Jason Rubin: Palmer Luckey ‘Didn’t Want To Be A Distraction’ At Oculus Connect

by Joe Durbin • October 6th, 2016

Oculus is a company of ups and downs. On the one hand, you have one of the most innovative, conscientious and just-plain-cool companies in the world, and on the other you have a relatively consistent series of bumps in the road.

The most recent of these stumbling blocks came when the company’s founder, 24-year-old Palmer Luckey, was connected to Nimble America — an inflammatory political organization that supports conservative candidates. The fallout of this was significant and, despite a public apology written by Luckey, the result was that he was neither present nor mentioned at his own company’s annual developer convention: Oculus Connect.

Luckey has made some sort of appearance at the show since Connect 1 in 2014. His absence on stage during the keynote, silence on social media accounts, and general lack of recognition from any of Oculus’ senior leadership in their own rhetoric, begs the question: “What happened to Palmer Luckey?”

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UploadVR put that question to Jason Rubin, the founder of Naughty Dog and the current head of content at Oculus proper, and he answered:

“Palmer did not want to be a distraction,” Rubin said.“He decided not to attend [Oculus Connect 3].” 

Rubin said the decision to skip this week’s event was 100 percent Luckey’s. He also explained that Luckey’s status at the company has not changed since the Nimble America controversy began.

“Palmer is still an employee at Oculus,” Rubin said.

Technically this also makes Luckey an employee of Facebook, which bought Oculus for $2.4 billion in 2014. Today’s keynote address was spearheaded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg; Oculus CEO, Brendan Iribe; Oculus head of platform, Nate Mitchell; Oculus chief scientist, Michael Abrash; and Rubin.

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