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Oculus CTO John Carmack Talks Immersive Technology On The Joe Rogan Podcast


The industry legend gives his thoughts about the Oculus Quest, AR, location-based entertainment, and more.

Last week industry legend and current Oculus VR CTO John Carmack sat down with stand-up comedian and podcast icon Joe Rogan for episode #1342 of the immensely popular Joe Rogan Experience podcast. For over 2 ½ hours the celebrated programmer/developer/engineer weighed in with his thoughts on a multitude of subjects. 

Topics ranged everywhere from the Oculus Quest and the future of location-based entertainment, to AR headsets, artificial intelligence, and the potential behind Elon Musk’s Neurolink project. It was a surprisingly informative conversation, during which Rogan remained uncharacteristically quiet as Carmack dove into each new topic with considerable detail; not a huge surprise considering Rogan’s famous love of the Quake, video game franchises in which Carmack served as lead programmer. 

It’s a long conversation with a lot of changing topics, so we went ahead and timestamped key discussions regarding immersive technology. Take a look at the following list and use the links to jump to key points in the podcast:

[00:34] – Rogan and Carmack waste no time diving into Oculus’ latest hardware release, the Oculus Quest. Carmack breaks down the impressive technology behind the 6DoF standalone headset, reiterating his belief that the Quest represents the future of consumer VR.  [03:02] – Rogan and Carmack discuss the benefits of location-based entertainment such as VR rollercoasters and LBE providers like The VOID, and the potential behind scent-based immersive technology. [26:04] – Carmack discusses the intense emotions that can be brought on by VR games due to increased immersion. As an example, he recalls a period of time during his work on Minecraft for the Gear VR in which he began developing memories of actually ‘being’ in the game world. [27:06] – Carmack explains the difficulties in developing high-intensity, fast-movement action games for VR platforms and the current struggles in dealing with ‘simulator sickness.’ [30:21] – Carmack breaks down the safety features behind Oculus headsets, including the Guardian boundary and Passthrough system.  [34:39] – The two discuss the possibilities of large-scale immersive experiences on the Oculus Quest and the future of free-roam VR, including the technology currently being developed at Facebook Realities.  [37:26] – Carmack shares his views on the current state of AR, including the fundamentally unsolved problems that still need to be addressed in order to popularize the technology. The CTO explains his skepticism of the technology before diving into the unfulfilled promises made by Magic Leap in regards to their Magic Leap One Creator Edition headset, as well as the success of the Microsoft HoloLens within various fields of enterprise. 

Oculus CTO John Carmack Talks Immersive Technology On The Joe Rogan Podcast 1
Image Credit: Joe Rogan Experience

[43:43] – Rogan and Carmack share their thoughts on Elon Musk’s machine-brain interface project Neurolink. Carmack goes into detail regarding his visit to the Neurolink offices a week prior to their first major Livestream this past July.  [46:48] – Carmack gives his take on Elon Musk’s concerns in regards to artificial intelligence as well as his own take on its potential impact on mankind.  [58:33] – Carmack compares similarities between Neurolink’s brain-interface RF technology and Oculus’ camera and display system.  [59:33] – Carmack recalls the early days of the VR industry, including the pop culture fascination that began to develop in the late-90’s, early-90’s as well as the technological limitations that eventually lead to its downfall. Carmack goes on to credit 2002 as the year he began looking at VR technology as a realistic platform. He would then go on to start work on the Oculus Rift alongside Palmer Lucky in 2011.  [1:03:46] – Carmack clarifies the limitations of mobile-based standalone technology, reaffirming the importance of PC-based VR headsets in regards to the future of immersive technology. [1:11:13] – Carmack discusses the impact 5g networks could have on immersive technology. [1:15:58] – Carmack explains the importance of VR technology in allowing users to escape to their preferred reality and connect with other like-minded individuals. [1:31:55] – Carmack gives his thoughts on omnidirectional treadmills, the physical benefits of VR, and the potential future of haptic feedback accessories. [1:36:31] Rogan and Carmack discuss the benefits of VR180 video and VR technology for instructional and training purposes. [1:40:40] – Rogan and Carmack explore the potential impact of VR technology on the world of esports. Carmack goes into detail about the Quest-powered Dead And Buried II VR arena experience presented at Oculus Connect 5.

Oculus CTO John Carmack Talks Immersive Technology On The Joe Rogan Podcast 2
Joe Rogan with the Oculus Quest / Image Credit: Joe Rogan Experience

John Carmack’s episode of the Joe Rogan Experience is currently sitting at 1,528,259 at the time of this writing. With Facebook’s OC6 conference just around the corner, we should soon be receiving more information on what Carmack and his team have been up to this past year.

Featured Image Credit: Joe Rogan Experience

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