Oculus Shuts Down VR Story Studio

Posted May 06, 2017

Story Studio, which created VR short films including "Lost", "Henry", and "Dear Angelica", placed some of its focus on sharing with and educating the larger VR content ecosystem. In 2016, the studio's short VR experience Henry won an Emmy for Outstanding Original Interactive Program and at the last Sundance the studio showed off another VR short called Dear Angelica, which received many positive reviews.

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.

Soon after this, Facebook and Oculus VR set up one of the first major VR movie studios, Oculus Story Studio led by a Disney Pixar veteran.

The Oculus division of Facebook would also continue to develop software and hardware to help creators working with VR, he said.

Rubin said he and his colleagues are more committed than ever to growing the VR film and creative content ecosystem.

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Vive, a unit of HTC, and Sony are also racing to bring virtual reality products to a mass audience. Oculus will now be focusing its attention on investing in VR as compared to actually creating new stuff.

With the studio's closure, Oculus VR will now create a $50m fund to back experimental, non-gaming VR content. All three were critically praised, and they remain some of the best-known pieces of virtual reality cinema - which makes it unclear whether the industry is actually mature enough to fill the gap Story Studio will leave.

Recently, Oculus weathered the departure from Facebook of its founder, Palmer Luckey, and a $500-million judgment against Facebook and Oculus founders after a jury found Oculus violated a nondisclosure agreement with a video game company. He added that this money will go directly to the artists to "jumpstart the most innovative and groundbreaking VR ideas...."

But it was evident at F8 that Facebook now expects that potential will be realized in augmented reality, which can be done using smartphone cameras, without exiling people from actual reality.

But why are they "winding down" the Story Studio at Oculus? The Oculus Story Studio has 50 employees who are being encouraged to apply to other areas of Oculus.