TIME magazine's Oculus Rift cover sparks controversy

Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey responds to what many believe to be an offensive representation of gaming culture.

A few days ago TIME magazine released the cover photo for their August 17th issue, which will feature the Oculus Rift and its creator, Palmer Luckey. Reactions quickly shifted from excitement to disbelief as audiences were granted a first glimpse at the cover.

Let's be clear, this cover is not a joke. This IS the final cover that TIME will release on their August 17th issue, and it is definitely one of the most absurd covers the magazine has had in recent memory. Strangely enough this didn't seem to bother Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey at all.

"People have said, 'Oh, this is going to set virtual reality back so far.' I'm like, are you guys really giving that much importance to an old-media cover? It's insignificant in the scheme of this massive explosion in virtual reality's popularity. I love the cover; I think it's great."

Although the magazine had nothing but positive things to say about the virtual reality machine, the image seems to showcase the Oculus in a rather negative light. Luckey believes that this image won't impact the reception of VR in its mainstream audience at all.

Fortunately for us, the Internet didn't just let this image go unanswered.  Here are some spectacular memes that turned an already goofy image into something even more ridiculous.

And my personal favorite: 

Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg owns the Oculus Rift, and the first consumer model is set to be released in early 2016. Consumers can expect Oculus to set them back about $1,500 for an all-inclusive set up which includes the Oculus Rift, new computer system, and Xbox One controller.

So what do you think? Is this image offensive to gamers and the community or is this just another example of media blowing something out of proportion? Let us know in the comments!

Published Aug. 9th 2015
View Comments
  • Jay Ricciardi
    If you haven't seen it, there's an entire blog called "white guys wearing Oculus Rifts" and it's mostly pictures like this.

    WTB photogenic Oculus?
  • Larry Iaccio
    Featured Contributor
    haha I had no idea about this blog, and it's pretty fantastic
  • Michael Slevin
    I mean the image sucks but I don't think its obscene or controversial. It is just a bad choice for a cover, but it isn't harmful.
  • Larry Iaccio
    Featured Contributor
    I don't necessarily believe this will impact VR or even the Oculus going forward at all. It boils down to 2 things in my mind as to why this is getting attention. 1) Gamers overreact to anything and everything (myself included sometimes), but those memes are golden and 2) Looking at TIME's cover photos, this easily falls within the top 10 worst covers the magazine has produced I believe. http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/completelist/0,29569,1704912,00.html
  • Rothalack
    Master O' Bugs
    $1500 to get an Oculus is the most misleading thing I've ever seen. The Oculus will be $300. If you don't already have a computer, that's not the Oculus' fault.
  • Larry Iaccio
    Featured Contributor
    I agree and I was debating about pricing it out for this article, but since that wasn't what I was trying to focus on I included the hyperlink to an article that already did that
  • TiquorSJ
    Featured Contributor
    I just think he looks intensely uncomfortable. Like he's being held aloft like a puppy and he's craning his neck for no good reason. It just looks uncomfortable. Not the image I would want for VR.
  • Larry Iaccio
    Featured Contributor
    We all thought we looked awkward playing fake plastic instruments a few years ago, I can only imagine what a room full of people using VR headsets would look like to an outsider haha
  • TiquorSJ
    Featured Contributor
    Yeah, this isn't the same and, more importantly, this is not how a person looks when all in VR. I've seen a room full of people using VR and it looks nothing like this cover. He looks like he's been VR impaled through the back and he's arching his back in pain. I don't really care about the cover, but he looks unnecessarily dumb.
  • The Soapbox Lord
    Featured Contributor
    I don't see where this has sparked the aforementioned controversy.
  • Larry Iaccio
    Featured Contributor
    The cover is a pretty absurd thing to look at for an esteemed periodical like TIME to publish. The controversy lies within the goofy image itself being a larger catalyst for the idea that the gaming community is still treated as almost a joke to mainstream culture. I mean personally I can't look at that cover in any serious way, and I'm a hardcore gamer, so I can't imagine an average person being very receptive to it.

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