The Oculus is facing extreme pressure because of founder Palmer Luckey's political actions. Several virtual reality (VR) game developers have voiced out their outrage over Luckey's politics and some have even dropped their support.
In a recent report by The Daily Beast, it was revealed that Oculus' Luckey had given $10,000 and contributed to writing for the pro-Trump group "Nimble America" on Reddit. The group is dedicated to "shitposting" and creating derogatory anti-Hillary Clinton memes. "Shitposting" is the practice of trying to disrupt online conversations by posting something that is inherently offensive and defamatory.
In his official statement, Luckey admitted to the funding but denied being the owner of Reddit pseudonym "NimbleRichMan." The Daily Beast's Gideon Resnick reacted and asserted that in an e-mail, Luckey admitted to posting. Resnick posted the interaction with Luckey on Twitter complete with the screenshots of the e-mail.
To date, Luckey insists that he was just the person behind the money but in contrast to his words, he is also listed as the vice president of the group on its website. International Business Times also reports that "Nimble America" has taken credit to the billboard allegedly posted near Pittsburgh that shows Clinton with words, "Too Big to Jail."
In the wake of the reveal of Oculus' Luckey, several VR game developers have turned away. Among the VR game developers are Tomorrow Today Labs, Scruta Games, Kokoromi, and Polytron. The Verge also reports that two Vive developers returned their Oculus hardware. Insomniac Games, one of the Oculus' most important partners, did not pull out their support but at the same time, did not justify Luckey's actions.
"Insomniac Games condemns all forms of hate speech. While everyone has a right to express his or her political opinion, the behavior and sentiments reported do not reflect the values of our company," Insomniac Games said in a statement. "We are also confident that this behavior and sentiment does not reflect the values of the many Oculus employees we work with on a daily basis."
Polytron was not so kind. The company behind high-profile PlayStation VR game "SuperHyperCube," posted on Pastebin to express their outrage.
In a political climate as fragile and horrifying as this one, we cannot tacitly endorse these actions by supporting Luckey or his platform.
"In light of this, we will not be pursuing Oculus support for our upcoming VR release, SuperHyperCube. If you are a voting citizen of the United States, please remember to register and make your voice heard this November 8th. Do not let bigotry, white supremacy, hate and fear win."
In the face of the developers' anger and Oculus' suffering partnerships, Luckey posted on Facebook that he is "deeply sorry that my actions are negatively impacting the perception of Oculus and its partners." He also further states that his actions do not represent Oculus in any way.
Although many have acknowledged that Luckey is entitled to his own political actions, the backlash stems from the fact that his support and posting in "Nimble America" gives a clear view of his principles which seems to be grounded on racism, harassment, and cyberbullying.