Palmer Luckey, a founder of Oculus, now owned by Facebook, has left the company nearly two months after a federal court trial over accusations of stealing technology from ZeniMax Media to build the Oculus Rift. Earlier this year, the jury slapped a $500 million liability on Facebook towards damages, and part of the reason for that is Luckey’s violation of confidentiality.
This is not the first time Luckey is courting controversy. In 2016, it came to light that he had funded $10,000 towards a pro-Trump extreme right organization called Nimble America that promoted anti-Hillary-Clinton ‘shitpost’ memes on social media sites including Twitter, Facebook and Reddit. He later told The Daily Beast that he was Reddit’s NimbleRichMan and had used a password that was given to him by the organization’s founders.
After his recent exit from Facebook and Oculus, Tera Randall, Oculus spokesperson, issued a statement:
“Palmer will be dearly missed. His inventive spirit helped kick-start the modern VR revolution and helped build an industry.”
The terms of his exit from the social media company were not disclosed.
With Hugo Barra – the Brazilian techie who formerly worked as Google’s VP for Android and, more recently, at Xiaomi – now heading Facebook’s Oculus division, Oculus may finally be getting some direction. Facebook’s VR efforts have had a relatively lukewarm reception, primarily because of the low (but growing) number of apps for the platform.
Hopefully, Barra will be able to turn things around the way he did for Xiaomi when he launched Xiaomi Global and took the brand to 20 countries.
As for Palmer Luckey, the estimated-$700-million-worth tech icon behind the Oculus name, we can only guess at what his future plans are. There’s definitely a cloud hanging over him, but considering his skills in the VR space and the contacts he must have built over the past few years, we wouldn’t be surprised if he’s already getting offers to join the VR efforts of another company struggling to make a name in the domain of alternative reality.
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