Oculus CEO steps down in amaze move , no replacement announced

Former Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe is now head of the company’s PC division .
Image: AP Photo/ Eric Risberg

Just days after Oculus released the Oculus Touch to rave reviews, Oculus cofounder and CEO, Brendan Iribe, has announced that he’s stepping down.

“You do your best run when you love what youre working on, ” said Iribe. “If thats absolutely no truth to the rumors, you need to make a change.”

Iribe revealed the sudden change on the company’s blog on Tuesday.

“Changing the world has required us to also scale Oculus at warp speed, ” said Iribe. “With our growth and product strategy, weve decided to establish new PC and mobile VR groups to be more focused, strengthen developing and accelerate our roadmap.”

Then he fell the big news that effectively sets Oculus in limbo in terms of leadership.

“Looking ahead and thinking about where Im most passionate, Ive decided to lead the PC VR group pushing the nation of VR forward with Rift, research and computer vision, ” said Iribe. “As weve grown, I genuinely missed the deep, day-to-day involvement in constructing a brand new product on the leading edge of technology.”

Leading the mobile division will be Jon Thomason, who recently joined the company.

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The major change arrives at a particularly inopportune period as the company is still reeling from the politically-charged dispute suffers from cofounder Palmer Luckey back in September. Following the uproar, a number of VR developers vowed to stop developing for the Oculus platform and the usually media-friendly Luckey ran silent, leaving Iribe to be the sole public-facing voice of the company.

In his blog post, Iribe says he plans to work with Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer to find his replacing, but his sudden, somewhat unusual end-of-year exit from the company’s top position is sure to stir some rumblings about the company’s future.

When contacted by Mashable , Oculus declined to offer additional clarification considering Iribe’s move beyond his blog post.

“Looking ahead and thinking about where Im most passionate, Ive decided to lead the PC VR group.”

Nevertheless, aside from the circumstances around Iribe’s sudden exit from the top slot, the announcement of Oculus’ split into a PC and a mobile division may actually is all very well news. At least on an organizational level, it hints that Facebook may have recognized the enthusiasm the missing Touch controllers have added the community of dedicated and new Oculus Rift users.

By focusing separate squads on PC and mobile, it means that Oculus is not only competing immediately with the HTC Vive and Playstation VR, but it may be preparing to tackle the low-end mobile VR space currently dominated by Samsung Gear VR and now Google Daydream.

Facebook prioritizes mobile across its array of products, so now that the core Oculus product has found its footing, it seems only natural to move into the next area of growth, Oculus mobile.

Still, crafting the future of Oculus in a space that becomes more competitive with each passing day will be a difficult task for whomever ultimately lands in the position. In the meantime, it’s likely that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, one of the biggest VR fans in tech, will maintain things steady until the right person is installed at Oculus.

BONUS: Oculus Rift Review: ‘Time will move by without you realizing it’

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