For the first time in over a decade, Oculus will not be showing off its virtual reality technology at E3 2017.
Speaking with VentureBeat over the weekend, an official representative confirmed that the company will not be attending the expo in June and neither will it be having any form of booth on the show-floor. No explanation was provided as to why Oculus has decided to skip its annual show-and-tell this year.
The Oculus Rift headset has been a staple attraction of E3 every year since 2014. Over the years, the company’s booth expanded to almost double in size in order to include as many participants as possible. Even then, there would be long queues just to get the opportunity of experiencing its virtual reality headset. As such, regular attendees are likely to notice the absence of Oculus this year.
However, that does not mean that the Oculus Rift will be completely missing from the expo. Third-party developers and partners working on the technology are likely to have the headset on display to showcase their own games and applications. Though, it remains to be seen if developers and executives from Oculus will be present at their booths to talk with fans.
While the virtual reality company will be officially skipping E3 2017, it has confirmed that it will be announcing more games and other features later this year.
Perhaps the company is simply taking a breather to normalize its image. In the past year, founder Palmer Luckey attracted a lot of negative attention after it was discovered that he financially supported a pro-Donald Trump political group responsible for “s***posting” anti-Hillary Clinton memes. The controversy forced a number of developers to pull support for Oculus Rift.
Soon after, Bethesda parent company ZeniMax media was awarded $500 million as part of a lawsuit alleging that virtual reality technology it owns was stolen and used to develop the Oculus Rift. Luckey was a prime target throughout the lawsuit, which claimed that he “lacked the training, expertise, resources, or know-how to create commercially viable VR technology, his computer programming skills were rudimentary, and he relied on ZeniMax’s computer program code and games to demonstrate the prototype Rift.”
It was enough to force Palmer to resign from the company in March. There is no word on what he plans to do now.
E3 2017 will run from June 13-17.