Sunday, 19 November, 2017

Oculus is winding down internal Story Studio

Courtesy of Oculus Courtesy of Oculus
Lucas Bell | 06 May, 2017, 02:44

Oculus, Facebook's VR company, has chose to shut down its Emmy Award-winning film division, Story Studio, just two years after opening it.

In an effort to continue its creative development in virtual reality (VR), Kickstarter success Oculus announced it was shutting down its Story Studio.

The social networking giant said Thursday that its Oculus virtual reality unit would shut down Story Studio, a virtual reality film studio that debuted in 2015 with hires from big entertainment companies like Pixar.

But now that other studios, some large and some independent, have started to produce high-quality virtual reality films, Facebook will likely look to push boundaries elsewhere in less-developed aspects of the medium.

Oculus, which is owned by Facebook, will focus on supporting and funding third-party content creators, turning its attention internally to the "unsolved problems in AR and VR hardware and software". In early 2014, it invested $2 billion on Oculus. The once-forthcoming "The Wolves in the Walls", an adaptation of a story by American Gods author Neil Gaiman, has reportedly been canceled. That was followed by the Emmy-winning "Henry" in 2016 and "Dear Angelica", which premiered at Sundance in January of this year.

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Last year, Oculus committed $250 million to fund VR content from developers all over the world. He added that this money will go directly to the artists to "jumpstart the most innovative and groundbreaking VR ideas...." This means, first and foremost, closing down Story Studio.

The Story Studio team built some of the most visually exciting and technically progressive VR experiences we've ever seen.

Oculus' decision in March to drop the price of its Rift headset and Touch controller bundle from $798 to $598 is not the sort of thing a company does when its products are flying off the shelves. The Oculus Story Studio has 50 employees who are being encouraged to apply to other areas of Oculus.

Based on a recent study of 2,000 US consumers, the VR/AR Insights Consortium (a group formed by Magid and counts members such as A+E Networks, Best Buy and Turner) estimated that there are 44 million consumers who are "in-market" for virtual reality, meaning they are planning to buy a VR device in the near future.

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