Facebook Is Shutting Down Its Award-Winning Oculus Story Studio

Story Studio was founded in 2015 and produced the Emmy-winning animated VR short Henry, which stars Elijah Wood as the titular lonely hedgehog.

Rubin emphasized that Oculus isn't abandoning VR film and creative content, saying the company invested $250 million with third-party content producers past year. This means, first and foremost, closing down Story Studio.

"In the same way we invested in the third-party game developers who made the incredible content lineups for Rift and Gear VR, we're going to allocate more resources to third-party creatives to build out the VR storytelling library", the announcement continues.

Rubin details that $50 million of its committed funds will now be set aside for the company to invest exclusively in non-gaming, interactive content.

"Last year, we committed an additional $250 million to fund VR content from developers all over the world", said Rubin. The studio's shorts-Lost, Henry, and Dear Angelica-were polished appetizers created to whet the appetite of the film community for a full course of immersive narrative that VR could offer. Though we still have a long way to go before virtual reality is in its prime, the entire category of technology has been wholly embraced and many creators are working on leveraging the technology for their own creative endeavors. This helps us turn our internal research, development, and focus towards exciting but unsolved problems in AR and VR hardware and software.

Additionally, Rubin also reconfirmed the company's commitment to "providing resources and programs to help creators get started, including video tutorials, production and distribution tips, best practices for VR development, and chances to connect with leaders in the community".

Oculus tells us the decision to close Story Studio is not part of the company's restructure.

According to Variety, the studio had 50 staff that will now be encouraged to seek other roles within Oculus VR and that all future projects are now cancelled.

Fortune contacted Facebook and will update this story if it responds.

  • Arturo Norris