By now, I’m sure you have all heard about the fiasco that happened to Palmer Luckey, inventor of the Oculus Rift, due to a single donation of his along with having a Trump & #GamerGate supporting girlfriend. Many people are calling this Brendan Eich 2.0, refering to how Brendan Eich was forced out of Mozilla, due to his political beliefs. While there are similarities between what is happening to Palmer Luckey and what happened to Brendan Eich, simply calling this Brendan Eich 2.0 ignores a major part of why Palmer Luckey is in this situation.
When Brendan Eich was forced out of Mozilla, it was just about him. No one was interested in destroying Mozilla, just getting rid of him. There was also no attempt to connect Brendan Eich to some larger group like 4Chan. With Palmer Luckey, it’s different. For example, VentureBeat is connecting Palmer Luckey to everything from the NRA to 4Chan just because he uses common abbreviations like LEO for law enforcement officer and the “>” symbol for quoting comments that he is responding to. VentureBeat says that using the “>” symbol is evidence of being connected to 4Chan because on 4Chan “>” turns text green. In reality the “>” symbol has been used in email and on Usenet for quoting previous comments since before Palmer Luckey was born and before 4Chan existed.
While that may seem to be the most absurd thing anyone could say about Palmer Luckey, it gets worse. The Atlantic is not only trying to connect Palmer Luckey to Trump & 4Chan, but to Elliot Rodger, (yes Elliot Roger), Peter Thiel, and Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker (which Peter Thiel funded). The Atlantic article doesn’t make much sense. It seems to be saying that Silicon Valley is festering with Trump supporting Elliot Rodger wannabes, yet, even by the article’s own admission, Silicon Valley is heavily anti-Trump. It seems like the article is trying to imply some sort of conspiracy theory where Palmer Luckey, Peter Thiel, 4Chan & similar elements are secretly working together to use VR to turn geeks into Elliot Rodgers.
What The Atlantic & VentureBeat is absurd and lacks any connection to reality. Brendan Eich didn’t have to deal with this level of craziness. Wrapped up in all of this is the narrative that the media has been selling about this. That narrative is that Palmer Luckey has managed to completely derail the progress of VR development. The media is pushing that narrative hard because the media wants to derail the development of VR. VR is a threat to traditional media like The Atlantic and even newer media like VentureBeat, Gawker, etc. VR is a bigger threat to current media than Trump could ever be. The media has declared war on Palmer Luckey in an attempt to stop VR. That will not work. Attacking Palmer Luckey is too little, too late to stop VR. VR has been in development for decades, and VR development will not stop or be slowed down regardless of what happens to Palmer Luckey. The worst case scenario is that developers use a different platform for VR than the Oculus Rift. There is too much money involved and too many options available for a crash in VR development to happen.