Oculus Story Studio, the studio behind Virtul reality (VR) short films like "Dear Angelica" and "Henry" is being shut down. Staff of the Studio are encouraged to apply for new jobs within Oculus, but all of the ongoing projects are being cancelled.
Oculus VP of content Jason Rubin in a blog post : "We've been looking at the best way to allocate our resources to create an impact on the ecosystem, After careful consideration, we've decided to shift our focus away from internal content creation to support more external production. As part of that shift, we'll be winding down story studio."
Three films "Lost", "Henry" and "Dear Angelica" will continue to be available on the Oculus Store. For "Dear Angelica", the Story Studio team also developed an entire authoring tool called Quill that allows animators to drawa 3-D scenes while wearing a headset and that has been available for free on the Oculus store.
Rubin emphasized Thursday that Facebook isn't giving up on narrative storytelling in VR. The company pledged top invest another $250 million in VR content produced by outside partners at its Oculus Connect developer conference last year, and Rubin said Thursday that narrative storytelling is a big part of that commitment.
“We're going to carve out $50 million from that financial commitment to exclusively fund non-gaming, experiential VR content,” Rubin said. “This money will go directly to artists to help jumpstart the most innovative and groundbreaking VR ideas.”
The closure of Oculus Story Studio is just the latest of a number of significant changes at Facebook's virtual reality unit in recent months. Facebook spent $2 billion on Oculus in early 2014, and initially granted the company a lot of autonomy. But more recently, Facebook has been moving to exercise greater control over Oculus, which included the demotion of former Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe and the hire of former Google and Xiaomi exec Hugo Barra to lead all of Facebook's VR efforts.