Oculus co-founder is leaving Facebook after cancellation of ‘Rift 2’ headset

Brendan Iribe, the co-founder and former CEO of Oculus, announced today that he is leaving Facebook, TechCrunch has learned.

Iribe is leaving Facebook following some internal shake-ups at 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, a source close to the matter tell TechCrunch. Iribe and the Facebook executive team had “fundamentally different views on the future of Oculus that grew deeper over time” and Iribe wasn’t interested in a “race to the bottom” in terms of performance, we are told.

The cancellation of the company’s next-gen PC-based “Rift 2” virtual reality product showcases how the interests of Facebook’s executive leadership have centered on all-in-one headsets that don’t require a connection to an external PC or phone. In May, Oculus released the $199 Oculus Go headset and plans to release the $399 Oculus Quest headset sometime next spring. A Facebook spokesperson tells TechCrunch that PC VR is part of the company’s future product roadmap and that much of what Iribe’s team has been working on will be manifested in future products.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and then-Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe at Oculus Connect 3 in late 2016

Iribe’s exit comes at a time when a number of the founders of Facebook’s high-profile startup acquisitions are leaving the company. Less than a month ago, Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger announced their plans to leave the company in a decision that TechCrunch was told was partially the result of mounting tensions. WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum left Facebook earlier this year. Iribe’s fellow co-founder Palmer Luckey left Facebook in early 2017, a decision he recently recounted was not a choice that he made.

Iribe came onto Facebook after the $2 billion acquisition of Oculus VR in 2014 where he had been the company’s founding CEO. After a substantial company reorganization in late 2016, Iribe was moved from the CEO position to the head of the company’s PC VR division.

Before co-founding Oculus VR, Iribe was the chief product officer of Gaikai, a cloud-gaming startup that Sony bought in 2012 for $380 million, before that, he co-founded and led Scaleform, a gaming user interface tools startup that Autodesk bought in 2011 for $36 million.

We’ve reached out to Iribe for comment.