In yet another setback for the social networking giant’s Virtual Reality (VR) dream, Nate Mitchell, Co-founder of Facebook-acquired VR firm Oculus has stepped down.
“Some bittersweet news to share. After 7 incredible years at Oculus / Facebook, I’m moving on. It’s been a privilege to be a part of the VR community, and I can’t wait to see what comes next,” Mitchell said in Reddit, Tuesday.
Mitchell was the head of VR products at Facebook which acquired Oculus for $3 billion in 2014.
As the years went by, it was the company that Fb slowly absorbed to realize Mark’s AR and VR dreams. And today, with Nate Mitchell announcing his departure from Facebook, the last of the Oculus founders has moved on.
While the Rift emerged from Palmer Luckey’s endless tinkering, Oculus VR, wasn’t one person, but five. The first to head out was Andrew Riesse, who died tragically in 2013. Then, after Facebook’s acquisition and some organizational reshuffling, went the others: Luckey left in 2017, pushed out after controversy; original CEO Brendan Iribe, who had stepped down amid an organizational shake-up to head the company’s PC VR division, left last year, as did chief software architect Michael Antonov, who moved to a different division within Facebook. That left Mitchell, who had been with the company as VP of the product since its inception (and who had begun his career interning for Iribe at Scaleform).
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“There are a lot of fundamental issues that remain unsolved with VR gaming,” the Oculus Co-founder was quoted as saying.
Facebook announced a VR headset called “Oculus Go” at a starting price of $199 in October 2017.
The $199 Oculus Go has sold a little more than 2 million units, according to market research firm SuperData. The “Oculus Quest”, this year has sold 1.1m units while the Oculus Rift has sold 547k units.
Facebook recently unveiled “Oculus Rift S”, a new version of its PC headset Oculus Rift, for $399.
Finally, Facebook will be conducting an internal and external search to find Mitchell’s replacement. While the company had no official comment on Mitchell’s announcement, some of its other execs commented on his Facebook post. “Nate thank you for all you’ve done for VR and FB,” wrote Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer. “Was and is an amazing ride and blast working with you. THANK YOU! Hope you get some well-deserved rest and I can’t wait to see what you do next!”
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