Oculus VP of Content Jason Rubin revealed the news in a recent blog post, saying the company has decided to move away from internal content creation and will now instead focus on supporting more external production. All ongoing projects at Story Studio are being cancelled, with the branch’s 50 staffers encouraged to apply for new jobs within Oculus.
“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,” said Rubin. “This helps us turn our internal research, development, and attention towards exciting but unsolved problems in AR and VR hardware and software.”
Story Studio was founded in 2015 and produced the Emmy-winning animated VR short Henry, which stars Elijah Wood as the titular lonely hedgehog. Just this year the studio premiered Dear Angelica, a VR movie animated within VR itself.
Despite Story Studio’s closure, Rubin emphasized that Facebook and Oculus aren’t giving up on VR storytelling. Last year, Facebook invested $250 million to fund VR content, and it’s “going to carve out $50M from that financial commitment to exclusively fund non-gaming, experiential VR content.”
In other Oculus-related news, Palmer Luckey, the co-founder of Oculus VR and the designer of the Oculus Rift VR headset, left Facebook earlier this year.