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

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  484 ratings  ·  68 reviews
The dramatic, larger-than-life true story behind the founding of Oculus and its quest for virtual reality, by 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—
ebook, 528 pages
Published February 19th 2019 by Dey Street Books
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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 ·  484 ratings  ·  68 reviews

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Rupert Rawnsley
Mar 06, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am reluctant to pass negative comments about peoples work, but I'm upset about it's naive portrayal of Palmer Luckey and I feel somebody has to at least question it. As far as I know the facts are correct and I think Blake is a good writer, however I have several problems with this book:

Problem 1: Blake gives Luckey a complete pass on Trump and Nimble America because the "other allegations" are not proved. He doesn't address those allegations: what about the picture of Luckey with Bannon and
Hari Balaji
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It is easy to say that one should never be penalized professionally for their personal views. But what if they were the face of a company and had a view that was unpopular with the MSM resulting in their perhaps unfair vilification of the founder and by association the company?

Blake Harris does a commendable job taking us through the story of Oculus founder Palmer Luckey's journey right from his days of dreaming up Oculus right behind his childhood home to his Jobs-esque ouster following its
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was eagerly anticipating this one because I recently listened to Console Wars and enjoyed that immensely. VR is my passion and I was looking forward to a similar treatment of its history. This didn't disappoint, as it went into the inspirational history of Oculus and how it's been changing gaming. These events are a lot fresher in my memory and I already knew quite a bit of the history of the principal figures, but I still learned enough for this book to be an enjoyable read/listen.
Apr 27, 2019 marked it as to-read
Listening to the Geek's Guide podcast about it. An hour in, the host asked if the book should be called: "It’s Complicated: Palmer Luckey, Corrupt Journalists, and Facebook’s Web of Lies". Even the author's own editor temporarily cancelled the book.
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Raymond Harris
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Couldnt put it down!

I was an original backer of the Oculus Kickstarter. I remember many of the moments in this book. It's incredible getting to go back and get so much more detail and context from these moments in history. Blake does an absolutely amazing job of presenting an objective and honest recounting of everything that happened.

Thank you for making this amazing piece of work!

Palmer Lucky, I am sorry you were so wrongfully pushed out of your dream. I still use my Rift every week and I can
Kai Detmers
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookshare
Blake J. Harris is a magnificent writer. How do I know that? Because his book immersed me into a world I would never have voluntarily gone without him. I'm no gamer. I have the unfortunate personality of a fizzled firework when it comes to computer gaming. I just don't do it, and I don't understand the attraction to it at all. So why would I ever read a book about a gamer? Yeah, the guy is an inventor extraordinair, he's impressive by any measure, but no way am I spending more than five minutes ...more
Otto Lehto
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
VR is no joke. In fact, it is a cause of many tears.

And it may be the future of entertainment. It is too early to tell, but something momentous is taking place. Blake Harris has a very entertaining way of approaching this contemporary subject of tremendous importance. Like his previous book, Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation, the present volume manages to capture the passion and drama of nerds, techies, and business people in a way that few books can.
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: technology
“The History of the Future” is either the worst name for this book, or perhaps a tongue-in-cheek reference to one character’s reference to the impact virtual reality is expected to have on the gaming industry over the next few decades.

This book is not a history of the future.

For a few bright, shining years a very young man, Palmer Lucky, headed his own tech start-up in the promising field of virtual reality gaming. Virtual reality is really a synthetic, immersive gaming environment in 3D. Lucky
Mar 22, 2019 rated it liked it
The History of the Future tells the story behind the virtual reality (VR) company Oculus. The first three quarters of the book is largely about the people behind the building of the company, and the often harrowing process of getting it off the ground. The last part is much the opposite, about dissolution rather than building - specifically the exit of co-founder Palmer Luckey.

Starting up any company is a challenge, and focusing on virtual reality had extra hurdles since it had been tried
May 03, 2019 rated it liked it
I really enjoy Blake Harris's writing style as it is extremely engaging, and the same is true for his second work, The History of the Future. However, I struggle with this story as everything is presented as direct quote throughout much of the story, yet I know that most of this is paraphrasing or retelling of a story and not verbatim. In Console Wars, I do not remember feeling while I am reading that information is being presented as verbatim quote, yet knowing it is not verbatim and instead is ...more
Mar 23, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was a little more relatable than "Console Wars" since I lived through this era. The core content is great, and the dialogues still feel a bit stilted (albeit less racist sounding than Console Wars), but the book suffers from trying to paint from Palmer Luckey's perspective a little too much, the last chapter on politics seemed a little bit apologist on his behalf. I agree that Zuckerberg's handling of the firing was heavy handed and borderline unethical, but giving Nimble America/Rich ...more
Manas Saloi
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I felt bad about Palmer luckey after reading this. Also relearned how big of a c*nt Zuckerberg really is. Probably one of the worst guys Palmer could have gone to work for after spending years building his version of the future
Josh Kanownik
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating business book about the founding of Oculus. I learned a lot of things I did not know about the history of the company. The depth of detail around the founding is amazing even if you are not interested in VR. It allows you to explore some really interesting questions around the founding of a major company. How much was each person involved responsible for it's success? What role did chance/luck play? Who is the company ultimate responsible to in the end and does the company owe ...more
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the hardest books I've read to rate. I would put it closer to 2.5 stars, but not close enough to other books I rated 3 stars to use 3 instead of 2.

I picked up this book because of both an interest in VR and its history. It wasn't anything I really knew a lot about beyond the names of the big companies, so I knew little about key players. I found the first three parts interesting, but like most of the other mixed or negative reviews I've read, my main issue was with Part IV. It
Ahn Mur
Aug 23, 2019 rated it liked it
The History of the Future tells the story of the founding of the VR company, Oculus, and the eventual exit of its first founder, Palmer Luckey. Before I read this book, I was an unsuspecting fan of Oculus as a company. I was aware that facebook had purchased Oculus, but it hadn't necessarily tainted my view of it. I own a rift, so I had some context for the technology and enthusiasm for VR. But now I almost regret reading this because I can't wholeheartedly support Oculus as a company. It's all ...more
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I discovered Blake J Harris listening to the IGN Podcasts years back while the hosts discussed his book Console Wars. He came out of that book with the tech media world at his fingertips. It's amazing how one book later he has become a pariah to all mainstream media, games media, and big tech. His hard work and honest exploration of humanity in The History of the Future seems to have forever branded him a problematic rebel.

To write a book about something as geeky and technical as the
Mika Cline
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In trying to read more non-fiction, especially about subjects about which I am especially ignorant, I picked up this book about the founding of Oculus, the company that helped bring real virtual reality to the consumer. I am not into video games so was especially ignorant about famous video games, gamer culture, the game makers and especially how much money is in gaming. Therefore, I wasn’t sure I would find this book enjoyable. However, the book is just so compelling. It tells the tale of how a ...more
Jagannath Arumugam
Learning about the history of how oculus rekindled the fire of VR was such an interesting read. I never bother to write reviews but I wanted to write one for this. The pace was fast and the book is unputdownable. The author has done a great job of narrating the events, capturing the thoughts and emotions of the persons involved. The unapologetic description of the events that showcases the cesspool that is the mainstream media and the liberal lynch mob clearly exposes the retaliation and ...more
Aramis X
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 17, 2019 rated it liked it
I could so easily have given this book 4 stars or even 5 because it was so readable. However, the author was so obsessed with Palmer Luckey that he left out so many things that would have been fascinating. There were only about 4 pages about Oculus's competitor, HTC Vive, and wouldn't it have been interesting to make a comparison with Steve Jobs - also kicked out of his company? There were so many protagonists at the start - but then the story was completely about Luckey, and we didn't hear ...more
Eric Flapjack
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
With the continued popularity of Virtual Reality, this is a very timely book that would benefit anyone interested in the early days of a leading pioneer in the VR world.

Author Blake J. Harris carries over his unique writing style from his previous breakthrough best seller ("Console Wars") where the factual history reads more like a fictionalized novel - which makes for a much more engaging read.

The book focuses on a handful of key players, but it's wide net captures stories from some of the
Dec 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting exploration/story of the founding of Oculus. Unfortunately like most Silicon Valley stories, there is a wide-eyed star-struck tone throughout the book with little or no criticism to be found anywhere (other than of the criticism of the evil empire of Facebook). I couldn't put my finger on it at first, but about 200 pages in, I finally saw mention of the first female engineer(s). There were about a grand total of 2 of them mentioned in the entire book. Palmer's girlfriend got way more ...more
Casey Ryan
Mar 25, 2019 rated it liked it

An interesting modern day story that I'm not sure was written by the right guy. He tries to squeeze a "social network" type story out of this but it ends up feeling more fake than a historical document. All of the times he has characters having conversations with one another already had my BS antennas up. There is no way many of those conversations actually happened like that. While I'm sure its mostly based on fact, he strides the line between making it ingenuine, while also not fully
Greg Gauthier
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Harris' style is fascinating, and captivating. This is written in the first-person, as a sort of documentary narration film script, but it has a strong third-person overtone to it. The chronological leaps are entertaining, but sometimes confusing. The culmination of Palmer Luckey's story, in the destruction of his company by Facebook's Zuckerberg came off as frustrating and tragic, but the extent of the build up to the confrontation made the actual confrontation in the text, seem somewhat ...more
I wasn’t going to read this book because I thought the authors other book was unreadable and because I’m not convinced by the premise that virtual reality is the future. But I was writing a story about Palmer Luckey and this seemed like essential background reading. It’s pretty standard “high flying startup” fare. The book is based on really great access to Luckey and the other Oculus founders, which made it valuable, though it’s basically a hagiography and I came away not any more convinced ...more
Tim Lapetino
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Blake Harris has written a definitive history of VR pioneer Palmer Luckey, and the company he built—Oculus. Harris’ deep reporting is impressive and carried me quickly through what might have otherwise been too dense a read. But he navigates the twists and drama surrounding the creation of Oculus and its purchase by Facebook.

I was shocked (but not surprised) at Facebook’s response to Luckey’s politics and their treatment of the young innovator. It’s a bittersweet tale, well told.

I recommend it
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I started reading this after my first actual chance to play with a friend’s VR headset. Both experiences felt so much bigger than me and I immediately wanted more. This book was like a catch up on all the amazing and groundlaying VR advances I had only seen in the periphery up until now.

Despite not agreeing with Lucky’s political views, the context Harris provided here was the first really sensible explanation I’ve heard for a person supporting Trump‘s run for office.

I agree with many others
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“As he tinkered away inside his trailer—pumping himself up with power metal music—he was reminded of something that visionary game programmer John Carmack had once said about virtual reality: “It’s a moral imperative,” Carmack had described, touting the ways in which VR could empower anyone—of any socioeconomic standing—to experience anything.” 0 likes
“He was intelligent but still intelligible.” 0 likes
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