Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey is leaving Facebook effective Friday, the company told virtual reality news site Upload Thursday.
The 24-year-old Luckey co-founded virtual reality company Oculus, the creator of the Rift headset, before selling it to Facebook in 2014 for $2 billion in cash plus $1 billion more in retention payments and earn-outs.
“Palmer will be dearly missed,” Facebook said in its statement. “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.”
Luckey hand-delivered the first retail Oculus Rift to a customer in Alaska last March, but largely faded from the limelight after that, particularly after the Daily Beast reported in September that he had backed a pro-Trump organization called Nimble America that circulated internet memes maligning Hillary Clinton. The Beast also reported that former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos was involved with Nimble America.
After word of his involvement with pro-Trump internet postings got out, Luckey skipped the third annual Oculus Connect developer conference, which a Facebook spokesperson told Upload was a willful decision Luckey made to avoid being a “distraction.”
Earlier this year, Luckey emerged to testify at a Texas trial pitting Facebook against ZeniMax, which alleged the social networking giant stole its trade secrets. Oculus and its co-founders, including Luckey, were ordered to pay ZeniMax $500 million for copyright infringement and “false designation.”