Today Oculus announced that CEO Brendan Iribe, who has served as one of the faces of the company in both the lead-up to and months following the Rift launch, is stepping down from his position. Iribe is instead taking a role leading a PC virtual reality group within Oculus.
In a statement posted on the Oculus blog, Iribe says he’s looking forward to getting back into the day-to-day operations. “Looking ahead and thinking about where I’m most passionate, I’ve decided to lead the PC VR group—pushing the state of VR forward with Rift, research and computer vision,” he said. “You do your best work when you love what you’re working on. If that’s not the case, you need to make a change. With this new role, I can dive back into engineering and product development. That’s what gets me up every day, inspired to run to work.”
According to the statement, recent addition to the Oculus team Jon Thomason will head up the mobile VR division, which includes work on standalone VR projects, and the company is working with Facebook to find a new leader for Oculus. In addition, Chief technology officer John Carmack will continue in his role focused on mobile work.
“Our partnership with Samsung Gear VR also doesn’t change,” an Oculus spokesperson told Game Informer. “Moving the teams to these new groups is going to strengthen our focus and investment in both PC and mobile VR.”
In addition, the spokesperson confirmed to Game Informer that Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus who has disappeared from the public eye following news that he had been funding online political trolling organizations under an alias, is also taking on a new role. Luckey has been touted has the inventor of modern VR, but ZeniMax has alleged that he and Carmack lifted the technology from them and crafted a story about how he invented it in his parents’ garage. According to the spokesperson, the company will provide more information on his new role soon.
It’s good that Iribie is getting back to the kind of work that made him get into this industry in the first place. It’s not unusual for the leaders of a company to move to new roles once they launch their big product. It’s also no secret that VR is still struggling to find solid footing after its official launch this year, so a shake-up is not surprising.