John Carmack, CTO of Facebook Reality Labs, says he is “embarrassed” that Facebook is offering social VR for Oculus headsets amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In his talk on Facebook Connect on Wednesday, Carmack addressed the problems Facebook had in keeping the Oculus Quest headset in stock this year, even before the pandemic began. But he went a step further and expressed disappointment at the company’s lack of social apps that could have helped friends and family meet in VR when they couldn’t see each other in real life.
“But worse, all of our social experiences have basically been killed or made obsolete,” Carmack began. “We had rooms, rooms, co-watching and all of these are gone. The venues were in maintenance mode the entire time. So we made this big bet on Horizon, and all of these people worked on it, and you are finally seeing some of the fruits of that with Venues 2.0.
“But basically we weren’t ready.”
As Carmack alluded to, Facebook’s previous social VR endeavors like Oculus Rooms, where users could meet to watch TV and play board games. or Spaces, an app where Facebook friends used to hang out, has disappeared. Facebook Horizon was introduced last year at Oculus Connect with the promise of a beta for spring 2020, but is only now being rolled out to a limited number of users.
“We had made all of this effort,” continued Carmack. “We had more or less left the previous products to rot, or let them go away, and I pitched, ‘Well, can’t we just revive the rooms for this time? ‘Here rooms for the pandemic. “
However, according to Carmack, Facebook wasn’t interested in the idea while it was working on new social VR offerings.
“We could have let it go, but basically nobody wanted to stop the planned things and everything that was already planned for that time to work on something like that. To be honest, I am kind of embarrassed about our social history here,” he said said. “But luckily the void has been filled by a lot of third parties, and I honestly envy the realizations that they come out of where we see the numbers and spend a lot of time on them.”
He concluded, adding that he expects Facebook to do those insights on its own once people get into Horizons. All in all, it’s a typically candid comment from the former full-time CTO of Oculus, who also worked part-time on the AI last year.
With today’s announcement of Oculus Quest 2, we will no doubt see Facebook pushing its social VR apps like Horizon and the newly launched venues much more heavily.
This story originally appeared on Uploadvr.com. Copyright 2020
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