Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus and a well-known figure in the virtual reality industry, has announced his imminent departure from Facebook.
Part of the official statement from Oculus:
“Palmer will be dearly missed,” “Palmer’s legacy extends far beyond Oculus. His inventive spirit helped kickstart the modern VR revolution and build an industry. We’re thankful for everything he did for Oculus and VR, and we wish him all the best.”
He is leaving Facebook 3 years after selling the company to Facebook for a cool $2 billion, and a year after the first delivery of a consumer Oculus Rift. There has been no specific reason mentioned, but it’s relatively easy to speculate based on a couple of events:
The recent Zenimax v. Oculus/Facebook court case kicked up a lot of dust in regards to the technology behind the Rift. Zenimax has been awarded damages, but Facebook is set to appeal the decision.
There is also the allegations of Luckey contributing to a “smear” campaign against the Clinton camp during the last US presidential elections. This, combined with his alleged heavy involvement in a radical right-wing political group named “Nimble America” has caused Luckey’s public image to suffer considerably, probably due to the inflaming nature of the presidential candidate he supports.
The two issues above has cause Luckey to essentially disappear from public view, leaving Facebook and in extension Mark Zuckerberg to essentially become the face of Oculus. Regardless of the actual cause for Luckey’s departure, it’s a hard blow to Facebook and Oculus just as VR as a consumer product is taking off.
Featured image credit Business Insider