Last Updated: June 22, 2023
Richest BusinessExecutives
Net Worth:
$50 Million
Date of Birth:
Aug 20, 1970 (53 years old)
Place of Birth:
Roeland Park
United States of America
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What is John Carmack's Net Worth and Salary?

John Carmack is an American game programmer who has a net worth of $50 million. John Carmack is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of the gaming industry and has played a significant role in shaping the landscape of interactive entertainment. He is perhaps most notable for co-founding the video game company id Software which helped create the first-person-shooter video game genre with the release of "Wolfenstein 3D" in 1992. id Software went on to have enormous success with the  "Doom" franchise.

With his groundbreaking work in 3D graphics, virtual reality, and game engines, Carmack has left an indelible mark on the world of gaming. He was the main programmer for popular games such as Rage, Doom, Quake and Commander Keen.

In 2012, John joined Oculus VR as its Chief Technology Officer. He was a key member of the development team that created the Oculus Rift headset. In March 2014, Facebook acquired Oculus for $2 billion.

Early Life

John Carmack was born in Roeland Park, Kansas, on August 20, 1970. He developed an early interest in computers and technology. As a teenager, he spent countless hours tinkering with computers, exploring programming languages, and pushing the boundaries of what was possible. His passion for creating innovative software was evident from a young age, and he quickly became known for his exceptional programming skills.

At the age of 14, he and a group of kids broke into school to steal Apple 11 computers. They broke into the building using a homemade thermite+vaseline mixture made by John. They were caught, and John was sent for psychiatric evaluation. He was sentenced to one year in a juvenile home.

id Software

In 1991, Carmack co-founded id Software along with John Romero, Tom Hall, and Adrian Carmack (no relation). The company's first major breakthrough came with the release of "Wolfenstein 3D" in 1992, a revolutionary first-person shooter that popularized the genre. Carmack's innovative programming techniques, including the development of the revolutionary "ray casting" engine, allowed for smooth, immersive gameplay and realistic 3D graphics.


Building upon the success of "Wolfenstein 3D," Carmack and the team at id Software pushed the boundaries of gaming once again with the release of "DOOM" in 1993. Considered a landmark title in the industry, "DOOM" pioneered multiplayer gaming and popularized the concept of the first-person shooter as we know it today. Carmack's programming wizardry and optimization techniques ensured that "DOOM" ran smoothly even on lower-end hardware, revolutionizing the gaming experience for millions of players worldwide.


In 1996, Carmack and his team released "Quake," which showcased his groundbreaking engine technology, known as the Quake engine. This engine introduced true 3D rendering and dynamic lighting, setting new standards for realism in video games. It also popularized online multiplayer gaming with the introduction of dedicated server support. The success of "Quake" solidified Carmack's reputation as a technical genius and cemented id Software's status as an industry leader.

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Virtual Reality and Aerospace Engineering

While continuing his work at id Software, Carmack's insatiable curiosity led him to explore other fields. In the early 2000s, he became increasingly interested in virtual reality (VR) and its potential for immersive experiences. In 2012, he joined Oculus VR as its Chief Technology Officer, where he played a vital role in the development of the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset that gained widespread acclaim for its innovative design and immersive capabilities.

Parallel to his VR endeavors, Carmack has also delved into the field of aerospace engineering. In 2013, he joined the aerospace company Armadillo Aerospace as its Chief Technology Officer. His passion for space exploration led him to work on projects aimed at developing reusable rocket technologies and advancing the commercial space industry.

Acquisitions and Lawsuits

In June 2009 ZeniMax Media acquired id Software for $150 million. It's estimated that John owned 1/3 of id Software at the time of the sale, which would have translated into a $50 million pre-tax windfall. Though it should be noted that in 2017 John sued ZeniMax claiming that the company refused to pay him $22.5 million owed from the sale of id Software. In October 2018, John announced that ZeniMax had "fully satisfied their obligations".

In 2013 Carmack was named CTO of Oculus VR. A month later he resigned from id Software. In March 2014, Facebook acquired Oculus for $2 billion. ZeniMax would later sue Oculus and Facebook, alleging that Oculus Rift was the product of intellectual property developed by Carmack and therefore owned by ZeniMax. Facebook was ultimately ordered to pay ZeniMax $500 million.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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