Palmer Luckey and John Carmack have different opinions about Horizon OS

Palmer Luckey and John Carmack have different opinions about Horizon OS

By opening up Horizon OS, Meta is pivoting to a new strategy. Oculus veterans Palmer Luckey and John Carmack have different views on this change.


Meta announced earlier this week that it will license Quest's operating system, Meta Horizon OS, to select hardware manufacturers, allowing them to design VR headsets for specific applications.

Oculus founder Palmer Luckey welcomed the move. Opening up the platform to third-party headset makers was planned over ten years ago, Luckey told RoadtoVR, "but Facebook would later pivot Oculus hard away from it."

“I always strongly believed that Oculus should endeavor to build a technology platform that powered/supported every headset, even competitors like [HTC] Vive. […] this was always the correct strategy. Hopefully it isn’t too late.”

Former Oculus CTO John Carmack, on the other hand, is critical of the initiative. He expects that the OEM headsets will be more expensive than Meta Quest and therefore less attractive to the mainstream audience, and that Meta will have to spend valuable developer resources on the new project that would be better invested in improving the system software. In his opinion, it is the software, not the hardware, that is holding VR back.


For those interested in the background of Palmer Luckey's statement: In "The History of the Future," author Blake J. Harris describes how Luckey fought with Mark Zuckerberg over the openness of the Oculus ecosystem. So far, Zuckerberg has gone the Apple route, seeking complete control over hardware and software. In this sense, opening up Horizon OS is a turning point in Meta's strategy and Zuckerberg's response to a changing market situation.

Carmack is right when he says that OEM headsets are likely to be pricier than Quest devices. Meta was driving down the price of headsets, which other manufacturers cannot afford to do if they want to make money selling the hardware.

It remains to be seen what concessions Meta will make to hardware partners and how much effort Meta will have to put into supporting different types of headsets. But it's worth a try, especially since Meta will learn a lot about specialized VR hardware and perhaps discover new market opportunities.

Sources: RoadtoVR