Facebook closes Oculus Story Studio in favor of funding external VR content


Facebook Inc. is getting out of the virtual reality content creation business with the social networking giant announcing Thursday that it intends to close its Oculus Story Studio.

Since it was established in 2015, the Oculus Story Studio has created narrative driven VR movies and clips to expand the overall content offering within the Oculus VR ecosystem.

The offerings includedg titles such as Henry, a VR short film about a spiky hedgehog that likes to hug people that won an Emmy Award, Dear Angelica and Quill. The decision to close the studio is being pitched by Facebook as a result of the evolution of the VR marketplace where more and more content creators are now creating original content, negating the need for Facebook to do so in-house.

“We’re now entering the next chapter of VR development, where new creators enter the market in anticipation of adoption and growth, and we’ve been looking at the best way to allocate our resources to create an impact on the ecosystem,” Oculus Vice President of Content Jason Rubin said in a blog post. “After careful consideration, we’ve decided to shift our focus away from internal content creation to support more external production.”

Despite walking away from in-house production, Facebook is taking its focus on VR content production seriously.

“Last year, we committed an additional $250 million to fund VR content from developers all over the world,” Rubin added. “We’re going to carve out $50 million from that financial commitment to exclusively fund non-gaming, experiential VR content. This money will go directly to artists to help jumpstart the most innovative and groundbreaking VR ideas.”

Rubin said the goal is to “inspire creators across all mediums and genres—filmmakers, musicians, painters, writers, cartoonists, and more—to bring their VR ideas to life.”

Although Rubin did not comment on the fate of Oculus Story Studio employees, according to Variety “the studio’s 50 staffers are [being] encouraged to apply for new jobs within Oculus.”

Image: Oculus Story Studio