Ocoulus VR co-founder Brendan Iribe has announced that he is to leave the Facebook-owned company, with anonymous sources suggesting his departure is related to the company's as-yet unconfirmed decision to cancel its upcoming Oculus Rift 2 tethered virtual reality headset in favour of the Oculus Quest all-in-one version.

Acquired by Facebook in 2014 following a highly-successful crowdfunding initiative to release developer-focused virtual reality hardware, Oculus VR's latest announcement was the fully-standalone Oculus Quest headset, which builds mobile-centric gaming hardware directly into the device to reduce the overall cost and rid the user of the wires that would otherwise tether them to a high-end gaming PC. While such initiatives, which follow the lower-specification Oculus Go and the Samsung-partnered Gear VR, rumour has it that at least one staff member is unimpressed enough to quit: Co-founder Brendan Iribe.

Announced on his personal Facebook page, Iribe's departure was framed as 'time to recharge, reflect and be creative,' but sources speaking to Techcrunch claim that there's another reason behind the exit: The cancellation, not yet confirmed nor outright denied by Facebook, of the higher-specification PC-tethered Oculus Rift 2 virtual reality headset for which Iribe was project lead.

Responding to Techcrunch's report, a Facebook spokesperson refused to deny that the Rift 2 project had been cancelled but stated that the company 'can confirm that we are planning for a future version of Rift,' while Oculus VR co-founder Nate Mitchell tweeted that 'we're still driving forward on the Rift/PC platform with new hardware, software, and content.' Another rumour claiming that high-profile Oculus VR staff members would be following Iribe out of the door as soon as the Oculus Quest shipped would appear to have been shot down, with Carmack stating via Twitter that 'I do intend to stay at Facebook past the launch of Oculus Quest.'

Whether the Rift 2 project is dead, though, it's clear that the Oculus VR team is refocusing it efforts: The company has emailed users of its video on demand service, which provides immersive VR-compatible video content, to state it is shutting down, as 'while people love to stream immersive media on other devices, Rift is used primarily for gaming.'

Controversial Oculus VR co-founder Palmer Luckey, who was accused by VR company Total Recall of having worked on what would become Oculus Rift while under contract with the company in a suit dismissed following disagreements between Total Recall's founders, left the company back in March 2017.

UPDATE 1700:

Facebook has supplied a statement confirming that it continues to work on PC-tethered virtual reality, despite Iribe's departure. 'We are planning a future version of Rift. You may remember Mark saying this at OC5 [Oculus Connect 5]: "… when we release the next version of Rift - which isn't this year - all of the content that works for Rift will also work on the next version,"' the Facebook spokesperson explains. 'So while we aren’t quite ready to talk about the next version of Rift, PC VR is still a category we are investing in. It's still a part of our strategy – we’re continuing work across product and content and you’ll see this manifest next year. Additionally, Nate [Mitchell] continues to lead the Rift/PC team and there are no changes there.'


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