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Facebook Shutting Down Oculus Film Studio

06 May, 2017, 02:52 | Author: Abraham Jackson
  • Courtesy of Oculus

In a company blog post, Oculus' vice-president of content, Jason Rubin, said that the company had chose to shift its focus away from internal content creation to "support more external production".

The Story Studio's first project was Lost in early 2015, followed by the Emmy award-winning Henry, about a cute hedgehog having a birthday party, in 2016.

Announcing the tactical retreat Oculus VP of Content Jason Rubin commented: "After careful consideration, we've made a decision to shift our focus away from internal content creation to support more external production".

Story Studio launched previous year as Oculus VR's attempt to boost the popularity of virtual reality for non-gaming use, something Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg pushed heavily as a core part of his vision following the company's acquisition.

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Instead of creating its own content, Oculus said it will provide financial resources to the tune of $50 million to third parties looking to develop "non-gaming, experiential VR content". Among the projects that had been in development within the unit was a virtual reality adaptation of Neil Gaiman's The Wolves in the Walls.

But in the years since, competitors such as PlayStation VR and HTC Vive have surged and Oculus headsets have not sold as well as the company had hoped. Critically, it did just that, with the likes of Dear Angelica - a story of a teenage girl told through a multi-dimensional series of paintings.

Oculus Stories was responsible for the majority of short, not-very-interactive VR films available on Oculus Rift's download store in its first year of existence. "The closure of this short film-centric studio probably makes sense in the long run". He added that this money will go directly to the artists to "jumpstart the most innovative and groundbreaking VR ideas...."

In its unhappy ending, Story Studio couldn't even manage to be original. The move marks a shift in Facebook's policy as the company branches off from being one that focuses on the creation of VR content to one that propels it by other means. Story Studio had about 50 employees and is based in Menlo Park, Calif. More recently, Facebook launched Spaces - its virtual chat room, complete with cartoonish avatars, customizable environments and various multimedia offerings.

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