January 14, 2016

Innovator of the Month: Palmer Luckey

By Justin H.

Who is Palmer Luckey?

If you’re not yet familiar with the name Palmer Luckey, just give it time. You will be soon enough!

Surely, you’ve heard of the Oculus Rift, right? It’s all the rage in the virtual reality world these days and is a true game-changer in the tech industry. The VR bombshell is set to drop very soon, and you will be able to purchase one for $599.

Luckey is the brilliant founder of Oculus VR. At the ripe age of 23, he has already positioned himself as the “face of virtual reality in gaming” and is setting the stage to be one of the true pioneers of the tech industry for decades.

Fun Facts About the Oculus VR Founder

  •  Luckey created the first Oculus Rift prototype in his parents’ garage at the age of 18. It was called the CR1 and featured a 90-degree field of view.
  •  The original Kickstarter campaign for the Oculus Rift raised $2.4 million, which was 974% of its original target.
  •  He began taking college courses at age 14.
  •  To fund his early virtual reality projects as a teenager, he earned over $36,000 from fixing and reselling damaged iPhones, while also coaching sailing and repairing boats on the side.   
  •  Oculus uprooted its main office to Menlo Park, CA last year to be closer to its parent company, Facebook. Prior to that, the startup was located right here in Irvine, just nine miles away from eGumball!

Why Has Luckey Been So Successful?

Virtual reality has been a hot button for years in the gaming community, but no one was able to get it 100 percent right. There was always a minor issue. Whether it was a brief lag or poor functionality, every previous attempt at making virtual reality a massive success had a significant flaw.

Oculus Rift is different. We have previously talked about its capabilities for mainstream success, which is one of the main reasons Mark Zuckerberg dropped a cool $2 billion to purchase the company. He saw it as much more than a gaming device, which Luckey and Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe agreed with.

“Last time I was sick with the flu,” said id Software co-founder John Carmack, “I just lay in bed and watched VR movies on the ceiling.”

That quote just shows the capabilities of Oculus. Imagine being in a movie theater by simply throwing on the Oculus headset or teleconferencing with someone thousands of miles away.
As the first person to get it right with VR, Luckey has a huge leg up on the competition. Unless you see Google Cardboard dethroning them anytime soon, get ready for a long reign of VR supremacy from Oculus.

Luckey may wear sandals everywhere he goes, but that doesn’t stop him from having a leg up on the competition. This gaming pioneer is doing huge things!

What innovator do you want to see Tek Shouts! spotlight next month? Are you going to purchase an Oculus Rift headset? Let us know in the comment section!

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