John Carmack expresses disappointment, caution in Metaverse progress

Daniel Sims

Posts: 764   +31
Staff
In brief: John Carmack is expressing some caution over Mark Zuckerberg's Metaverse ambitions once again, while still harboring hope for the overall concept. As Zuckerberg and others espouse high-concept dreams, Carmack seems focused on the nuts and bolts.

Oculus CTO, Meta "executive advisor," and legendary game developer John Carmack articulated a healthy mix of skepticism and optimism for Meta's development of VR and Metaverse applications this week. While he isn't entirely satisfied with the company's progress, he spoke positively about some advancements being made.

Carmack delivered an hour-long keynote during the recent 2022 Meta Connect Conference, explaining Meta's recent VR developments as well as his goals for VR. He started the talk by pointing out how the presentation missed some of the goals he stated last year.

At his 2021 conference keynote, Carmack said he wanted to deliver the 2022 talk on a virtual stage in front of thousands of avatars representing users watching in real-time in the metaverse. Instead, this year's presentation is just a livestreamed video of Carmack's avatar, which he considers no different than a live-action livestream.

From there, Carmack launches into a deep technical discussion of Meta's recent developments in VR hardware and software. One of his main themes is that developers should focus on what they can achieve now instead of their long-term goals.

The comments contrast interestingly with some other segments in this week's conference. Mark Zuckerberg appeared to demonstrate Meta VR avatars with legs, even though the company's current technology can't accurately track a user's legs. Eventually, Meta confirmed to UploadVR that the virtual legs in the demonstration moved so smoothly because they used motion capture, amounting to a target render. Carmack's avatar in his keynote is just a floating upper body.

Furthermore, Carmack seemed to clash with Meta's push for photorealistic avatars. While the in-development "Codec Avatars" project showed off impressively detailed virtual faces, Carmack said he'd rather focus on rendering large numbers of computationally cheap avatars using affordable hardware.

While Meta used the conference to unveil the $1,500 Meta Quest Pro, Carmack reiterated his desire to focus on increasing the number of price points at which to offer VR headsets. While the Meta Quest 2 – the most popular VR headset – recently increased its base price to $400, Carmack wants to one day offer a $250 headset. He also wants headsets to become more comfortable and easier to set up. Meta is currently prepping the Meta Quest 3 for next year, likely at a much lower price than the Quest Pro to succeed the Quest 2.

Carmack's call for a measured pace to VR and metaverse development echoes what he said last year regarding metaverse applications. Instead of immediately pushing for a generalized metaverse world, Carmack said the clear path is for the concept to emerge from an existing popular game or app, like Roblox. He likened this to his development of Doom and Quake in the 1990s, which created technology that became useful in other places.

Other people in the video game industry have expressed similar views. In February, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told the Financial Times that the challenges in developing the metaverse sound like challenges Microsoft's games already work towards solving. In March, former Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé said Fortnite and Roblox are pushing the metaverse better than Meta currently is.

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DSirius

Posts: 380   +801
TechSpot Elite
The fundamental problem of Oculus VR version 3 is the association with infamous Facebook-Meta which own Oculus.
After so many years of wrongdoings, illegal spy and manipulations, finally public do not trust Facebook-Meta at all, in fact reject them so openly, that I do not see a future for Oculus VR headset as long as is connected with infamous Facebook-Meta.
From the technicall point of view, what Meta-Facebook is presenting as VR like those hideous avatars of Zuckerberg, only drive away the public from VR, because Meta-Facebook universe is looking more like a nighmare VR.
Time will tell.
 
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terzaerian

Posts: 1,517   +2,260
You talking about Carmack? Palmer Luckey is the actual founder of Oculus who sold it.
To the best of my memory Carmack did absolutely nothing to prevent it. Even if he had no executive power he obviously has star and talent influence and he chose to embrace the sale rather than protest it.
 

DSirius

Posts: 380   +801
TechSpot Elite
Carmack's talents are honestly being wasted at Meta/Facebook/Oculus with Zuckerberg as the head. Too bad Epic Games didn't hire him for Unreal 5/6/7 development.
True, Zuckerberg's avatar quality is an acurate reflection of Zuckerberg incompetence. Anybody who is associate with it, will only loose.
P.S. I know that the article shows Carmack's avatar, and this because Zuckerberg's avatar is so ugly and bad that he had to hide it for damage control. :laughing:
 
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loki1944

Posts: 704   +526
The whole VR thing is way overblown to begin with; it is incredibly underwhelming and still a nausea fest for many. The focus on this point should be on AR; which has far more immersion potential.
 

Rocky4040

Posts: 144   +174
Thanks but no thanks. I'll do all I need to do int he real world and when I want to see someone I'll go and see them in the real world. not some darn fake world created by people that have no idea what I like or want.

That's all we need is to give people yet another excuse to blankly stare at some sort of screen for hours on end and not go and see people in the real world. next they will want to stay at home and pretend to work all day...oh wait I guess they already are trying to do that lol.
 

ScottSoapbox

Posts: 446   +810
To the best of my memory Carmack did absolutely nothing to prevent it. Even if he had no executive power he obviously has star and talent influence and he chose to embrace the sale rather than protest it.

If the owner wanted to sell, he would have only looked foolish opposing it.

Influencer actual power is vastly overblown by influencer hype.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 19,296   +8,440
Meh, IMO, "the Metaverse", won't be realistic enough until you're able to smell meta-farts in a meta-church.

Which solidifies my reason for not going to church in the first place, meta or otherwise. Thus, people wouldn't be able to say, "I;m too cheap to buy a headset", while presenting plausible deniability, for when I'm accused of being a godless heathen. My counter point could be, "I'd go to church, if y'all didn't fart so much".

OK, so granted, that was a convoluted and overly wordy fart joke. :poop: So what? Back at ya. :poop:
 
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Puiu

Posts: 5,959   +5,006
TechSpot Elite
To the best of my memory Carmack did absolutely nothing to prevent it. Even if he had no executive power he obviously has star and talent influence and he chose to embrace the sale rather than protest it.
And you would refuse an infusion of literally billions? Just because you don't like facebook? Sure...
 

DSirius

Posts: 380   +801
TechSpot Elite
Thanks but no thanks. I'll do all I need to do int he real world and when I want to see someone I'll go and see them in the real world. not some darn fake world created by people that have no idea what I like or want.

That's all we need is to give people yet another excuse to blankly stare at some sort of screen for hours on end and not go and see people in the real world. next they will want to stay at home and pretend to work all day...oh wait I guess they already are trying to do that lol.
Zuckerberg is already doing this, he pretends he is "working" to build this nighmare Meta VR.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 9,363   +8,581
Hmmmmm ..... I know I'm old, but this whole Metaverse thing seems like a big waste of time and effort .... If they want to do something noteworthy, build a system that is truly hack-proof .....
 

captaincranky

Posts: 19,296   +8,440
VR will never work for me. I wear glasses.
DSLRs have adjustable dioptric lenses built into the viewfinder, both positive and negative. That's so most people don't have to wear their glasses when taking pictures. Maybe that will be incorporated into VR headsets someday. (Assuming that's possible, and likewise assuming you care).
 

BadThad

Posts: 1,282   +1,563
Well, I can't stand wearing a VR headset for more than 10 minutes....then I rip it off and throw it against the wall. It's cool for a little pony trick and nothing more!
 

hwertz

Posts: 212   +124
What I don't understand is, every demo I've seen of the Metaverse, the graphics look bad. The avatars look rough, the backgrounds look simplistic, and it does not look even close to complete.

I wouldn't be so judgemental, except Second LIfe came out in like 2004, by the time I joined it in 2006 (I hadn't realized it was that long ago but I got a 16'th anniversary rez day notice a few days ago...) it already had better graphics than they are showing now. Since the users supply meshes, textures, and objects using them, as the power of peoples systems has increased over the years so has the graphics quality in modern areas.

It's a bit odd now, you go to an areas that is preserved like it was 15 years ago and it's like highend N64 quality (like shadows of the empire more than Mario N64...), go to an area that is up to date and it's like decent PS4 quality roughly, buildings and objects have pretty good detail, there's waves on the water and grass blowing around in the wind, the fancier avatars have individual hairs on their heads (or arms and chest as well if they're hairy enough), etc.
 

umbala

Posts: 797   +1,598
To the best of my memory Carmack did absolutely nothing to prevent it. Even if he had no executive power he obviously has star and talent influence and he chose to embrace the sale rather than protest it.
When an "evil corporation" offers a dump truck full of money to supposedly help your business most talented people will take it no matter how high a pedestal fanboys place them on. Not sure why people still worship Carmack like he's some kind of gaming God. He's a has-been as far as I'm concerned. Yeah, he made some decent games decades ago, but what has he done recently? Giving his opinion on the future of gaming and complaining about this and that not going the way he expected is not something I would consider an accomplishment.
 

umbala

Posts: 797   +1,598
Zucky thinks that VR is the next trillion dollar idea, but I can tell you with great confidence that it will NEVER be anything more than a niche product. It's going to be a novelty and nothing more. PERIOD. Carmack and the others can flap their gums all they want, this whole VR nonsense is a terrible idea. Who wants to wear a piece of hardware strapped to their face? NOBODY, that's who.

Also, like a large percentage of people I wear glasses, so it's a no go for me right off the bat. I've been wearing glasses for nearly 30 years and they weigh less than an ounce, yet they still bother me to this day. So if you want me to wear something much larger and much heavier on my face even if it's only for an hour or two a day, that is something I would never consider doing. But yeah, good luck trying to fleece people with this overpriced, useless garbage.
 

umbala

Posts: 797   +1,598
DSLRs have adjustable dioptric lenses built into the viewfinder, both positive and negative. That's so most people don't have to wear their glasses when taking pictures. Maybe that will be incorporated into VR headsets someday. (Assuming that's possible, and likewise assuming you care).
That doesn't matter. People who wear glasses (like me) don't like wearing them. So we're expected to remove our glasses and strap something 20x heaving onto our face. Yeah, sounds great.