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Facebook closes the door on Oculus Story Studio for new VR horizons

The expansion of animation expressed through virtual reality (VR) has been constantly evolving thanks to the experimentation from numerous different studios. Daring to take the take the next step in creating innovative experiences that will captivate audiences like never before. One such group is the Oculus Story Studio. The same group responsible for quite a few stand out animated shorts, such as the Emmy Award winning "Henry", "Dear Angelica", and "Lost". They are also responsible for developing Quill, a VR creation platform where content creators can literally sketch and pain on a virtual canvas to tell their stories.

As the market for VR continues to expand, with other studios taking their shot at this new form of experimental filmmaking, the time is ripe for exploration on what the medium is capable of. As a result, Oculus Story Studio has announced that they will be shifting their focus from creating their own content to supporting the work of others.

Jason Ruben, the VP of Content for Oculus Story Studio, recently released a blog post detailing the studios newfound commitment and how it they will be shifting from creating internal content to external production.

"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." - Says Ruben.

Ruben goes on to talk about the Studios financial commitment to this external focus. Citing their $250M investment which funded VR content across the globe, such as: "Through the Ages" by Felix & Paul and "Follow My Lead".

"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."

While this is certainly a large step away from VR content that has made Oculus Story Studio a big name in the VR community, Ruben concluded his post on an optimistic note.

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...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."

While some may see this as a setback for the studio, the new direction also offers some intriguing possibilities on expanding VR technology through cooperation with other studios. Potentially fine-tuning the medium for even more breakthroughs and jaw-dropping shorts.

Regardless, Animation for Adults would like to wish the wonderful creators at Oculus Story Studios good luck as they start down their new path.

For more information, you can find Jason Ruben's blog post here.