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After bringing virtual reality tech to the forefront of mainstream with the help of Facebook, Palmer Luckey is now stepping away from the company and seeking to pursue endeavors elsewhere.
UploadVR did a write-up on the situation, explaining that Palmer Luckey is no longer with Facebook and he was employed up until March 31st, last Friday.
In accordance with his exodus from the company, Facebook issued a statement, saying:
The actual reasons for Palmer Luckey's departure were not revealed. Facebook has been mum on the specifics, and when UploadVR attempted to find out, they were unable to get any further answers regarding the situation.
For those of you not in the know, Palmer Luckey was the reason Oculus and the Rift even exist. Back in 2012 Palmer Luckey founded Oculus and took the Rift to Kickstarter to get the VR headset crowdfunded. Nearly 10,000 people backed the project on Kickstarter, contributing a whopping $2.4 million to help get the Oculus Rift turned into a legitimate VR product.
Luckey and the rest of Oculus struggled to get a consumer product out, but they did manage to get the DK1 and DK2 development kits finished and out to backers. In the meantime we were shown how the VR headset could be used in a variety of games using mods specifically designed to take advantage of the head-tracking abilities.
Just two years later Facebook ended up buying up Oculus for $2 billion. This took the news circuits by complete surprise, because no one expected VR to be worth that much. However, Facebook stepping in and further making Luckey's VR headset a mainstream talking point also encouraged Valve and Sony to step up their game.
During this time both Valve and Sony got serious about bringing VR to the consumer market, and we had Valve teaming with HTC to work on the HTC Vive and SteamVR. And Sony introduced the Morpheus, which would later become the PlayStation VR headset.
There were a lot of decisions made on behalf of the Oculus Rift from Facebook that many VR enthusiasts didn't agree with, especially in regard to the exclusivity deals that some felt fragmented the market. Even still, Palmer Luckey's enthusiasm and down-to-Earth approach to promoting and talking about the Rift really helped sell people on the idea of VR, even going as far as to attend Ubisoft's E3 stage press conference to play-test Eagle Flight in front of a live audience.
Some people aren't worried about Palmer Luckey moving onward from Facebook, while others say they will miss his enthusiasm and the forward thinking approach to bring VR to the masses. Regardless, of what people think, Palmer Luckey is worth $700 million, and he has plenty of funds to create just about anything he wants.