John Carmack, chief technical officer of Oculus and founder of Doom developer id Software, has been given the lifetime achievement award at this year’s VR Awards. Except he doesn’t seem too thrilled about it.
In his video acceptance for the award, shared by UploadVR, he explained that, while he was happy to be the recipient of this year’s award, he doesn’t feel as if he’s done enough to deserve it. He argues that VR isn’t developing rapidly enough for him to feel satisfied with his work, and that he isn’t sure it’s provided ‘user value’ quite yet.
Carmack joined Oculus in 2013, helping founder Palmer Luckey develop the first first Oculus Rift models. A few months later he quit his role at id to join Oculus full time, which was infamously the central contention in a lawsuit between id’s parent company ZeniMax Media and Oculus and its then-new parent company, Facebook.
ZeniMax argued that Oculus, through Carmack, had stolen intellectual property relating to virtual reality, as he was still working for Zenimax at the same time he was helping develop Oculus. While Carmack himself was found to not be liable for this, Oculus itself was found to have violated non-disclosure agreements with ZeniMax.
Alongside the core Oculus products, Carmack has also been a regular figurehead in mobile-based VR solutions. He was famously critical of Samsung’s Gear VR, it being somewhat of a predecessor to the Oculus Go, but was more supportive of Google’s Daydream project. Both the Gear VR and Daydream have now been abandoned, so whether Carmack will push further for a mobile-based VR future or focus on wireless options like the Oculus Go and Quest has yet to be seen.
Carmack is the first recipient of this award, fully titled the Accenture VR Lifetime Achievement Award. Other winners at the awards included the Oculus Quest for VR Hardware of the year, A Fisherman’s Tale for VR Game of the Year, the Vader Immortal series for VR Experience of the Year (although I’m confused as to how it isn’t a game), and Fable Studio as Rising VR Company of the Year.