Facebook Shutting Down its Virtual Reality Studio

occulus facebook
Photo: Kotaku

Two years ago, Occulus launched its Story Studio to create cutting-edge VR films. The Studio created titles such as Lost, Henry, and Dear Angelica, one of which even received an Emmy award. However, in a blog post earlier today Facebook announced that it will be shutting down Story Studio, and shift its focus on external development.

Penned by Jason Rubin – VP of Content at Occulus – the team is looking to focus on more external production of VR hardware and software. Rubin writes that the company committed $250m in funds towards VR content creation after the decision to shift focus on development of non-gaming content. Rubin said:

“We’re going to carve out $50M from that financial commitment to exclusively fund non-gaming, experiential VR content.”

In other words, one fifth of their content creation budget will go directly to third party artists to jump start more innovative and groundbreaking virtual reality ideas.

We can conclude from the shift in focus that there has been a massive return on investment for third party creatives which developed games for Rift and Gear VR. It seems that Occulus took notice of that trend and decided to shut down their internal content creation team and instead focus on external creators across all types of mediums and genres.

It is nice to see Occulus give back to the community in the sense that they will support and fund more developers to make content for their platform. Utilizing the large amount of developers available across the globe.

The closure of the Occulus Story Studio comes in the midst of major changes in the Occulus team. Recently, their Head of Computer Vision was demoted after an alleged underage sex sting that caught him red handed. Furthermore, after replacing the Head of Computer Vision with the Director of Engineering from Facebook, it seems that Facebook is looking for a more hands on approach regarding its subsidiary after spending $2 billion on Occulus in 2014.

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