Oculus Founder Palmer Luckey Leaving Facebook
Luckey will part ways with the company later this week.
Palmer Luckey, the co-founder of Oculus VR and one of the most prominent faces in the virtual reality business, is leaving Oculus and parent company Facebook.
Oculus confirmed the news with GameSpot today, saying in a statement, "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."
The news was first reported by UploadVR, which said that tomorrow, March 31, will be Luckey's final day with the company.
It's currently unknown what prompted the move or whose decision it was.
This move comes after a whirlwind of a year for Luckey and Oculus, the company he sold to Facebook in 2014 for $2 billion. Luckey attracted negative attention last fall when it was discovered that he had financially supported a pro-Donald Trump political group responsible for "s***posting" anti-Hillary Clinton memes. This led to a number of developers pulling support for Oculus VR products. Luckey later apologized.
More recently, Bethesda parent company ZeniMax media was awarded $500 million as part of a lawsuit alleging that virtual reality technology it owns was stolen and used to develop the Oculus Rift. During the years-long process, ZeniMax specifically targeted Luckey, claiming that he "lacked the training, expertise, resources, or know-how to create commercially viable VR technology, his computer programming skills were rudimentary, and he relied on ZeniMax's computer program code and games to demonstrate the prototype Rift."
At this point, we don't yet know what Luckey plans to do next. His more public-facing role at Oculus had been reduced over time, particularly since last fall.
As for Oculus, former CEO Brendan Iribe stepped away from that role in December to focus on leading a group focused on PC virtual reality. In January, the company named Hugo Barra, a former executive at Chinese electronics company Xiaomi, as its new VP of virtual reality.