Brendan Iribe Steps Down as Oculus CEO; Will Lead PC VR Group
The Facebook-owned virtual reality firm has formed new PC and mobile VR groups.
Brendan Iribe is stepping down as CEO of Oculus to lead its newly created PC VR group. Meanwhile, the search is on for a next head of Oculus, maker of the Rift virtual reality system, which Facebook acquired for $2 billion in 2014.
The move is part of a restructuring, with Iribe described in an Oculus blog post on Tuesday. “Facebook is committed to working on VR for the long term, which means building the next great computing platform that allows people to experience anything with anyone and connects the world in bold new ways," he wrote. "Changing the world on that scale has required us to also scale Oculus at warp speed. With our growth and product strategy, we’ve decided to establish new PC and mobile VR groups to be more focused, strengthen development and accelerate our roadmap.”
Jon Thomason, who recently joined Oculus as head of software, will lead the mobile VR group.
“Together we’ll work with Mike Schroepfer, CTO of Facebook, to find a new leader for the Oculus team,” Iribe wrote, raising questions as to who would be next to lead the company. An Oculus spokeswoman confirms that the company will hire a new leader for the Oculus team, though that person will not hold the title of CEO.
There was no mention in the blog post of Oculus founder Palmer Luckey, who has been out of the spotlight for the last few months, since several developers that work in the VR industry said they would pull their support of the Rift after learning that Luckey had contributed funding to a group of Donald Trump supporters behind anti-Hillary Clinton memes; Luckey has since apologized. The spokeswoman says Luckey continues to work at Oculus.
Last spring, Oculus released the Rift, a $599 VR system that requires a supported computer to operate. Earlier this month, the company shipped the related Touch hand controller. Oculus also worked with Samsung on Samsung VR Gear, a $99 VR system that operates with certain models of Samsung smartphones.
“We’ll continue investing deeply in research and development in computer vision, displays, optics, graphics, audio, input, and more to create the breakthroughs that will unlock new form factors and experiences," Iribe asserted in Tuesday's blog post. "We’re going to move faster at solving the grand challenges of virtual reality. We’re going to push VR far beyond the boundary of what’s possible today."