John Carmack left ID SOFTWARE because they were like “NOPE” to Oculus Rift development

John Carmack.

John Carmack, the coding genius/nightmare behind Quake and Doom left id Software last year. While most thought it was because he wanted to roll much deeper with the Oculus Rift, there’s a bit more to the story. Specifically, he was all “let’s like partner the fuck up! with Oculus” and the parent company ZeniMax was like “naw, bruh.”

John Carmack departed id Software last fall to work full-time on virtual reality technology at Oculus VR, and he left the company he co-founded because he couldn’t work on VR there, he said in a recent interview with USA Today.

Carmack originally joined Oculus VR in August 2013 as chief technical officer. At the time he said he would also remain at id, with plans to split his time between id and the company behind the Rift headset. But he resigned from id completely in November, saying that “the divided focus was challenging” and that his departure was “probably for the best.”

It now appears that that’s not the full story. Carmack told USA Today that before he joined Oculus, he proposed a deal to Oculus and ZeniMax Media, id’s parent company, that would have brought future ZeniMax games — such as the upcoming MachineGames title Wolfenstein: The New Order and eventually, id’s Doom 4 — to the Rift.

“It would have been a huge win,” said Carmack, adding that he would likely have stayed at id and kept working there and at Oculus if an arrangement had been worked out. “It seemed like a sensible plan for me.”

But the companies couldn’t come to an agreement, which “made me really sad,” said Carmack. “When it became clear that I wasn’t going to have the opportunity to do any work on VR while at id Software, I decided to not renew my contract.”


Honestly — I hope this move reinvigorates Carmack. While he is an assured fucking icon in the industry, he hasn’t really done a goddamn thing in the last decade that I’ve given a fuck about. Maybe virtual reality will transport him to another world (pun!) where he gets his groove back.