In a surprise announcement, Oculus, owned by Facebook, said it would “wind down” Story Studio, its award-winning VR film unit. The company said in a blog post it “decided to shift focus away from internal content creation to support more external production.”
Established two years ago, Oculus Story Studio created three influential VR movies — Lost, Henry and Dear Angelica. Henry even won an Emmy for Outstanding Original Interactive Program. Oculus Quill, a VR drawing tool, was developed by the Story Studio team for internal use and later released to the public.
The VR movies will remain available for download after Story Studio is gone, and it appears that Quill will continue to be supported at least for a while. However, the fate of Talking with Ghosts, an upcoming project that has not been released, is uncertain.
Even though it will shift focus towards helping third-party VR content creators, Oculus says it will remain supportive of “non-gaming and experiential” VR, to the tune of at least $50 million. The money will come from the $250 million fund that the company pledged to spend to nurture the VR ecosystem in 2016.
“This helps us turn our internal research, development, and attention towards exciting but unsolved problems in AR and VR hardware and software. We’re still absolutely committed to growing the VR film and creative content ecosystem,” said Oculus VP of content Jason Rubin.
Oculus says that it will try its best to get the now redundant staff positions at Facebook.