Oculus co-founder Nate Mitchell has left Facebook, marking the last of the original Oculus founders to do so. Mitchell has been with the company for seven years, ending up as Head of VR product, but has now decided to focus on travel, family, and “recharging” before moving to new pastures.
“Virtual reality is still on the bleeding edge of technology,” Mitchell’s departure post on the Oculus subreddit reads (via The Verge), “and this community continues to pioneer the way forward. What’s ahead is always unknown, and that’s what makes it exciting. Stay bold and keep chasing the future. What’s next for me: I’m taking time to travel, be with family, and recharge. Of course, I’ll still be part of this community, but I’ll have a much smaller role to play.”
This year Mitchell would have overseen the launch of the Oculus Rift S and the Oculus Rift Quest, tethered PC VR and standalone headsets, respectively. The Rift S is a new and improved version of the initial Rift, which was first launched in 2016 and the subject of the initial Kickstarter founded by Mitchell, Palmer Luckey, Brendan Iribe, Andrew Scott Reisse, and Michael Antonov.
In 2014, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the company would be acquiring Oculus VR for $2bn. Since that time, and mostly unrelated to the sale, its original founders have all left the company – Mitchell being the last to depart.
Last year saw Brendan Iribe leave the company reportedly due to disagreements regarding the future of VR. Iribe was said to be interested in next-gen Oculus Rift high-end headsets, however, Oculus was shifting towards the standalone and mainstream markets.
Mitchell’s departure appears far less heated, however, with a focus on family and travelling. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Nate during his time at Oculus, during which he was always very engaged and passionate about what’s next for the VR company. We wish him all the best for his future endeavours.