It turns out that Doom co-creator John Carmack is more than just a virtual reality fanatic -- he's joining the company that's leading the most recent VR revolution, today announcing that he's taking the reins as Chief Technology Officer at Oculus Rift. In an email from the folks at Oculus, Carmack was confirmed to be out at the company he helped found -- id Software -- and joining Oculus full-time as CTO. He will apparently still serve some role at id, as id's parent company told Engadget, "The technical leadership he provides for games in development at id Software is unaffected." We've asked both Oculus and id's parent company for clarification.
Carmack said in a prepared statement that the first time he wrote code for Oculus, it stood up to many firsts he's experienced in modern gaming: "the intensity of the first-person experience, LAN and internet play, game mods and so on." Additionally, he believes VR "will have a huge impact in the coming years" -- Carmack is the first announced big new hire at Oculus. CEO Brendan Iribe said in the announcement PR that Oculus is, "putting together a team of the brightest minds." Carmack, as it turns out, was at the very top of Oculus' list.
Carmack got his hands on the Oculus Rift dev kit headset far earlier than most, spotting creator Palmer Luckey's still nascent creation in a VR forum online. After getting in touch, Carmack asked Luckey if he could check out a prototype, which led to Carmack showing off a ported version of Doom 3 at E3; Doom 3's Oculus Rift version was supposed to ship with initial dev units, though that was later called off. Carmack also runs a rocket building company named Armadillo Aerospace, which he recently characterized as "in hibernation."
Update: Bethesda Softworks (parent company to id Software) responded with the following statement to today's news: "John has long been interested in the work at Oculus VR and wishes to spend time on that project. The technical leadership he provides for games in development at id Software is unaffected." We've followed up for clarification as to what that means for Carmack's efforts at id. In the note from Oculus, Carmack is said to be heading up and working out of newly created Dallas offices for Oculus.
Update 2: Carmack tweeted a bit of clarity to his new role at Oculus among his other jobs, saying, "My time division is now Oculus over Id over Armadillo. Busy busy busy!"
Update 3: Oculus offered yet another statement, this time saying, "John is working full-time Oculus. He is fully-engaged at Oculus as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO). As you can guess from the title, CTO is never part time, it is a full time gig. John's role at id is between John and id."
Update 4: And finally (we think), id's parent company Bethesda Softworks offered this final statement, "He's still going to be working at id, in id's offices."