Oculus co-founder and former CEO Brendan Iribe announced on Monday that he's leaving Facebook for his "first real break" in 20 years. The past six years have been spent building up Oculus. In late 2016, about two years after the Facebook acquisition, Iribe stepped down as CEO to lead Oculus's PC VR team. A story today on TechCrunch claims that Iribe's departure today came after "some internal shake-ups in the company’s virtual reality arm last week that saw the cancellation of the company’s next generation 'Rift 2' PC-powered virtual reality headset, which he had been leading development of."
If true, that would be huge news for the future of PC-focused VR, and reinforce the notion that Facebook sees the future of VR in less powerful (but much more affordable) all-in-one devices like the Oculus Quest. Over email, an Oculus spokesperson didn't directly address the existence of a "Rift 2" headset and whether its development had been canceled last week, but did say "we are planning a future version of Rift" and pointed to Mark Zuckerberg's recent Oculus 5 keynote.
In that talk, Zuckerberg said "when we release a new version of Rift, which isn't today by the way, all of the content that works for Rift is going to work on that next version too."
Oculus PR also added that "Nate Mitchell, who has been leading the Rift and PC org with Brendan, will remain in his position and lead the team." It is possible that Oculus is continuing to developer a successor Rift headset, while the specific project that was in development was scrapped last week, as TechCrunch reported.
Nate Mitchell took to Twitter to reinforce the message that Rift, and PC VR, are still in active development at Oculus.
A lot of questions today about the future of Rift — we're still driving forward on the Rift/PC platform with new hardware, software, and content. Lots of great stuff in the works. More to share in the months ahead.October 22, 2018
Meanwhile, John Carmack, who has primarily worked on Oculus's mobile VR development, seems content.
I do intend to stay at Facebook past the launch of Oculus Quest. https://t.co/a4T9BLK4A3October 22, 2018