It looks like Facebook is shaking up Oculus and reassigning some of its top executives to new positions within the parent company, notably affecting head of content Jason Rubin and Oculus leader Hugo Barra.

Both Rubin and Barra announced their new roles today via Twitter.

Rubin will be succeeded by Michael Verdu, who was most recently a senior VP at Electronic Arts and executive at gaming studio Kabam. Rubin will be heading on to the role VP of “special gaming initiatives,” where he will work on “positively impacting game communities.” Rubin says he’ll continue to work with Verdu in his new role, bringing better content to VR.

Previously head of Oculus and also considered VP of VR at Facebook, Hugo Barra is heading onto the role of VP of AR/VR partnerships at Facebook. Barra says via Twitter that with Quest shipping on May 21st, the first-gen VR lineup is now complete, and that his next mission is to bring AR and VR to more people.

Barra is to be succeeded by Erick Tseng, who was previously Facebook’s director of product management.

Is it all a bit confusing? Well, that’s because in previous years Oculus was considered more of an independent actor, with its own CEO (Barra) who replaced co-founder and CEO Brendan Iribe, however it seems in the following years Oculus has become less of an independent subsidiary and more of an in-house VR group with little to separate the two companies now.

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Conversely, it also seems Facebook has elevated the importance of AR in the last year, and that’s primarily reflected in the executives’ new positions within the company as well as a host of new AR job opening, decidedly pointing to a Facebook-built AR headset on the rise.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.

    I‘m more and more worried what happens at Oculus/Facebook. I mean, a senior VP from EA is never a good sign when he is becoming head of content….

    I really wish that others would work more effectively on standalone VR and AR solutions.

    • impurekind

      Oh God, this doesn’t actually sound good at all. :-o

      • Andres Velasco

        not at all

    • Gonzax

      Yeah, agreed. I don’t know what’s going on at Facebook/Oculus but I don’t like it. Sometimes I get the feeling in 2-3 years VR or at least the Rift will be a thing of the past for them. I’m glad Valve has become a new player now (as far as hardware is concerned). We’ll see what happens.

      • Jens

        It’s a bit weird to worry about that now when they are basically the only ones pushing VR forward.

        • daveinpublic

          I think Valve is pushing VR forward, not affordable VR though. And Facebook is pushing VR forward, but may have privacy concerns down the road. Best case scenario, Facebook stays in the game, subsidizing headsets and forcing Valve to do their best at the lowest price.

        • Hivemind9000

          Don’t you mean pushing it sideways? There are some innovations sure, but they aren’t pushing the capabilities of VR forward like some of the other new headsets (Pimax, Valve, HP etc). They are just making it more convenient and (in that market) refined.

      • USPatriot

        I was hugely on the Oculus bandwagon but now I’m rooting for Valve to show them how Oculus lost their way. Valve needs to put more effort into content now.

    • James P.

      It’s less about freemium and more about mobile. Oculus is banking on mobile VR, this is consistent with their past moves. Rift is definitely staying on the backburner.

      • VR4EVER

        The road Oculus is heading with hardware is obvious. How they can keep a high attachment rate, not so much. Mobile platforms choose freemium, pay to win, and other nasty stuff to keep users „addicted“. I wouldn‘t be surprised if thats what Verdu is cooking….

  • impurekind

    I REALLY hope this isn’t a worse position for Rubin to be in to actually have a meaningful impact at the company, because I think he’s one of the handful of remaining guys at Oculus who can still keep the company on the right track and get some good stuff done there.

    • MeowMix

      It sounds like Rubin got a promotion (probably the head of gaming for all of Facebook). I bet Rubin will be Verdu’s new boss.

  • Rudl Za Vedno

    Never trust corporation. I wouldn’t be surprised if Rift S is the last PCVR hmd coming from Oculus.

    • Gonzax

      Exactly my thoughts, right now I wouldn’t bet on it, to be honest.

    • Justos

      Yeah that seems incredibly unlikely and somewhat ignorant. With the amount they put into R&D, it goes into PCVR first, then migrates onto mobile VR if its possible.

      Oculus are playing the long game, and they did good by releasing a gen 1.2 refresh and keeping it at 399. There is no platform growth without users.

      I agree i wish we had a 1.5 as well, but i dont know if i would have bought it. Im waiting for real gen 2, and have a quest/rift in the meantime.

      • Mradr

        Sure, but why didn’t any of that RD make it into the Rift S then? The lenses are from GO R/D, the screen is from GO R/D, the new tracking is from Quest R/D, the new design is from LV R/D, so what is “new” from the PCVR R/D?

        • Andrew Jakobs

          Because the S was not actually designed by Oculus, but completely outsourced to lenovo.. And they had a target of $399 for the headset.. Any of the advantaged of R&D for the PC would have made the headset much more expensive..

          • Mradr

            Incorrect though – it wasn’t totally outside to Lenovo though as they would have a IP issue if they did. In this case – they use the same IP found in the Quest and other releases already done.

            My point is that – we keep saying it goes into PCVR first – but really it goes into their headset of research first – then spreads out to the other headsets as needed for technology reasons. By that – even if they show it working on a PCVR headset – PCVR might never see the feature on its platform while a mobile headset might get the feature because xx of good reasons.

            This wasn’t about a price statement – it was just about the research and technology statement found in the Rift S.

      • Gerald Terveen

        “somewhat ignorant” …
        (22:30 if the timestamp does not work)

        There is nothing ignorant about wondering about it!

      • Gonzax

        It isn’t ignorant at all and it’s more likely than you say. They might not abandon VR but they might abandon the Rift and pcvr completely in favour of mobile. Right now it certainly looks like they’re more interested in the Quest than the Rift. I still hope a Rift 2 will happen eventually but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it didn’t. If the Quest is a big success that could happen sooner than we think.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          The quest is an all in one, whereas the S also needs a decent PC (mind you that it’s still a very large crowd that doesn’t even have a 1050/1060 (capable) generation GPU.. And the Quest does bring pretty solid VR to the masses, you just can’t deny that (unless you’re an unrealistic snob and only care about highend VR). There are 2 things that would have made the Quest much better, the extra camera the S has (for even better tracking of the controllers), and a virtuallink connector.. And in reality, I wouldn’t be suprised if the next itteration of the Quest will have the connector (as Carmark already mentioned something like that) and even the extra camera.

      • Jarilo

        They released a .8

      • The Bard

        Oculus relesed Gen 1.01 with screen from gen 0.8.

    • Jarilo

      No worries, Valve came in and kicked the door down anyway.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        Not really.. With a complete package of $1000+ compared to $399, it’s not in the same ballpark, and the advantages of the Index aren’t THAT big..

        • Jarilo

          How do you know what the advantages are? Have you felt what 120 native refresh rate with that low latency of a screen feels like?

  • sfmike

    This is what corporations do when they aren’t happy with profits, move people around. If the Quest doesn’t sell well I would guess they sell Oculus off or just close it down. The Rift S is proof of their lack of confidence and interest in PCVR. They should have partnered with HP instead of Lenovo. The Reverb puts the S to shame.

    • Adderstone VR

      Wouldn’t be supersized if they actually did (partner with HP) and it went south somehow….and HP was forced to push their (clearly CV1 clone) R(ift)everb out with Windows’ lackluster tracking and controllers.

      Think about it….if the Reverb launched as the Rift S….looking like it does…with insight tracking and Touch….would anybody doubt that Oculus was firmly involved
      with the design? While the Lenovo Rift S clearly seems like a outsourced design…bearing zero resemblance to the CV1 (or Quest) design language.
      Perhaps…and this is all speculation…perhaps HP didn’t want to budge in the price point? Perhaps the higher min specc was what killed the deal….perhaps that’s why Iribe left?

    • Jistuce

      They shouldn’t have had to partner with anyone for their new hardware.

      This is largely a market they CREATED, and they designed Rift 1 all on their own. That they’re hiring outside companies to design their new hardware is testament to their commitment, regardless of WHO they’re partnering with.

      • Immersive_Computing

        CV1 designed in house, manufactured by Goertek in China.

        Rift S designed in conjunction with Lenovo, manufactured by Lenovo in China

        Lenovo is a larger manufacturer, economy of scale as well as increased capacity to meet higher sales forecast?

        • Jistuce

          It makes sense to partner with Lenovo for production, but not for design.

    • Blaexe

      You couldn’t be further away from the truth. Facebook is investing more and more into Oculus every year. They are preparing huge new buildings for Oculus – one in San Francisco and one in Seattle. Look at the open postions at Oculus. They’re going nowhere and Oculus is by now fully integrated into facebook.

      We will all see the results some years down the line when the current research ends up in consumer products.

      • Jens

        Exactly. All these doom and gloom comments are jsut completely absurd when Oculus/FB are in fact the only ones pushing VR forward. It’s so weird, I dont see comments like these with other players in the field, only about Oculus. So strange.

        • asfd

          because other companies don’t have the worlds money to throw at it. I agree the gloom comments are absurd but i don’t agree that fb/oc are the only players in the field pushing vr forward.

          • bud01

            Elons attempts at brain interface for example nurolink technology? I am quite excited by that possibility, that would be pretty amazing.

          • Skippy76

            Sorry but Valve and Pimax are the ones pushing VR forward. Oculus is actually going nowhere and slightly behind now with the Rift S. And the Quest.

        • sfmike

          It’s because of the distrust so many of us have for corporate culture and business’s love of abandoning new tech that doesn’t instantly generate huge corporate profits on a quarterly basis. FB is particularly not trusted at this point so way do you wonder?

    • USPatriot

      I kind of hope they do sell off Oculus and Palmer buys it.

    • Get Schwifty!

      In reality PC VR is much like the PC – the Ferrari of experiences- which means most people can’t or won’t pay the prices for it. However, ever person over 5 in the developed world almost has a phone or access to one, a huge market. It makes more sense to cultivate AR and limited VR there as the market is humongous, the Gaming PC market is not small, but it pales in comparison by multiple factors. As VR matures in the mobile market, it will continue to develop on the PC as well, but it will be unfortunately a secondary player in the short term.

      At a certain point as VR flourishes, I expect the PC side to get a boost at some point if it becomes demonstrably good enough for the price that people see the value in it. Right now there is just no compelling reason for 95% of the gaming community to go to it…. That’s the sad part, it could be, but sadly the lack of content and the underwhelming impact of the initial sets bring us to where we are today….

      Oculus/FB know this, its readily apparent. Ironically the more limited mobile device wins out much like the PC did against the Mac – the sheer volume of folks using it means the inferior in some ways platform succeeds over the better tech.

      • Immersive_Computing

        History is littered with examples of the best technology failing to find a secure footing, whilst the second best technology becomes the market leader, the classic example was the VHS vs. Betamax “war” for the home video recorder market.

        But, I’m not here just for the games, for me virtual reality has always been an access mechanism to other realms, I’m very satisfied by a good “experience”, spending hours in a particle simulator, or using Tiltbrush with its music reactor.

        For that access I have no qualms building a £2500 PC, setting aside an entire room in my house and spending £800 on an HTC Vive and now £1000 on a Valve Index, but I recognise I’m not a mass market customer, and that my ambitions for PC VR do not align with a company like Facebook.

    • Bob

      “This is what corporations do when they aren’t happy with profits, move people around”

      It’s a generally a habit of public companies. Private companies are the same but not nearly as much. Shareholders are impatient and they want to get paid as much possible within a short space of time which is not good for sustainability.

      The ones at the top want to keep their jobs and continue to be paid massive bonuses and because the shareholders are constantly breathing down their neck they do stuff like this; move people around in the hope that things will change for the better. Generally it does and generally it doesn’t. It’s a risk either way.

      • sfmike

        And sometimes it is done to cause confusion and create lower profits so that these can be used to shut down an underperforming product. This tactic being the reason for the changes in the first place. Create the negative results to coincide with the new manager’s goals. I’ve seen it many times.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      But the reverb is waaay more expensive and in regard to tracking it’s the S that puts the Reverb to shame.. And if you have read about the visuals, the reverb does have it’s own problems..

  • oompah

    I am excited by the standalone VR
    so relevant today
    after getting messed up
    with cables, computer , headset etc etc
    Oculus quest is the right implementation of VR
    but its as usual front heavy headset (rather nose-set)
    should also have been redesigned as a helmet
    with weight distributed all over

  • Anthony Hunt

    Good news for HTC Vive, Valve Index and PI-Max but sucks for Oculus customers. Feeling less bad about having to sell my Rift.

  • AlanWake

    I’m worring about John Carmack, Michael Abrash and Nate Mitchel.
    P.s. Hope they will join Valve VR team..

    • USPatriot

      I hope so too. I hope the good guys left at Oculus abandon them and either start their own competing company or go to Valve.

    • bud01

      What are your top three reasons for disliking Oculus?

    • Jarilo

      John Carmack really shouldn’t be touching anything that doesn’t have to do with PC, would like to see him on team Valve or HTC for high end VR.

      • Blaexe

        Except it was his own choice (and requirement) to work on standalone VR. Because that’s where the hard problems are.

    • Bob

      Michael Abrash will continue to be there because he leads the research and development team (Chief Scientist) so they need his expertise and experience. He is a crucial asset to the Facebook R&D labs.

      John Carmack is an exceptional software engineer who’s demonstrated he’s extremely capable of writing magnificent code to solve hard problems so again they will need his expertise and experience. He is another crucial asset to the Facebook R&D labs.

      Nate Mitchell on the other hand is easily replaceable and is most at risk.

    • The Bard

      The faster loser Nate Mitchel gets fired, the better. I hate this fake-smile guy. So untrustworthy gayish loser. In his miserable Oculus S interview this guy was so annoying and tried to sell bs to us.

  • Tyson Warner

    Guess I gotta pay $20 to win a game of pavlov

    • Michael Berra

      Pavlov is Steam VR, not Oculus,

  • USPatriot

    I’m so aggravated about what is happening at Oculus. Too bad Palmer cant just take it private again. I know that’s close to impossible now but man damn Zuckerberg has not helped. The LAST thing we need is anything even close to EA. Ea are terrible and try to nickle and dime people to death.

    • Mradr

      Wasn’t for the money though – we wouldn’t even had gotten a CV1 – instead – the DK2 was the CV1 at the time. I dont think going back to private is a good idea at all base off history we know about.

      • USPatriot

        I understand your point. I think there are just too few involved now that have the passion for VR like Palmer did. I know they need money to get it there but I suspect it’s being treated like a random product x instead of pushing it forward. Maybe I’m wrong but the wow factor or the excitement is being lost I think. I’d have to get an Oculus quest to say for sure but when I read about it it just makes me shrug my shoulders and wish for something different. I’m also an anti-Zuckerberg type of person too so that may be influencing my opinion a bit as well.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          I think there are many enthousiasts still at facebook for VR, but the problem is a lot of people here in Road to VR who are just being unrealistic. VR will continue in small steps for the masses, as anything highend is WAAAAAAAAY out of scope for the masses. A lot of people here expect highend hardware which also needs VERY HIGHEND hardware to drive it. That’s just being unrealistic. I’m sure facebook has very highend hardware in their VR labs, but they can’t produce a headset with that type of hardware for around $400-$500 (which BTW is what Oculus goal was in the first place, not having the best highend hardware), those headsets will propably cost around $2000+.. Yeah, some of the people here wouldn’t mind putting that kind of money on the table to own the current best possible hardware, but the big masses won’t. And for a business, the very small group of people who are willing to put that kind of money on the table, just isn’t worth it business wise.. The headsets people here want, will only be available at real affordable prices in a year or 3 or 4, when GPU’s have caught up being able to drive them for also affordable prices..

    • Bob

      ” I know that’s close to impossible now”

      He doesn’t own the company nor does he work for the company so yes it’s impossible. Not sure of the ambiguity here.

      • USPatriot

        Yeah I know. I meant if FB offloaded Oculus Palmer could perhaps buy it again.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      But I guess, nothing would stop Palmer from starting a new VR company, but to be honest, I don’t think that’s what he wants to do anyway..
      What’s really wrong with EA? they bring excellent franchises (and people keep buying them). EA is a business, and games are nothing more than just products like any other product (tv’s, consoles, computers, mobiles, bread, cars etc)..

      • Caven

        Maybe because nobody kills studios the way EA kills studios. Plus, EA is the publisher that pushed loot boxes far enough to cause the governments of multiple nations to start scrutinizing them. And at least from my own personal perspective, their ineptitude has taken what should have been a guaranteed license to print money (Star Wars) and instead ruin it for the duration by underwhelming multiplayer games that managed to be mired in controversy.

    • sfmike

      Nickeling and diming is the core concept of predatory capitalism.

  • CastlegarGlenn

    lol “positively impacting game communities.” I assume he also plans to synergistically redefine goal-oriented virtualization as well as appropriately actualize innovative partnerships.

    • bud01

      That first sentence blows my brain.

  • Is it just me but who is making all of these bad decisions at Facebook? I guess Zuckerberg just wanted to throw a few million dollars away. He can do whatever he wants, I’m personally done with Oculus. I wish them luck.

  • bud01

    Every body is being so grouchy, these guys live breath and want nothing more than to deliver the worlds best VR and not just here today gone tomorrow but to build, don’t over estimate unknown unknowns of quality bad, when all that has been shown delivered and importantly promised (roadmaps).

    I agree thou about any mention of any thing to do with EA setting of warning bells about stupid stuff, there is a host of bad feeling about EA, I think i even watched a bunch of parody videos about EA, they are really disliked. Jason Rubin is “legit” and is in perfect new place.

    Keep putting good intention into new worlds for the younger generation is the idea! slow and steady wins the race, one change log at a time :-)

  • Jarilo

    This what you get for firing the only dudes who cared and then attempting the race to the bottom, because nothing says like I love VR like making Walmart Joe Shmoe the priority.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      But it was Oculus goal to bring VR to the masses, not to have the best high-end hardware….

      • Jarilo

        You mean after Facebook bought it?

        • Andrew Jakobs

          No, before facebook was anywhere near oculus. Just watch the early interviews/presentations of palmer.

          • Jarilo

            Everyone wants to bring all their products to more people always, that’s common sense. You sure a 600 dollar Rift with no Touch was an attempt at that?

          • Andrew Jakobs

            It also had the xbox one controller, and yes, at that time it was the cheapest he could ship with that technology..

  • I wonder what this does mean…

  • Hivemind9000

    In an older article I was having a debate with someone that this would happen. I don’t know why anyone is surprised by this or Oculus’s mass market (as opposed to bleeding edge) strategy. Facebook didn’t pay $2bn for Oculus unless it was going to be part of their core social strategy. The Quest and Go are basically mobile platforms (in terms of performance and convenience), so you’re going to see a mobile-like content strategy from them. The Rift S seems to be more of a holding pattern than a strategic push in any direction for them. It’s probably quite sensible for them as a business strategy, but this isn’t the type of VR I signed up for…

    • Andrew Jakobs

      In reality, Oculus’s goal was to bring VR to the masses at affordable prices, NOT having the best highend VR… So you actually DID sign up for what Facebook/Oculus is going for.
      But I really don’t know what people are talking about, it’s not like anything has really changed from a year ago..

      • Hivemind9000

        No I DIDN’T sign up for Facebook’s version of VR – it’s a figure of speech – I was just talking about VR in general.

        Oculus were the first mover in VR so I think everyone thought they would remain at the vanguard of pushing the tech forward. When Facebook bought them people seemed to split into two camps – some saying Facebook would push Oculus in the direction we’re now seeing (more mass market and more towards casual/social), and others thinking Facebook would be hands off letting Oculus keep pushing the bleeding edge. I think that’s where all this confusion and angst is coming from.

        You’re right – nothing has really changed from a year ago (hardware-wise) but these announcement foreshadow the push towards “VR lite” more strongly than before. Once you get an exec team that are focused on that market from both a hardware and content perspective, I don’t think we’ll see any high-end devices coming from Oculus anytime soon (or at all, if I was a betting man).

  • econik

    FB is a garbage company and I will not buy a new Oculus because of this. They can take their censorship and shove it up their corporate assholes. I was a huge Oculus fan and was one of the first on the kickstarter. I’m buying a vive next.

    • vtid

      A Vive?!