Published: Sat, May 06, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Merle Christensen

Facebook's Oculus Shuts Down In-House VR Content Production

Facebook's Oculus Shuts Down In-House VR Content Production

In an apparent setback for VR filmmaking, Oculus has abruptly announced that it will shut down its Story Studio division, founded in 2014 to create examples of VR narratives for filmmakers interested in making 360 video content. Over the course of its short history, Story Studio put out a series of short VR films, including Emmy Award-winning Henry, and created tools to assist artists in creating within a virtual environment.

The VP of Content at Oculus, Jason Rubin further stated they would be diverting its resources into developing more VR content from sources external to the company.

"VR is is technology that gives us something that no other technology has before, a magical feeling of presence", she said, omitting the magical unpleasantries associated with VR, "the sense that we're really there together, even when we're apart".

Oculus said that $50 million of the financial commitment will now be used to exclusively fund non-gaming, experiential VR content.

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Oculus is now looking to fund and support external creative talent and they are to focus their efforts on "internal research, development, and attention towards exciting but unsolved problems in AR and VR hardware and software".

He added that Oculus is "still absolutely committed to growing the VR film and creative content ecosystem".

According to the analyst, sales of VR headsets like the HTC Vive and Facebook's Oculus Rift are slower than expected. This makes "Dear Angelica", the movie made within VR itself.

Before that, Oculus lost its CEO, Brendan Iribe, and, after the trial, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey, creators of the first Oculus headset prototype, left the company under a cloud. However, I did think the Story Studio would stick around for a bit longer, especially since short films like Henry and apps like Quill are held in such high regard. Yesterday, it was announced that Facebook is closing the Oculus Story Studio permanently. The Oculus Story Studio has 50 employees who are being encouraged to apply to other areas of Oculus. But in February, Facebook announced that it was to abandon nearly half of its virtual reality demo stations in Best Buy stores due to lack of interest.

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