Oculus faces developer backlash over founder’s politics
Politics and technology should not mix. Yet, Palmer Luckey did. And developers don’t like it much, so they’ve decided to vote with their feet.
Luckey, the founder of Oculus, is known for more than just his awfully-off “ballpark” estimate for a PC-powered virtual reality headset — he’s also known as NimbleRichMan on Reddit, using his vast wealth accumulated from when Facebook bought his company in 2014 to support a pro-Donald Trump social campaign focused on memes and “shitposting.”
The Daily Beast reported that not only did Luckey fund a non-profit group called Nimble America that disparaged presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and support her rival Donald Trump, but the executive was also vice president of the group.
Luckey confessed to the Beast that he posted and has stood behind pro-Trump statements and the following one concerning his financially rich self supporting grassroots groups:
The American Revolution was funded by wealthy individuals. The same has been true of many movements for freedom in history. You can’t fight the American elite without serious firepower. They will outspend you and destroy you by any and all means.
“Money is not my issue. I thought it sounded like a real jolly good time,” Luckey said.
That jolly good time was manifest in a $10,000 donation to Nimble America, part of which went to funding a digital billboard display near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, showing off a graphical caricature of Clinton next to the words “Too big to jail”.
It is unclear whether Luckey is employed by Facebook, which, as previously said, owns and operates Oculus VR.
Tom’s Guide is reporting that several games developers are threatening to discontinue support for the Oculus VR.
Polytron already has. The group that came out with “Fez,” stated on Pastebin that it has cancelled development of “SUPERHYPERCUBE” for the Rift because of Luckey’s political involvement.
“In a political climate as fragile and horrifying as this one, we cannot tacitly endorse these actions by supporting Luckey or his platform,” the group said.
Tomorrow Today Labs, which is working on a free developer tool called NewtonVR, tweeted that the tool would not be available for Oculus Touch developers.
— Tomorrow Today Labs (@TTLabsVR) September 23, 2016
Small developer Scruta Games also voiced dissent.
It’s not about “politics”, it’s about the face of a company financially backing racist trolls. He is free to vote for whoever he pleases.
— Scruta Games (@ScrutaGames) September 23, 2016
Luckey has since posted an apology to his Facebook page, stating to the contrary of his communications with The Daily Beast that he did not write posts under the NimbleRichMan Reddit account nor is he an employee of Nimble America.
It turns out that even the hardcore technology space can’t be apolitical this election cycle.