June 30, 2017 // 11:41 a.m.
Palmer Luckey has reportedly put up a small portion of his own cash to fund development of Revive, a tool designed to allow Oculus Rift exclusives to run on the rival HTC Vive platform - a tool his former company went to some pains to fight.
Palmer Luckey shot to fame as the co-founder of Oculus VR, a virtual reality startup which broke records both for funds raised in traditional venture capital and crowdfunding. The success of the Oculus Rift Developer Kit, the first incarnation of the company's technology, drew considerable attention: major industry names like id Software co-founder John Carmack joined the company and in 2014 Facebook acquired it for $2 billion - a move which led to a series of lawsuits alleging Luckey and Carmack had breached the terms of their contracts with previous employers.
Luckey himself has been a controversial figure, donating personal funds to a right-wing political group which claimed it had 'proven shitposting is powerful and meme magic is real' with the message that 'I need your help: For the next 48 hours, I will match your donations dollar for dollar. Donate $10 and I will match you by flying my jet a minute less. Donate a hundred and I will match you by skipping a glass of scotch. Donate a thousand and I will match by putting off the tire change on my car. Am I bragging? Will people be offended? Yes, but those people already hate Donald. They cannot stand to see successful people who are proud of their success. Let’s generate some success of our own. Make America great again with your meme magic, centipedes of The Donald!'
When Luckey left Oculus VR and Facebook, it was billed as a mutual thing. 'Palmer will be dearly missed,' a Facebook spokesperson claimed in a statement following his departure. 'Palmer’s legacy extends far beyond Oculus. His inventive spirit helped kickstart the modern VR revolution and helped build an industry. We’re thankful for everything he did for Oculus and VR, and we wish him all the best.' Palmer, though, appears to wish his former company slightly less than the best: He has reportedly stumped up $2,000 to fund development of a tool designed to increase the popularity of the rival HTC Vive.
Revive is a tool which is designed to allow software written exclusively for the Oculus Rift to run on third-party devices, in particular the HTC Vive from which it gets a portion of its name. It's a tool Oculus VR has targeted before: In May 2016 the company released a patch which blocked Revive, but in doing so only encouraged its developers to produce a version which entirely bypassed Oculus' digital rights management (DRM) platform - meaning it could not only still allow Oculus exclusives to run on the HTC Vive, but also pirated Oculus titles too.
Now, Revive's development team have claimed that Palmer Luckey is responsible for a $2,000 donation to the tool's development via a note posted to the project's Patreon crowdfunding page - which, if true, is hard to read as anything other than Luckey hitting back at the company from which he was seemingly ousted. 'I'd like to thank him for his pledge,' said developer Jules Blok of the donation, 'and everything he has done for the VR community as a whole.'
Thus far, Luckey has not come forward to confirm that the donation was indeed his.