Luckey was born in Long Beach, California on September, 19, 1992. His father Donald was a car salesman and his mother, Julie, a stay-at-home mom who homeschooled Luckey and his three younger sisters.
Throughout his childhood Luckey loved to tinker with electronics, building his own computers or gaming devices.
For a while, he became fascinated by lasers and burned a small blind-spot into one of his retinas while experimenting with them.
To help support his varied interests, a 16-year-old Luckey set up a business fixing iPhones and then selling them unlocked online. He made at least $36,000.
He became interested in virtual reality in particular thanks to his love of video games. He spent tens of thousands of dollars to build a six-monitored computer. But even that wasn't immersive enough for the kind of gameplay he envisioned, so he thought, "Why not just put a small screen directly on your face?"
At 17, in his parents garage, Luckey started building the Oculus prototype that he eventually launched on the crowd-funding site Kickstarter, where it raised an astounding $2.4 million.
At that point, Luckey had already connected with a gaming entrepreneur named Brendan Iribe. Luckey had stopped using a cell phone because he felt paranoid about government surveillance, but agreed to meet Iribe at a steak house. The two hit it off, and Iribe and a few of his friends invested some of their own money to help Luckey launch the Kickstarter. They called the company Oculus VR and Iribe became CEO. It was a good bet to make.
Luckey's vision for Oculus at the time reads quite ironically now, post-Facebook acquisition. "I won’t make a penny of profit off this project," he wrote at launch. "The goal is to pay for the costs of parts, manufacturing, shipping, and credit card/Kickstarter fees with about $10 left over for a celebratory pizza and beer."
The blockbuster campaign and subsequent demos of Oculus *really* put Luckey and his virtual reality headset on the map. The company started getting all sorts of inbound interest, including from Chris Dixon at VC firm Andreessen Horowitz.
Dixon passed on funding at the time — the headset still required duct-tape to function — but it didn't matter: Oculus VR scored $16 million in funding in June 2013.
Not six months later, the big bucks rolled in. After seeing an updated demo of the device, Dixon finally felt convinced and Andreessen Horowitz led a $75 million round of funding that December.
It was Dixon (who described his Oculus experience as like being teleported) who first connected Iribe and Facebook CEO Zuckerberg. Zuck loved his first demo in one of Facebook's offices so much that he flew over to the Oculus office to check out the latest version.
The two companies signed a $2 billion acquisition deal in March 2014.
The deal sky-rocketed Luckey's net-worth to about $500 million. He was only 21.
A chunk of Luckey’s newfound wealth went to buying a party house in the ritzy Silicon Valley town of Atherton. He lives with seven friends in a home he calls "The Commune," where they all spend hours playing video games. This is an example of a home you might find in Atherton.
Luckey spent a lot of his time in an executive-level suite at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, but he was still very laid-back. "There’s a lot of people here who know all about Oculus but don’t know who I am,” he told Forbes.
Luckey is known for his casual look — he typically sports a Hawaiian shirt and sandals, but he has said that he'd prefer to be barefoot. "We invented shoes to protect our feet from the harsh environment," he told The Telegraph. "But I live in modern-day California. It’s pretty safe here. Nothing’s going to happen if I take them off."
Oculus has moved its headquarters to Silicon Valley, but there are still some departments housed in the company's old, street art-filled offices in Irvine.
Luckey's one splurge since the Facebook deal has been a $120,000 Tesla Model S. "[Elon Musk] is a cool guy who deserves my money," he told the Telegraph. He later told Forbes, "I figure you can buy a Tesla and not be too snooty."
He also drives a 1986 GMC van that reportedly has a red shag carpet inside.
The 24-year-old has a good sense of humor and is known for being a bit of a showman. He once threw out t-shirts during Oculus' mixer at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
Luckey was featured on the cover of Time Magazine.
The cover totally blew up — but probably not like Time expected it to. People started creating hilarious photoshops of Luckey's image in random scenarios, making fun of how goofy the photo made virtual reality look.
Luckey seemed to have a sense of humor about it, though, and retweeted both of these images:
Despite Luckey's desire to stay out of the limelight, he was pushed into it after a report found, in the run-up to the US presidential elections, Luckey was funding the pro-Trump group NimbleAmerica, which wanted to change the media discussion through "shitposting" and "meme magic."
Luckey confirmed he had donated $10,000 to the pro-Trump group, but denied he had been posting pro-Trump comments on Reddit.
He was back in the spotlight when he testified in January 2017 at the trial of Zenimax, which accused him of stealing the technology for the Oculus Rift.
A month later a jury ordered Oculus to pay $500 million to ZeniMax for violating a non-disclosure agreement and copyright infringement.
All of that controversy culminated with an announcement from Facebook on Thursday that Luckey would be leaving the company.