Oculus Co-founder Palmer Luckey is leaving Facebook. Luckey is the credited inventor of the Rift virtual reality headset. Facebook purchased Oculus in 2014, making Luckey a Facebook employee. According to a report at UploadVR, today is Luckey's last day on the job at Facebook.
This change comes about a year after Luckey hand-delivered the first Oculus Rift to the first customer to pre-order the VR system. Luckey and Brendan Iribe created created Oculus in June 2012 in Irvine, CA and helped herald the massive VR movement.
In the last six months, Luckey has gone from being the forerunner of the VR movement to a recluse. Just over six months ago, in September of 2016, Luckey came under fire for donating to extremist right-wing political group Nimble America which sought to damage the campaign of Presidential Candidate and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. After posting to Twitter and Facebook to apologize for how his actions affected the company he helped found and the industry he helped create, Luckey disappeared from the social media scene.
The next we saw Luckey was on the witness stand in the court of Dallas, TX in the lawsuit posed by ZeniMax Media. Luckey appeared alongside Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to due to allegations that a former ZeniMax employee and current Oculus chief technology officer, John Carmack, brought trade secrets to Oculus that allowed for the creation of the Rift. That suit was a rather ugly one and included a rather vicious smear campaign by ZeniMax to discredit Luckey. That lawsuit ended in a half-million judgement awarded to ZeniMax.
Facebook has since vowed to appeal that judgement, which will likely drag this battle on for some time to come.
Facebook's statement on his departure is as follows, "Palmer will be dearly missed. Palmer's legacy extends far beyond Oculus. His inventive spirit helped kickstart the modern VR revolution and helped build an industry. We're thankful for everything he did for Oculus and VR, and we wish him all the best." Though they remained quiet when UploadVR asked if the departure was voluntary. Given the controversies proceeding Luckey's departure, it was a fair question to ask.
Luckey is quoted as having said of VR that "It's the future. It's the Matrix." It's obvious where his legacy will lie.