Doom creator and Oculus developer John Carmack has expressed skepticism over Facebook’s transition into the metaverse, calling it a “honeypot trap for architecture astronauts” at a Facebook Connect keyboard address.
Last week, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company would be rebranding as Meta to build a virtual reality and augmented reality universe called the metaverse. However, Carmack, who serves Oculus’ consulting chief technology officer, expressed skepticism of the endeavor despite his support for Zuckerberg’s vision.
“But that leaves many people pretty surprised to find out that 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,” Carmack said at the Facebook Connect event on Monday, which was uploaded to YouTube.
“I want it to exist, but 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,” Carmack continued.
Describing it as a “honeypot trap for architecture astronauts,” Carmack described the term as a “chidingly pejorative term for a class of programmers or designers who only want to talk about things from the highest level.”
The father of Doom, Quake, and whose code is a part of numerous video game engines, said that these high-minded individuals only want to talk about the metaverse in broad concepts but fail to comprehend the difficulty of creating such a platform.
“I just want to tear my hair out at that because that’s so not the things that are actually important when you’re building something,” Carmack said, explaining that it is easy to come up with great ideas even when you don’t have the means to execute them.
“But here we are. Mark Zuckerberg has decided that now’s the time to build the metaverse,” Carmack continued. “So enormous wheels are turning and resources are flowing. The efforts definitely going to be made, so the big challenge now is to try to take all of this energy and make sure it goes to something positive and we’re able to build something that has real near-term user value.”
Carmack is right: it’s one thing to build a product, but it’s another to make a product that’s both attractive and accessible to the public. The idea that “if you build it, they will come” does not bear even a passing resemblance to reality.
“Because my worry is that we could spend years and thousands of people possibly, and wind up with things that didn’t contribute all that much to the ways people are actually using the devices and hardware today,” warned Carmack.