Having founded Oculus in 2012 and been an important face for the company throughout its growth from fledgling startup to $2 billion acquisition by Facebook and beyond, it was a shock to see Palmer Luckey leave the company just two months ago. Having shied away from the public eye since September 2016 after the ousting of a polarizing political position, Luckey has gone on record in an interview for the first time since leaving the company.
Oculus founder Palmer Luckey on stage at Oculus Connect 2015 | Photo courtesy Oculus
Speaking with MoguraVR during a trip to Tokushima, Japan to attend the anime event Machi Asobi, Luckey opened up about his personal hobby of cosplay—a freedom he didn’t have while at Facebook—the Japanese VR market, and the future of VR headsets.
VR enthusiast Marulu translated the article, which was originally published in Japanese, for Road to VR.
Cosplay and Freedom
MoguraVR: First we asked Palmer Luckey about his cosplay impressions.
It was fun. I have cosplayed several times in America but this was my first time cosplaying in Japan. This is the first time that my cosplaying has gotten this much attention. Normally no one stops to look at my cosplay. I don’t know if the reason I got this much attention was because I cosplayed in Japan, but I think that the “uniqueness” was a big part of it. Anyhow it was really fun.
Photo courtesy MoguraVR
MoguraVR: We accompanied Palmer Lucky at the Machi Asobi event, we had lots of fun at the event.
Palmer Luckey: I think the location the event was held at was really beautiful. The idea to use an entire street for a large scale anime event is a great idea. This is a good way of utilizing the normally small and cramped convention center aimed at businesses for an anime convention.
I also had lots of fun in the city of Tokushima. There was a lot of green, and there even was a river. It was a wonderful experience to ride a boat to visit the anime art gallery underneath the bridges. I also cosplayed at the cosplay area near the riverside, everyone was taking pictures of me, it was a impressive spectacle.
Photo courtesy MoguraVR
MoguraVR: Machi Asobi actually is a event to revitalize the city.
Palmer Luckey: So it was a plan to increase tourism.
MoguraVR: [Regarding your risque cosplay] your behavior at this cosplay event was rather ‘free’. Do you have any personal rules regarding this kind of behavior?
Palmer Luckey: When I work I am extremely self controlled. It also is the same when I dedicate my free time towards my work. But when I am not working it is a entirely different story. I don’t care about how people look at me and about how they think about me. What I care about in my free time is how I can enjoy myself. I do this so when I return to work I will have regained all my energy.
I really love to cosplay and hanging out with people at these events. It is the same with my cosplay this time as Quiet, I did it because I love to cosplay and because I thought other people also would enjoy it.
At the moment I am an unemployed engineer, when I worked at Facebook I was just a business person. The Oculus offices were on the Facebook campus. It certainly was a great working environment. But I had to restrain myself working there. I could not cosplay while working at Facebook.
Palmer Luckey’s cosplay take on ‘Quiet’ a scantily clad character from the ‘Metal Gear’ series | Photo courtesy MoguraVR
Palmer said he felt like Umarua chan from the anime “Himouto! Umaru-Chan” while working at Facebook. On the outside Umaru is a perfect talented high school student without flaws but once she arrives at home she is a lazy Otaku.
That’s right, Umaru was holding a secret. She was an Otaku but never showed that side of her outside of her house. I was in exactly the same situation as her for several years. I am glad I’m not currently employed, the good thing about independence is that you can stay yourself both at home and when outside.