Last week saw Oculus land in its biggest PR nightmare since it was contentiously bought by Facebook in 2014 when it emerged that company co-founder Palmer Luckey had donated $10,000 to an anti-Hillary Clinton "non-profit dedicated to shitposting in real life".
The group, called Nimble America, is dedicated to proving that "shitposting is powerful and meme magic is real". ‘Shitposting’ is the act of creating content with no value, often with an aim to be deliberately defamatory or offensive.
As a result of Luckey’s financial contribution to the group – along with his less-than PC twitter history – many developers have made the decision to abandon the platform until such time that the 24-year old steps down from his role at Oculus.
— Tomorrow Today Labs (@TTLabsVR) September 23, 2016
Tomorrow Today Labs, developer of virtual reality interraction system NewtonVR has declared it won’t support the Oculus Rift while Luckey is still involved with the company.
Scruta Games, which is currently working on a number of VR titles, has followed suit, along with Polytron (Fez), and Senscape (Asylum). In a blog post, Polytron and Kokoromi declared that they would not "tacitly endorse these actions by supporting Luckey or his platform".
The highest profile name to publicly scorn Luckey is Insomniac, developer of the Ratchet and Clank and Resistance series of games, along with the Oculus-published Edge of No Where made the following statement to IGN:
"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. 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.
Outside of gaming, Mark Sumner said that the device can "gather dust from now on".
Oculus is FAR from the only product on the VR market. And it can just gather dust from now on.
— Mark Sumner (@Devilstower) September 23, 2016
Elsewhere, SoundStage VR said that its profits for the next day would contribute towards Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Luckey responded to all of the controversy on Facebook, making the following statement.
I am deeply sorry that my actions are negatively impacting the perception of Oculus and its partners.The recent news stories about me do not accurately represent my views.
Here’s more background: I contributed $10,000 to Nimble America because I thought the organization had fresh ideas on how to communicate with young voters through the use of several billboards. I am a libertarian who has publicly supported Ron Paul and Gary Johnson in the past, and I plan on voting for Gary in this election as well.
I am committed to the principles of fair play and equal treatment. I did not write the "NimbleRichMan" posts, nor did I delete the account. Reports that I am a founder or employee of Nimble America are false. I don’t have any plans to donate beyond what I have already given to Nimble America.
Still, my actions were my own and do not represent Oculus. I’m sorry for the impact my actions are having on the community.
In spite of this declaration, Daily Beast reporter Gideon Resnick shared emails in which Luckey allegedly admitted to posting from the NimbleRichMan account.
Here is where I sought that clarification from him and what he said. pic.twitter.com/pPfLKUX5Cg
— Gideon Resnick (@GideonResnick) September 24, 2016
The channel awaits to see if and how consumers react to this news and whether it affects their decision to purchase an Oculus Rift, which was released in the UK last week.