Oculus closes the curtain on its VR film studio and intends to make its tools open source

Oculus is closing down its award-winning VR film studio, Oculus Story Studio, and intends to make its tools open source.

The award-winning studio is responsible for some of the most groundbreaking VR film content yet – including short films such as “Dear Angelica” and “Henry” which stole the hearts of many viewers. The latter won both an Emmy and BAFTA award.

“We’ve been looking at the best way to allocate our resources to create an impact on the ecosystem,” said Oculus VP of Content Jason Rubin in a blog post. “After careful consideration, we’ve decided to shift our focus away from internal content creation to support more external production. As part of that shift, we’ll be winding down Story Studio.”

Strategically, it’s a good decision for Oculus. The company has shown the possibilities of VR for filmmaking and inspired third-party creators to pick up the mantle with their own leading content – of which there is now plenty.

During the recent BAFTA awards for VR, standard cinematic content won five of the 35 awards while ‘Interactive Cinema’ won a further five. Nine awards were also won in the ‘Experience’ category where film-related content also featured heavily.

While it’s sad to see Oculus Story Studio close its curtains, the company is now able to focus its efforts on providing the best place for developers and other creators to realise their virtual reality visions. To that end, Oculus intends to make its Story Studio tools open source.

Quill is an authoring tool which enables animators to draw 3D scenes while wearing an Oculus headset and has been available for free on the Oculus Store. This is one tool the company is looking to open source – which could mean future support for other VR headsets. Oculus itself, however, will no longer be providing active support for it.

Oculus, and its owner Facebook, will continue to fund non-gaming VR content. During its Oculus Connect developer conference last year, Rubin said: “We’re going to carve out $50 million 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.

Would you be interested in Oculus’ Story Studio tools? Let us know in the comments.

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