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Oculus CTO John Carmack stepping down to become a 'Victorian gentleman scientist'

Carmack says he's transitioning to the role of "consulting CTO" at Oculus.

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John Carmack says he's transitioning to the role of "consulting CTO" at Oculus.

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John Carmack, the video game legend behind Facebook's VR push, is stepping down as chief technology officer at Oculus. He announced the move Wednesday afternoon, saying he'd transition to the role of "consulting CTO" at Oculus.

"I will still have a voice in the development work, but it will only be consuming a modest slice of my time," Carmack wrote in a Facebook post.

Carmack said he's leaving the position so he can devote his attention to "artificial general intelligence," adding that it's something he's long wanted to pursue and wanted to get on it "before I get too old."

"For the time being at least, I am going to be going about it 'Victorian Gentleman Scientist' style, pursuing my inquiries from home, and drafting my son into the work," Carmack wrote.

Carmack was a co-founder of Id Software, a game development studio that revolutionized the first-person shooter with video games Doom and Quake. ZeniMax bought Id Software in 2009, and Carmack left ZeniMax to take the position of Oculus CTO in August 2013.

Facebook purchased Oculus in 2014 for more than $2 billion. The social network envisions a future in which people will share important moments like their baby's first steps in a way that makes it feel like you're there in person.

But Facebook's efforts to make virtual reality mainstream have been bumpy. Oculus has faced shipping delays of its VR headsets, accusations of intellectual property theft from Zenimax, the ousting of founder Palmer Luckey after revelations surfaced he donated to a pro-Trump group, and a string of executive departures.

Facebook declined to comment on Carmack's move.