Friday May 05, 2017

Facebook Is Shutting Down Its Award-Winning Oculus Story Studio

Facebook announced yesterday evening that it will be shutting down it's Oculus Story film studio. This has been a quite surprising move to many in the industry, as the studio has been the recipient of awards, notably an Emmy for it's interactive short-story Henry, about a lonely, prickly hedgehog. Support will also be ending for the Quill authoring tool developed by the studio in order to enable VR content development. The tool may be open-sourced. Facebook has emphasized that it is not giving up on story-telling on the VR platform, but rather that it is shifting strategies away from developing that content itself, to investing in and supporting 3rd parties in doing so, and has pledged an additional $250 million to support this effort.

For a company like Facebook, $250 million seems like it would be a pittance. It is a pity they couldn't seem to find the funding to both keep an award winning VR studio alive and invest in third parties at the same time.

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"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."