Skip to content

Former Oculus CTO John Carmack 'Unconvinced' By Mixed Reality In VR Headsets

Quest 3 mixed reality - Demeo

Meta's going all in on mixed reality with Quest 3, but former Oculus CTO John Carmack remains unconvinced.

We've known for months about Meta's MR ambitions with Quest 3, and last week at Connect offered a closer look at these ambitions. But it wasn't long before Carmack, who left Meta last December and has outlined the need for "instant VR", aired concerns about the MR focus. Without mentioning Quest 3, Carmack states MR has "lots of niche training" cases but doubts mass-market potential.

Here is the full statement:

I remain unconvinced that mixed reality applications are any kind of an engine for increasing headset sales. High quality pass through is great, but I just don’t see applications built around integrating rendering with your real world environment as any kind of a killer app. I consider it interesting and challenging technology looking for a justification.
The power of VR is to replace your environment with something much better, not to hang a virtual screen in your real environment. In all the highly produced videos demonstrating the MR future, the environments are always stylish, clean, and spacious. That is not representative of the real world user base.
There is certainly some value in the efforts, but I have always thought there was much more low hanging fruit to be grabbed first.

Carmack isn't writing off MR completely, later clarifying his intent. “[I'm] talking about MR apps on todays headsets — the mythical all day wear AR glasses will be a bigger deal if they ever exist at an affordable price," the former CTO adds. He also calls passthrough "very valuable when it is instant, intuitive, and high resolution" but doesn't believe the “apps interacting with your environment" pitch has the general value needed for a short-term headset.

Connect revealed how strongly Quest 3 is pushing mixed reality. Showcasing the upcoming headset's various MR and VR games, Meta announced over "100+ new and upgraded titles" are coming to Quest 3 with over 50 previously released games receiving upgrades and MR features. You can learn more about Quest 3 with our eyes-in impressions and our full Quest 3 specs breakdown.

Quest 3 Eyes-In Impressions & Technical Analysis From Meta Connect
Read our detailed hands-on impressions of Quest 3 from Meta Connect, including the comfort, lenses, graphics, and passthrough mixed reality:

Community Discussion

Weekly Newsletter

See More