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Facebook Is Closing Its Oculus VR Movie Studio

Less than two years after launch, Facebook shutters the in-house lab it created to popularize virtual-reality films.

Posted on May 4, 2017, at 7:02 p.m. ET

Facebook is closing Oculus Story Studio, an in-house virtual reality content development arm meant to inspire creators to make virtual reality movies by creating its own high-quality VR films.

The company announced the closing today. “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,” Oculus VP of Content Jason Rubin said.

Story Studio debuted with big expectations in January 2015. Facebook staffed it with a number of veterans from state of the art film and animation companies, including Pixar and Lucasfilm. The company said these experts would share insights and best practices in an effort to help others learn from their work.

Story Studio's first short, Lost, debuted to rave reviews. "I just saw the first movie from Oculus, and it is the future," a headline in The Verge read. The division also won an Emmy for its 2016 film, Henry.

Facebook acquired Oculus in 2014 for slightly more than $2 billion. Since then, the company's virtual reality ambitions have hit some speed bumps. In February 2017, Facebook decided to close 200 of its 500 Oculus demo stations in US Best Buy stories, according to Business Insider. And Oculus founder Palmer Lucky left Facebook in March 2017.

At its F8 conference in April, Facebook introduced Spaces, a social virtual reality experience that allows two people to spend time together in virtual reality, using avatars.

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