John Carmack issues some words of warning for Meta and its metaverse plans

John Carmack, seen here wearing an early prototype Oculus Rift headset.

John Carmack, seen here wearing an early prototype Oculus Rift headset.

Oculus consulting CTO John Carmack has been bullish on the idea of “the metaverse” for a long time, as he’ll be among the first to point out. But the id Software co-founder spent a good chunk of his wide-ranging Connect keynote Thursday sounding pretty skeptical of plans by the newly rebranded Meta (formerly Facebook) to actually build that metaverse.

“I really do care about [the metaverse], and I buy into the vision,” Carmack said, before quickly adding, “I have been pretty actively arguing against every single metaverse effort that we have tried to spin up internally in the company from even pre-acquisition times.” The reason for that seeming contradiction is a somewhat ironic one, as Carmack puts it: “I have pretty good reasons to believe that setting out to build the metaverse is not actually the best way to wind up with the metaverse.”

Today, Carmack said, “The most obvious path to the metaverse is that you have one single universal app, something like Roblox.” That said, Carmack added, “I doubt a single application will get to that level of taking over everything.” That’s because a single bad decision by the creators of that walled-garden metaverse can cut off too many possibilities for users and makers. “I just don’t believe that one player—one company—winds up making all the right decisions for this,” he said.

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