Palmer Luckey, co-founder of Oculus virtual reality, gave his old employers at Oculus and Facebook a huge middle finger this week by donating thousands of dollars to a VR project that makes Oculus-exclusive VR games playable on its competitor’s VR device, the HTC Vive.
The creator behind Revive, a pet project aimed at breaking down exclusivity barriers for VR systems, confirmed Thursday that the big jump in donations per month on his Patreon came from Luckey.
As some of you suspected the sudden extreme jump in the pledge amount is indeed by Palmer Luckey. I’d like to thank him for his pledge and everything he has done for the VR community as a whole.
Luckey parted ways with Oculus and Facebook in March following the revelation that he was a Donald Trump supporter and had previously said some negative things about Hillary Clinton. He later denied this after his departure.
With his $2,000 a month donation, Luckey is undoubtedly attempting to get back at Oculus and Facebook by ensuring people won’t need to buy an Oculus Rift VR headset in order to play Oculus-exclusive games, thereby cutting into the company’s profits.
Luckey co-founded Oculus in 2009, funding what became the first widely successful VR headset through Kickstarter. After Oculus successfully created and shipped the Rift headset, the company was acquired by Facebook in 2014.
Before Luckey and Oculus split, Revive was already a successful application, allowing people who bought Oculus-only games to play them on the Vive. Oculus put a stop to Revive’s workaround in May last year, and then reversed that decision after public outcry pointing at Luckey’s own previous statement: “If customers buy a game from us, I dont care if they mod it to run on whatever they want.”
The idea of platform-exclusive games isn’t anything new in the gaming world, but Luckey’s previous statement made players hopeful that VR wouldn’t go the way of traditional gaming consoles with their exclusive publisher deals. It looks like Luckey is trying to keep that idea alive while simultaneously patting himself on the back for taking a dig at Facebook and Oculus.