Despite parting ways with the company in 2017, Oculus Rift inventor Palmer Luckey still insists that Facebook buying Oculus was “the best thing that’s ever happened to the VR industry.”
Luckey said as much in a recent interview with Wired. The 26-year-old left Facebook in March 2017 following a controversial story that alleged he had helped fund a political smear campaign during the 2016 Presidential Election. All of that seemingly hasn’t changed his outlook on the industry.
“It was the best thing that’s ever happened to the VR industry,” he replied when asked if he regretted selling Oculus to Facebook. “It drove billions of dollars in investment into other startups.”
Facebook bought Oculus in early 2014 for an initial sum of over $2 billion that’s now thought to be closer to $3 billion. Under Facebook, Oculus launched the Rift headset for PC users and, earlier this year, a standalone device named Oculus Go. When asked if he wished he still ran Oculus, Luckey simply replied: “I want what’s best for virtual reality.”
A short while before he left Facebook, Luckey also became a central figure in a widely-publicized legal battle with ZeniMax Media, which claimed Oculus had stolen its own technology when John Carmack, previously of the ZeniMax-owned id Software and now Oculus CTO, collaborated with the company in its early days. Facebook was recently able to halve the $500 million payout it was ordered to give.
Elsewhere in the interview, Luckey refuted the idea that price was the main reason VR sales had not taken off over the past few years. “A lot of people insist on price, but if the VR available today were as good as The Matrix, price wouldn’t be the issue,” he said. “It’s going to be a combination of better software and better hardware. Right now free isn’t cheap enough for most people.”
Since leaving Oculus Luckey has started a new company named Anduril that develops defensive technology, including surveillance equipment for the US border. Last month we also reported that he was working on a solution for VR sim sickness.