from Carmack suggest he may have soured on VR. Carmack was a champion of phone-based VR for years at Oculus, but in October, he delivered a “eulogy” for Oculus’ phone-based Gear VR. And in a video for receiving a lifetime achievement award this week at the VR Awards, he said that “I really haven’t been satisfied with the pace of progress that we’ve been making” in VR.

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