Oculus VR co-founder Brendan Iribe has announced he's leaving Facebook, marking another major exit from the company and another notable Oculus name to walk.
Iribe announced his departure in a Facebook post , where he wrote he was "deeply proud and grateful" for all the work the team had accomplished. Iribe founded Oculus VR with Palmer Luckey, Michael Antonov and Nate Mitchell in 2012, before it was bought by Facebook, so his exit is significant.
But here's where the plot thickens. According to a report from TechCrunch , Iribe walked after Facebook cancelled work on the Oculus Rift 2, which would be the company's next PC-powered VR headset. TechCrunch sources said the Facebook exec team had “fundamentally different views on the future of Oculus that grew deeper over time”, and that Iribe felt it had become a "race to the bottom".
If that's the reason for Iribe's departure, the writing has been on the wall for some time; the company has moved towards more accessible, affordable products including the $199 Oculus Go and the upcoming Oculus Quest. Both of these are all-in-one headsets that don't require a PC, but both also compromise on quality.
The cancellation of the Rift 2, if true, is interesting. A Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch that PC VR is still part of the company's product roadmap, and that the work done by Iribe's team will manifest in some way in the future - but those of you holding out for a full-blown Oculus Rift 2 might want to reconsider.
The Military Is Using It. It turns out that the U.S. military is totally loving virtual reality. The Army, the Navy, and the Air Force have all used virtual reality in the past few years to train their soldiers. Keep in mind that this is not a game but a real training for some intense military action, including flying, medical training, fighting in the battlefield, and driving as well. The military is also reportedly using virtual reality in getting new recruits.
Iribe's exit comes at a bad time for Facebook at large. Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger recently walked away amidst rumors of tensions with Facebook execs. WhatsApp CEO Jan Koam also left the company this year after allegedly clashing with Facebook management over user data privacy.