Oculus to Shut Down Its Narrative VR-Focused Story Studio 

The company had created projects starring Elijah Wood and Geena Davis in-house, but will pivot to working with outside filmmakers.
Courtesy of Oculus VR
Oculus vp content Jason Rubin

Oculus are officially shutting down their narrative filmmaking branch, Story Studio.

Jason Rubin, vp content at Oculus, announced the news Thursday in a statement: "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."

Begun in 2015, Story Studio was Oculus' foray into "real-time storytelling," which included VR shorts such Henry, an animated story of a lonely hedgehog starring Elijah Wood, and Dear Angelica, the tale of a young woman (Mae Whitman) reading a letter from her departed mother (Geena Davis). The project premiered at Sundance.

"Now that a large community of filmmakers and developers are committed to the narrative VR art form, we’re going to focus on funding and supporting their content," Rubin continued. "This helps us turn our internal research, development and attention towards exciting but unsolved problems in AR and VR hardware and software."

The news follows other recent announcements from the company that include the resignation of co-founder Palmer Luckey following criticism he received for donating funds to an anti-Hillary Clinton group during the 2016 election as well as a $500 million jury verdict finding the company liable for copyright infringement in February.

"Last year, we committed an additional $250M to fund VR content from developers all over the world," said Rubin. "We’re going to carve out $50M from that financial commitment to exclusively fund non-gaming, experiential VR content. This money will go directly to artists to help jumpstart the most innovative and groundbreaking VR ideas."

Rubin concluded the statement by saying, "Our goal is to inspire creators across all mediums and genres — filmmakers, musicians, painters, writers, cartoonists, and more — to bring their VR ideas to life. There are a lot of awesome things about to be made, and we can’t wait to see them!"

You can read Rubin's entire statement here.

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