Since its consumer release last year, Oculus Rift has provided an outlet for creators to experiment with new ways of storytelling, while the Oculus Story Studio – which experimented in VR narrative experiences – is closing as Oculus is reshuffling its internal development and structure.
In a blog post from the company, Oculus announced that Oculus Story Studio will be “winding down,” with the studio having been formed in 2015 to experiment with narrative storytelling and original features created and displayed in virtual reality. In the time since its founding, the Oculus Story Studio released three VR shorts – Lost, Henry, and Dear Angelica – and received an Emmy Award for its second project, Henry.
Oculus’ Jason Rubin explained in the statement that “at the dawn of the modern VR revolution, Oculus launched Story Studio to prove the possibility and allure of a new art form: real-time storytelling,” adding that the intention was to “inspire traditional filmmakers—and a new generation of storytellers—to invest in VR.”
Rubin stated afterward that “we’re now entering the next chapter of VR development, where new creators enter the market in anticipation of adoption and growth,” with the company “looking at the best way to allocate our resources to create an impact on the ecosystem.” Ultimately, Rubin explained that the company has decided “shift our focus away from internal content creation to support more external production,” with Oculus Story Studio closing as a result of the company’s restructuring.
Despite the closure of Story Studio, Oculus’s post explained that “we’re still absolutely committed to growing the VR film and creative content ecosystem,” with the company to focus on “funding and supporting” the content of filmmakers and other creators in an external capacity, rather than dedicating to internal productions within the company.