Oculus to focus on partnering for gaming, film, and non-gaming VR.
Facebook and Oculus are closing the doors on their virtual reality-specific film studio, Story Studio, despite its track record of producing award winning short films. The goal is to channel those resources into providing technology for others who are already working the VR space rather than produce original content.
Instead, Oculus will focus on being a major partner for gaming and film, and more importantly, allocating a high multi-million dollar amount of money for “artists making ‘non-gaming’ experiential VR.”
In a statement about the decision, Jason Rubin, Oculus’s vice president of content, said, “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.”
Facebook acquired Oculus in 2014, investing heavily in both the tech and the software side of things while keeping all of the company’s employees in the program. Now, with the shift away from original content, Facebook has agreed to offer any extraneous personnel a position elsewhere within Oculus or their holdings, or allow them to look for VR work elsewhere.
While some are speculating about the coincidental timing of the closure – coming on the the heels of an executive leaving and the loss of one highly expensive lawsuit – this is not the first time a major player in tech has decided to step away from the creation of competing products (in this case, content) in order to shift focus. Apple has only recently re-entered the self-driving car sphere, for example, after initially stepping away to focus on developing the software that other companies could then license.
Of course, Oculus isn’t out. The $250 million budget speaks to new innovation and a better overall experience, one that other companies are already lining up to use.