Instead of making its own virtual reality content, Facebook is closing the doors of its Oculus film studio and will instead spend more on content produced by outside sources.
Oculus launched Story Studio two years ago with the goal of making VR shorts in the narrative storytelling vein. But after looking at the best way to allocate the company’s resources, Oculus says it’s time to wind down the content unit.
Now that a large community of filmmakers and developers are committed to the narrative VR art form, we’re going to focus on funding and supporting their content,” Oculus VP of Content Jason Rubin wrote in a blog post. “This helps us turn our internal research, development, and attention towards exciting but unsolved problems in AR and VR hardware and software.”
Story Studio won an Emmy last year for original interactive program for its short VR film Henry. It also premiered a VR illustrated film called Dear Angelica at Sundance this year.
While the three films its made so far will still be available in the Oculus Store, all ongoing projects are being canceled and the studio’s 50 employees have been encouraged to apply for other jobs within Oculus.
Facebook isn’t done with narrative storytelling, however, and is instead throwing another $250 million into content produced by outside partners. A lot of that will go toward narrative storytelling.
“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.”