Following last night’s news that Oculus founder Palmer Luckey is helping fund a troll army of Trump supporters, several VR developers have decided to pull Oculus support for their titles.
UPDATE - 9/23, 10:30 PM: Palmer Luckey posted a statement to Facebook in which he claimed he’s not a Trump supporter and instead plans to vote Libertarian. He said he contributed $10,000 to Nimble America because he’s “committed to the principles of fair play and equal treatment” and “thought the organization had fresh ideas on how to communicate with young voters.” He also said he did not write the infamous ‘NimbleRichMan’ Reddit post, contrary to what The Daily Beast’s news editor claims Luckey said in an email.
Original story follows:
Luckey is Vice President and a financial backer of Nimble America, a company that is promulgating shitposting and memes to help elect Donald Trump, The Daily Beast reported last night. VR developers at studios big and small are speaking out against Oculus, which Facebook bought in 2014 for $2 billion.
This afternoon, Superhypercube developers Kokoromi and Polytron announced that they’re canceling Oculus support for Superhypercube, which was upcoming. “We cannot tacitly endorse these actions by supporting Luckey or his platform,” they said in a statement.
“If you are a voting citizen of the United States, please remember to register and make your voice heard this November 8th. Do not let bigotry, white supremacy, hate and fear win,” they added.
Smaller studios led the push against Oculus support. On Twitter last night, VR studio Tomorrow Today Labs described Palmer Luckey’s actions as “unacceptable.” As long as Luckey is involved with Oculus, Tomorrow Today Labs told Kotaku in an e-mail, they won’t be supporting the Oculus Touch for their Newton VR or upcoming products. Similarly, Scruta Games, which also develops for VR, said that, until Luckey steps down, they’ll be cancelling Oculus support for their games.
“It’s not about ‘politics,’” they wrote on Twitter, “it’s about the face of a company financially backing racist trolls.”
Some developers who were exploring Oculus support, but didn’t have concrete plans to pursue it, have expressed abated interest in the VR headset. Augustin Cordes has considered his horror game Asylum a good fit for Oculus, but told Kotaku in an e-mail that he’ll be holding off pursuing Oculus support until “the situation with Luckey is resolved.”
“It’s a matter of principles,” Cordes explained. “I won’t do anything that increases the wealth of a company which in turn would increase the wealth of a tech leader promoting racism.” Instead, for Asylum’s VR support, he’ll be focusing on the HTC Vive.
Insomniac Games, creator of top Oculus title Edge of No Where, told Kotaku in an e-mail that they “condemn all forms of hate speech,” adding that, “this behavior and sentiment does not reflect the values of the many Oculus employees we work with on a daily basis.” They did not respond to our question about whether Luckey’s support for a Trump-centric organization affects their interest in future Oculus-based products.
Oculus support is an integral part of several studios’ business models, and without it, their products may lose context. Straight-up pulling support could prove disastrous, or simply unfavorable, despite developers’ personal distaste for what Donald Trump stands for.
Oculus did not respond to Kotaku’s request for comment by press time.