Palmer Luckey, Millionaire Founder of Oculus Rift, Loves Donald Trump and Dates a Gamergater

It’s been an open secret for some time that Palmer Luckey, the 24-year-old founder of VR company Oculus Rift and heir apparent to the future of gaming, is a strange guy—the type who argues with his customers on Reddit and casually cosplays as My Little Pony characters. Turns out, he also appears to be an active supporter of Donald Trump and the alt-right, and in a long-term relationship with an avid Gamergater.

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Oculus Rift made me realize I only want to play games in virtual reality

I’m too disorganized for real-time strategy. I’ve had my fill of fast-paced flight games. I’d don’t want to play another minigame collection ever again.

But I’ve found that I love all of these games in virtual reality, and it’s not just about novelty.

On Monday, Oculus VR held an event as part of the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco to show off the roster of games coming to the Rift head-mounted display, and by the end of the day I realized that I was enjoying nearly everything I tried. That includes games I’ve played before on other platforms and didn’t really care for. Analysts with tech adviser Digi-Capital think VR is going to grow into a $ 30 billion industry by 2020, and it’s easier to imagine that reality knowing that I want sports sims, role-playing games, and everything else in the Rift.

I tried out a variety of Oculus Rift games as part of the company’s event. I did VR Sports, where I used the Touch motion controllers to throw a basketball behind my back and over my shoulder while going up for a dunk in slow motion. That’s a unique “experience” that I haven’t had in any other game, and it’s one that I can’t wait to try with my friends and family. But I already knew that novel new ways of gaming is a big selling point for VR.

What surprised me more than VR Sports is a the game AirMech: Command, which is a continuation of the AirMech game that first came out for PC back in 2012.

AirMech is a third-person arena battler. It is essentially an action real-time strategy game that forces you to manage troops around a map while also flying your own mech around. I tried the original game a few years ago, and I appreciated what it was trying to do. But I also bounced off that iteration for the same reason I fall off of most RTS releases: I have a hard time managing the map. In a lot of RTS games, AirMech included, you only ever see a small portion of the map at a time. For me, it’s hard to keep the off-screen parts of the map in my head. And that’s not a skill I’ve wanted to spend a lot of time developing.

But Airmech in VR is completely different in this regard. Instead of having narrow tunnel vision, the Rift version makes it feel like you are playing a dynamic tabletop game. The board sprawls out in front of you, and you can see more things at once. I can navigate a board game with no problems because it’s part of the real world. And thanks to Rift, AirMech: Command might as well be a part of the real world. It amazed me how fast AirMech clicked with me thanks to this more intimate perspective.

I only got to play it for around 30 minutes, but this is a day-one purchase for me. I can’t wait to lose hours to this game, which takes advantage of VR in an unexpected way.

Like AirMech, Crytek’s The Climb uses the Xbox One controller as its primary input device. That’s interesting because The Climb is a game about using your hands to scale a mountain. You’d think this would make it ideal for the Rift’s Touch controller, and it’s possible that Crytek will implement that in the future. But playing it with a gamepad emphasized again how interesting VR can make everything. The Climb is something that I think I would enjoy even on a monitor or television. It is a series of environmental puzzles where you need to figure out where to put your hands while ensuring you are always gripping to the wall by holding down a trigger button. It’s clever, and it has a lot of potential for racing against your friends’ times.

But playing The Climb had me jazzed. It was another game I just wanted to keep playing for hours. It was so much to make a difficult jump and then look down to see how far I would’ve fallen had I missed. But it also makes the moment-to-moment gameplay more immediate and interesting. I really remember feeling like I was hugging the side of that mountain, and I was leaning my head around to see what my options were for my next hand placement.

After getting time with AirMech and The Climb, I am imagining getting other games I would typically play on a console in VR. I’d love something like a 16-bit Japanese RPG where I can play the game from in third-person and see all of the awesome spells happening, like I they were happening right down in front of me — and I’ve never finished a JRPG in my life.

And I think it’s important to realize that VR isn’t about 15 minute “experiences.” It is about breathing new life into older genres. That’s something we’re getting when it comes to the Rift launch platformer Lucky’s Tale, but I hope we get even more because I can already tell that I’ll struggle to return to a 2D static screen after playing VR.

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Oculus Touch will not ship alongside the Rift

Dean Takahashi demos the Oculus Rift and Oculus Touch.

Oculus has an amazing virtual-reality controller solution, but it won’t ship with the consumer version.

Oculus’s Touch controllers won’t ship until the second quarter of 2016, according to the company’s presentation at Oculus Connect today. That is an entire quarter after the Rift goes on sale in Q1 2016.

The company spent a long time talking about the possibilities and importance of Touch. This enables people to bring their hands and fingers into VR, which seems like a crucial step to give people a feeling of presence. So it feels like a missed opportunity for the company not to launch the Touch at the same time as Rift.

That missed opportunity is potentially exacerbated by the fact that the SteamVR-powered HTC Vive will launch with its touch-style controllers before the end of the year.

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Minecraft comes to Oculus Rift

Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey talks virtual worlds at his Connect event in Los Angeles.

Yes, you can place blocks in virtual reality.

Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition is going to support Oculus Rift, we learned today at Oculus Connect in Los Angeles. Founder Palmer Luckey of Oculus VR announced that Microsoft will bring its block-building phenomenon will support the head-mounted display when it launches in Q1 of 2016.

This is a big get for Rift, which will need high-profile content to help convince people that spending the money to invest in VR is worth it.

Minecraft on Rift is also notable because Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson once called Facebook’s acquisition of the Rift “creepy.” Although, now that Microsoft owns Minecraft, Persson’s opinion on Rift doesn’t matter.

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Epic Games reveals Oculus Rift shooter Bullet Train

Bullet Train.

First-person shooting is about to get a lot more realistic.

Developer Epic Games revealed Bullet Train today, an FPS for the Oculus Rift virtual reality device, during the Oculus Connect 2 conference in Los Angeles. Made with Unreal Engine 4, this game supports the Oculus Touch controllers, which can map the movements of your hands in VR. Virtual reality can become a big deal in gaming, but it will need great software to attract consumers. Epic has a track record of making hits with series like Unreal and Gears of War.

“Master the art of teleportation, time manipulation, and close-quarters combat to blast through resistance forces,” Epic notes in a press release sent to GamesBeat. “Thanks to Unreal Engine technology and the Oculus Touch motion controllers, you can physically interact with an array of weapons, from guns to grenades to missiles, and even feel them through haptic feedback.”

You can watch the trailer for Bullet train below.

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