Oculus Story Studio, the division behind immersive virtual reality (VR) behind Lost, Henry, and Dear Angelica will now shut down Oculus has confirmed.
In a blog posting Jason Rubin, VP of Content wrote: “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. After careful consideration, we’ve decided to shift our focus away from internal content creation to support more external production.
“As part of that shift, we’ll be winding down Story Studio.”
Rubin adds that because so many developers and filmmakers are producing immersive content Oculus will help and support them rather than create its own, enabling the company to concentrate on internal research and development towards the advancement of VR hardware and software.
In 2016 Facebook committed $250 million USD to fund VR developers and that’s set to continue. But $50 million from that pot will be used for non-gaming content, as well as continuing programmes that provide creators with an opportunity to step into the field with video tutorials, production and distribution tips and best practices for VR development.
The announcement adds to Facebook’s gradual assimilation of the Oculus brand ever since it bought the company in 2014. In recent months that has become more pronounced with CEO Brendan Iribe stepping down in December to lead an internal group focused on PC VR. Instead of appointing another CEO Facebook hired the vice president of Chinese tech giant Xiaomi, Hugo Barra, to head the Oculus division.
And let’s not forget Palmer Luckey, Oculus’ co-founder and for the most part the face of the company for many years. He suddenly disappeared in September 2016 after suffering a backlash due to his support for Nimble America. He then returned to social media last month after Oculus announced he’d be leaving.
The company that started this VR revival is slowly becoming no more, and whether Facebook keeps the brand remains to be seen. As ever, keep reading VRFocus for the latest updates.