UPDATE 24/9/16 9.45am: A day after a bombshell report on Palmer Luckey's political leanings, the Oculus boss has now responded to the allegations.
In short, he admits giving $10k to Nimble America - the organisation behind the anti-Hilary Clinton meme billboards - but only did so because he admired how they were used to target young voters.
Luckey flat-out denies posting on Reddit under the NimbleRichMan name, which was used in a number of damaging posts, or that he was ever a "founder" or "employee" of Nimble America.
However, the story's original source TheDailyBeast has doubled down on its reporting and posted screenshots where Luckey told them he was indeed posting under the this name, and that he was a "vice president" of the company.
Here is where I sought that clarification from him and what he said. pic.twitter.com/pPfLKUX5Cg— Gideon Resnick (@GideonResnick) September 24, 2016
Luckey has apologised - but only for his actions negatively impacting the perception of his company. The past 24 hours have seen numerous Oculus developers pull support for the platform and rival VR investors pledge to support Hillary Clinton's campaign in the upcoming US election.
Here is Luckey's statement in full:
23/9/16 9.30am: A new report has accused Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey of secretly funding a website designed to promote Donald Trump memes on the internet.
24-year-old Luckey, whose fortune is pegged at $700m after selling Oculus to Facebook for $2bn, is quoted by The Daily Beast admitting to putting money into an unofficial Trump group dedicated to "s**tposting" and circulating anti-Hillary Clinton memes.
According to the report, Luckey financially backed an organisation called Nimble America. Here's an archived Reddit post announcing its formation:
Nimble America said it was behind a billboard put up in Pittsburgh. It's below.
The Daily Beast said Luckey confirmed he had used the pseudonym "NimbleRichMan" on Reddit with a password given to him by the Nimble America founders. The NimbleRichMan account has since been deleted, but not before a number of damaging posts were archived.
The Daily Beast also reveals links between Luckey and Breitbart tech editor and Trump supporter Milo Yiannopoulos. The controversial Yiannopoulos was recently suspended from Twitter after issues a number of abusive messages to Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones.
One Reddit message reportedly sent by Luckey is being widely circulated on Twitter.
It's safe to say the development community has reacted with astonishment at the news. Here's a snippet of the response on Twitter:
Starting to sink in how many of my friends making VR games are probably going to have an incredibly tricky situation to deal with tomorrow.— Dan Pearce (@GameDesignDan) September 23, 2016
Palmer Luckey, I really thought you were one of the good guys. This is unforgivable:https://t.co/v8gJUXcSgb— Manuel Correia (@gamesbymanuel) September 23, 2016
Facebook, Oculus and Luckey are yet to respond to the developments, which call into question partnerships between the virtual reality company and other video game firms. Microsoft, for example, has partnered with Oculus to bundle an Xbox One controller with every Oculus Rift. Project Scorpio is rumoured to be compatible with Oculus Rift, too.
Oculus Rift went on sale in the UK this week priced £549.
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