Oculus Rift wasn’t always as sleek as it is now, at one point it was passionate 18-year-old Palmer Luckey’s personal project. After purchasing some of the old VR prototypes Luckey noticed they possessed low contrast, high latency, and low Field-of-view. Luckey’s disappointment at the old prototypes drove him to begin work on his own. In 2011, after gathering up everything he needed, Luckey went to work on his first prototype in his parent’s garage. Eventually, he created his first VR prototype entitled CR1 featuring a 90 degree Field of View (FOV) subsequently he began working with features such as 3D stereoscopy, making VR wireless, and having a 270-degree FOV, while also decreasing the size and weight of the headpiece. During his work, he kept other Virtual Reality enthusiasts up to date on his progress using the forum website MTBS3D (Meant to be Seen 3D).
Everybody makes friends on forums, that’s essentially what they exist for, and John Carmack, now the CEO of Oculus) is the kind of friend inventors love to have. Carmack was a regular on the MTBS3D forums and requested one of Luckey’s headsets. After making his own improvements on the headset Carmack presented it with a modified version of an id Software game at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 2012. The Expo is Non-profit and tens of thousands of people are in attendance every year. Once the Oculus Rift was presented, the demand for Luckey’s prototypes skyrocketed, causing him to drop out of University to focus on his passion.
In 2012 Luckey was granted the opportunity to present his newest prototype to Brendan Iribe, Nate Mitchell and Michael Antonov. The three were on edge due, not only to the fact that Luckey was running rather late but because their decision to give Luckey a chance meant they could be walking away from millions with another tech company. Luckey didn’t help their anxiety when he finally came bounding into their meeting sporting a T-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops, still, all three experienced the rift, though it looked like a box and cables on a tray. Iribe, who was the last to try the Oculus VR states, “Sure enough, it really worked. And we all looked at each other like, Oh, my God.”
Something that began with an 18-year-old’s disappointment, a garage, and a Kickstarter account, within a year, turned into a revolutionary project. Mark Zuckerberg even stopped by the Oculus offices in 2014, and after a demonstration of the device bought the company within weeks for about $2 billion. Every person who experienced Oculus didn’t just see something revolutionary for video games, they saw something that could transport people across the world, allow people to see themselves and others in new lights. They saw the potential for the future.