Oculus founder: "Facebook is now Oculus"
Palmer Luckey started the VR hype ten years ago. Today, he develops military technology. What does he think about VR and meta these days?
The Oculus founder was kicked out of Facebook in 2017 for supporting Trump. But he quickly regained his footing.
His second start-up, Anduril, is now worth five billion US dollars, employs almost 1,000 people, and has won several billion-dollar Pentagon contracts.
Luckey's defense company develops smart border fences, anti-drone drones and a "battlefield operating system" called Lattice. The self-declared goal: to turn U.S. soldiers and allies into highly equipped "technomancers."
Armor work is "really important"
How does Luckey assess this stark turn in his career? In an interview with Wired, he confesses that he is "probably less happy" working on defense than on virtual reality.
"There are two sides to this. One, I still love VR. I had a lot of fun working on video games. I used to think about what will delight the user, what will be awesome. I guess my mind is less sunny than it used to be. Now I get to think about things like, how is my system going to work during all-out thermonuclear war as our enemies try to bombard and jam and destroy us?"
On the bright side, he said, he's working on something that "really matters." "If I was working on AR emojis, I don't think I would be able to feel that to the same degree," Luckey says.
Praise for Meta's vision
The entrepreneur continues to follow the evolution of the VR industry. Despite political disagreements: Luckey likes what Zuckerberg is doing for virtual reality. "He is the number one VR fan in the world, measured by investment and dedication. I mean, he's putting more money and more time into VR than anyone on the planet," Luckey tells Wired.
Luckey also approves of the company's strategic focus on the Metaverse. "The [Metaverse] is what I've always wanted to build. To see Meta focus on that is gratifying to me." The company may be making "some short-term tactical errors," he said, but the strategic vision is right.
His idea of the Metaverse and Zuckerberg's align "almost perfectly" because both visions have the same origins: Neal Stephenson sci-fi novel Snow Crash. "Mark is building what everyone wants," Luckey says, without outlining exactly when he means. He probably doesn't have the Niantic boss in mind, for example.
Facebook bought Oculus - Oculus absorbed Facebook
Luckey emphasizes that the Metaverse and the technology needed for it doesn't yet exist. "Everyone would agree with that, even Mark." What attracted him to Facebook and Mark was that they wanted to build the Metaverse in the fastest way possible.
Despite the ongoing Oculus dismantling, the startup continues to live into Meta's mission. "When we were acquired, people told me Oculus would be taken over and turned into Facebook. I think it's been the other way around: Facebook got taken over by Oculus, and it turned into Oculus," Luckey says.
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