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Oculus to close in-house Story Studio

However, the hardware firm vows to continue supporting non-gaming VR content with $50m fund

Oculus will be closing the VR studio behind the shorts Lost, Henry and Dear Angelica.

Story Studio was formed two years ago as a means to "inspire traditional filmmakers" to invest in VR, said Oculus' Jason Rubin.

However, the firm has decided to wind down the studio as it shifts away from first-party development to offering support to external developers instead.

"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," Rubin wrote in a blog post. "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."

Rubin goes on to list the investments the company has made already, which includes $250m of funding to support games like Robo Recall and Rock Band VR, plus VR 'experiences' such as Through the Ages and Follow My Lead.

Rubin now says it is going to allocate $50m of that money to "fund non-gaming, experiential VR content."

"This money will go directly to artists to help jumpstart the most innovative and groundbreaking VR ideas," he continued. "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."

He continued: "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."

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