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Luckey leaves Oculus, Oculus Home HD, Gear VR Motion Controller, Gear 360 2017
Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey is leaving the company he sold to Facebook a little over a year after the first Oculus Rift shipped out to customers. Facebook representatives declined to say if he left the company voluntarily or not. Palmer’s relationship with Oculus has pretty much been a rollercoaster of epic highs and lows. The initial 2012 Kickstarter for Oculus reached an unheard of at the time $2.5 million, but the subsequent sale of Oculus to Facebook for 3 Billion upset many of its Kickstarter investors. Miscommunication of the Rifts price and shipping delays also fell to Palmer as the public face of the company. In September of last year it was revealed that he donated $10,000 to the pro Trump “shitposting” group, Nimble America leading to a public apology by Palmer. After that he very much stepped out of the public spotlight most notably not appearing the at Oculus’ annual Connect conference. Since then Luckey only appeared briefly in January to testify in the Zenimax lawsuit where he was personally found liable for $50 million in damages.
What does this all mean for the future of Palmer and Virtual Reality in general? Probably not a whole lot. Virtual Reality got its biggest boost not from the technology developed by Oculus but by the sale of Oculus for billions. When a company as big as Facebook invests in new technology everyone takes notice including investors looking for the next big thing. I’m a big believer in technological inevitability and even without the boost of the Oculus purchase, it was simply the right time for VR to come to the public. The price of components and raw computing power simply came down to meet the needs of an affordable VR experience. As far as Palmer is concerned estimates place his net worth at around $700 Million so he will be fine without Oculus.
Oculus home got an update this week on the Gear VR effectively doubling its resolution. The resolution of the screen itself hasn’t changed of course but how the images and text are rendered has. Oculus CTO John Carmack called the upgrade “Cylindrical TimeWarp Layers” and described the difference as going from Standard Definition to High Definition. The difference is quite noticeable especially when reading text. Right now it is only available on the home screen of the Gear VR but will likely be used in other experiences in the future.
Samsung reveled 2 new pieces of VR Gear this week. The first is the Gear VR Motion Controller. A clear response to the Google Daydream motion controller it has all the functionality of the on the right side of the headset now plus the ability to gesture in space. Launching on April 21st packaged with a new Gear VR for $130 or available separately for $39. Second is the Gear 360 2017 a redesign of the popular Gear 360. The new camera can record up to 4k video, live stream to Facebook & YouTube Live and supports a wider range of devices including PCs and iOS. The Camera is smaller and lighter than the original with a design you can grip more naturally. No release date or price was given at this time.