Two years ago, 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. Story Studio created a series of cutting-edge VR shorts, including Lost, Henry, and Dear Angelica, that would inspire traditional filmmakers—and a new generation of storytellers—to invest in VR.
We’re now entering the next chapter of VR development, where new creators enter the market in anticipation of adoption and growth, and we’ve been looking at the best way to allocate our resources to create an impact on the ecosystem. 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.
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. This helps us turn our internal research, development, and attention towards exciting but unsolved problems in AR and VR hardware and software.
We’re still absolutely committed to growing the VR film and creative content ecosystem.
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.
We’ll also continue providing resources and programs to help creators get started, including video tutorials, production and distribution tips, best practices for VR development, and chances to connect with leaders in the community. In the past year, we saw great work come out of Oculus Launch Pad and our VR for Good initiative. Stay tuned for more information on our 2017 creator programs.
In the same way we invested in the third-party game developers who made the incredible content lineups for Rift and Gear VR, we’re going to allocate more resources to third-party creatives to build out the VR storytelling library.
Lost,Henry, Dear Angelica, and Quill set the foundation upon which VR storytelling sits today. The Story Studio team are pioneers in VR development, and their groundbreaking works will continue to be available on the Oculus Store. Story Studio did an incredible job sharing their behind the scenes tips and techniques with the community—from how to preserve rich colors in VR film to open sourcing the Unreal Engine project and assets for Henry—and we’ll continue to make this information available to developers.
Our goal is to inspire creators across all mediums and genres—filmmakers, musicians, painters, writers, cartoonists, and more—to bring their VR ideas to life. There are a lot of awesome things about to be made, and we can’t wait to see them!