24-year-old Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey is parting ways with Facebook, a move that comes just three years after he sold his company to the social media giant. The successful pioneer of mainstream virtual reality entertainment has seen his career take a significant dip in form over the last year, with the now-reclusive media personality undergoing both a political funding scandal and a court case against ZeniMax Media - a far cry from his front-page exploits that arose at the peak of his popularity.
This Friday will be the entrepreneur's last day with the company, after which Facebook will move on without him. Despite his young age, Luckey leaves behind a significant legacy: the industrious tech enthusiast had gotten his start by working on hardware in his parent's garage, befriending legendary game developer John Carmack, and campaigning a highly successful Kickstarter to get the Oculus Rift funded.
Things evidently remained on the up-and-up after that, as Palmer eventually sold his company to Facebook for a hefty $2 billion. It was a sound fiscal move, but evidently Luckey has had problems fitting into the corporate structure at Facebook.
For its part, Facebook kept the announcement of his departure notice short and succinct:
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.
Facebook representatives declined to comment on if Palmer was leaving the company on his own accord, referencing a policy that prevents them from discussing internal matters.
Palmer has mostly kept to the shadows in the months following an expose which revealed that he had been funding a trolling pro-Trump group called Nimble America, and his last public appearance occurred by court-order when he took to the witness stand in a case between Facebook and ZeniMax Media. In that instance, Palmer was forced to pay $50 million to ZeniMax Media for violating an NDA, with Oculus (and Facebook, by extension) also being ordered to give $500,000,000 in damages to ZeniMax Media.
Given that Oculus recently shuffled its executive staff in order to further assimilate itself beneath Facebook's corporate structure, Luckey's place within the company had been cast into doubt for the last few months. In tandem with his continued silence, this led many fans to doubt that his official departure came via his own terms. In any event, it's unlikely that an official confirmation will be arriving anytime soon, as his departure likely comes with a gag order.
Whatever the future holds, it's clear that Palmer Luckey did help kickstart a burgeoning virtual reality movement that has some far-reaching ramifications. Now situated as a 24 year old established entrepreneur, only time will tell if Palmer will eventually come out the shadows.