A still from "Dear Angelica." Allsbrook is hoping that the vr tools of the future, of which Quill seems to be at the forefront, "help us to work together with our friends to make complete worlds for our viewers to walk around in, and change. I'm sure this is something we will see from most direct VR creation tools in the coming year." A still from "Dear Angelica." Allsbrook is hoping that the vr tools of the future, of which Quill seems to be at the forefront, "help us to work together with our friends to make complete worlds for our viewers to walk around in, and change. I'm sure this is something we will see from most direct VR creation tools in the coming year."
BusinessVR

Facebook Shuts Down Oculus Story Studio, Its VR Filmmaking Group

Without any warning, Facebook announced this afternoon that it would shut down its Oculus Story Studio division.

Story Studio, launched in January 2015, was the filmmaking group within its virtual reality division Oculus. The unit counted former Pixar employees Saschka Unseld and Max Planck among its senior management; Unseld was creative director and Planck was the technical director.

The group, headed by Edward Saatchi, had been tasked with investigating the possibilities of non-linear, real-time, and augmented reality storytelling, and had created projects such as Henry and Dear Angelica, the latter of which made use of a custom drawing tool called Quill.

In a blog post explaining the decision, Jason Rubin, vp of content at Oculus, said that while Facebook was shifting away from internal content creation, it would remain committed to the vr film and creative content ecosystem. The company says that it is reallocating resources from Story Studio to fund third-party vr artists and developers:

Last year, we committed an additional $250M to fund vr content from developers all over the world. That investment supported games like Robo Recall, Rock Band VR, and Wilson’s Heart, plus powerful vr experiences like Through the Ages from Felix & Paul and the Follow My Lead experience featuring the 2016 NBA finals.

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 wrote that Facebook will also continue to provide resources and programs to help creators get started in vr, including tutorials, production and distribution tips, best practices for vr development, and chances to connect with leaders in the community.

While all of the Story Studio projects that had been in production have been cancelled, Facebook is inviting the fifty employees in the Story Studio division to apply for other positions within the Oculus group. Among the projects that had been in development within the unit was a virtual reality adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s The Wolves in the Walls.

  • alt animation podcast

    Makes sense in a way, no one is buying VR to watch films. Facebook invested in the tech to make a virtual hangout space

  • This is a surprise. This studio motivated/inspired me to get into VR storytelling. I still look forward to hearing the production postings on the Oculus website. The talented Goro Fujita – nooo!

  • Pedro Nakama

    In a related story it seems like they want to make movies now.
    http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/04/facebook-jhiring-film-producer.html

    • Daikuma Forest

      They’re looking for a producer, which means they don’t want to fund it by themselves.

  • Cameron Ward

    Sad, but i’m not surprised. I don’t know anyone who has VR and uses it for nothing, but games. Even that Oscar nominated short that was made with the use of VR in mind felt fine without it.

    • KW

      Its a new toy that anyone technology or CG related is desperate to find a use for when really its best application is games. Im still baffled why Facebook was even interested in Occulus to begin with. They dont make games, they know nothing about making games and its use outside of games is limited. There’s even Ad agencies trying to figure out uses for VR, but really who needs to watch a commercial in VR?
      The real non-game related tech people should be jumping on is augmented reality. That has far more real-world practical uses.

      • It wouldn’t surprise me if it’s going through a sort of growing pains phase at the moment.

  • Strong Enough

    how did divisions like that even make money?