The History of the Future: Oculus, Facebook, and the Revolution That Swept Virtual Reality

The History of the Future: Oculus, Facebook, and the Revolution That Swept Virtual Reality

by Blake J. Harris


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A USA Today bestseller

The dramatic, larger-than-life true story behind the founding of Oculus, its quest for virtual reality, and its founder's contentious battle for political freedom against Facebook, from the bestselling author of Console Wars.

In The History of the Future, Harris once again deep-dives into a tech drama for the ages to expertly tell the larger-than-life true story of Oculus, the virtual reality company founded in 2012 that—less than two years later—would catch the attention of Mark Zuckerberg and wind up being bought by Facebook for over $2 billion dollars.

This incredible underdog story begins with inventor Palmer Luckey, then just a nineteen-year-old dreamer, living alone in a camper trailer in Long Beach, California. At the time, virtual reality—long-hailed as the ultimate technology—was so costly and experimental that it was unattainable outside of a few research labs and military training facilities. But with the founding of Oculus, and the belief that his tantalizing vision of the future could one day be more than science fiction, Luckey put everything he had into creating a device that would allow gamers like him to step into virtual worlds and, in doing so, hopefully kickstart a VR revolution. 

With the help of an industry legend, a serial entrepreneur, and a slew of colorful characters—including those behind gaming sensations like Doom, Words with Friends, and Guitar Hero—Luckey’s scrappy startup would finally deliver the dream of immersive and affordable virtual reality to consumers, leading geeks and gamers to be excited in a way that they hadn’t been in years, and tech firms and investors scrambling to get in on the action before it was too late.

Over the course of three years (and with unprecedented access from Oculus and Facebook), Harris conducted hundreds of interviews with key players in the VR revolution—including Luckey, his partners, and their cult of dreamers—to weave together a rich, cinematic narrative that captures the breakthroughs, breakdowns, and human drama of trying to change the world. The result is a supremely accessible, entertaining look at the birth of a new multi-billion-dollar industry; one full of heroes, villains, and twists at every corner. Take, for instance, Harris’ own discovery while writing this story. When he started this endeavor, he had no idea that this tale would somehow involve Donald Trump, billion-dollar lawsuits, illegal practices, and end with Luckey—eventually ousted from Facebook—as one of the most polarizing figures in Silicon Valley.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062455963
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/19/2019
Pages: 528
Sales rank: 1,257,752
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.80(d)

About the Author

Blake J. Harris is the bestselling author of Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo and the Battle that Defined a Generation, which is currently being adapted into a feature film by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Scott Rudin. He has written for ESPN, IGN, Fast Company, The Huffington Post, /Film and The AV Club. He is also a regular guest on Paul Scheer’s How Did This Get Made? podcast, where every week he interviews some the biggest names responsible for some of the worst movies ever made. Harris lives in New York with his wife.

Table of Contents

Foreword Ernest Cline xi

Author's Note xix

Prologue 1

Part 1 The Revolution Virtual 5

Chapter 1 The Boy Who Lived to Mod 7

Chapter 2 Carmack the Magnificent 22

Chapter 3 A Tale of Two Trade Shows 32

Chapter 4 The Scaleform Mafia 40

Chapter 5 STK 57

Chapter 6 Pivots, Prototypes, and Partnerships 70

Chapter 7 Freedom Is Happiness 76

Chapter 8 That Fateful Promise 84

Chapter 9 Mount Up 94

Chapter 10 Valve! 114

Chapter 11 Kicrstarter 130

Part 2 How to Build a Company 141

Chapter 12 The King of Pop Software 143

Chapter 13 Showtime 152

Chapter 14 The Anomalies 160

Chapter 15 The Hong Kong Shuffle 178

Chapter 16 Just Kids 189

Chapter 17 Oculus vs. Ouya 198

Chapter 18 Good, Better, and Best at the 2013 CES 205

Chapter 19 Proverbs 29, Verse 18 229

Chapter 20 Wall-To-Wall Drama 242

Chapter 21 GDC 261

Part 3 The Good Old Days 267

Chapter 22 Move Slow and Build Things (Aka Facebook 2.0) 269

Chapter 23 Nine Stories 273

Chapter 24 The Future of Gaming 284

Chapter 25 Andrew Reisse 289

Chapter 26 Ideas So Crazy They Just Might 295

Chapter 27 The Room 307

Chapter 28 Jockeying for Position 312

Chapter 29 Zuckerbro Intrigued 324

Chapter 30 Blue's Clues 336

Chapter 31 The Backlash 352

Chapter 32 The New Normal 358

Chapter 33 Enter HTC 366

Chapter 34 Out of the Woodwork 368

Chapter 35 Charging Forward 373

Chapter 36 Canaries in the Coal Mine 379

Part 4 Politics 387

Chapter 37 Twelve Days in 2015 389

Chapter 38 Awaken the Sleeping Giants 400

Chapter 39 Lockdown 408

Chapter 40 Entitlement Checks 416

Chapter 41 The Devil is in the Details 431

Chapter 42 Nimble 443

Chapter 43 Internet Drama 447

Chapter 44 The Daily Beast 454

Chapter 45 Exile 473

Chapter 46 The Heist, the Comedy and the Fantasy vs. the Documentary 488

Chapter 47 The Verdict 506

Chapter 48 The Seemingly Impossible Challenge 512

Chapter 49 Employee Number One 521

Chapter 50 He's Back 527

Epilogue 535

Acknowledgments 557

Notes 559

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