Facebook Inc’s virtual reality content production unit, Oculus’ Story Studio, is shuttering its doors to shift focus on supporting external content makers, the company said on Thursday, two years after the in-house studio launched.
Oculus, which makes virtual reality headsets Rift and Gear VR, will allocate $50 million to directly fund creators of non-gaming VR content, Jason Rubin, the company’s vice president of content, said in a blog post.
Rubin added that Oculus is “still absolutely committed to growing the VR film and creative content ecosystem.”
Facebook paid $3 billion to acquire Oculus and retain its employees in 2014. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said he believed the medium that offers a 360-degree panoramic view using headsets “will become a part of daily life for billions of people.”
Oculus tapped talent from both Oscar-winning animation company Pixar and the video gaming world to head up Story Studio, which it launched in January 2015 at the Sundance Film Festival.
Facebook’s VR ambitions have been threatened somewhat by a lawsuit from video game publisher ZeniMax Media Inc accusing Facebook and Oculus of infringing ZeniMax’s copyrighted software code.
A jury found in ZeniMax’s favor in February, awarding it $500 million. Oculus has asked for a new trial.
Vive, a unit of HTC Corp, and Sony Corp are also racing to bring virtual reality products to a mass audience.
Oculus debuted its first short film called “Lost” at Sundance two years ago, a story of an animated mechanical creature in a forest.
Last year, Story Studio won an Emmy for original interactive program for its short VR film “Henry,” and at Sundance this year, it premiered “Dear Angelica,” an illustrated film of a mother and daughter.
But internally, Oculus has undergone some changes in its management in the past year.
Brendan Iribe stepped down as CEO in December, saying he was going to head up the PC division of the VR company. In March, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey, who created the prototype Oculus headset, parted ways with Facebook.
(Additional reporting by David Ingram; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
‘Go look at President Trump’s Twitter’: Portland right-wing rally organizer claims ‘mission success’
The organizer of a far-right rally in Portland, Oregon claimed the event was a "success" after President Donald Trump attacked Portlandiers protesting the group.
"A confluence of protesters on opposite ends of the ideological spectrum merged on Portland’s waterfront Saturday in a tense but relatively uneventful face-off that brought national attention, including a tweet in the hours before the protest by President Trump decrying the city’s signature anti-fascist movement," the Oregonian reported Saturday.
When a similar right-wing rally in Charlottesville, Virginia killed Heather Heyer, Trump argued there were "fine people" on both sides of the "Unite the Right" rally.
Why was Jeffrey Epstein buying size 5 women’s panties — while in jail?
The Miami Herald has another bombshell report on Jeffrey Epstein, who died in a Manhattan jail while waiting to stand trial on federal sex crimes charges.
"A decade ago, during a brief stint in Palm Beach County Jail, convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein made an odd purchase at the facility’s store: two pairs of small women’s panties, size 5," the Herald reported Saturday night.
The newspaper noted, "the panties raise questions about why a childless male inmate, accused of sexually abusing girls as young as 14, would be allowed to buy female undergarments so small that they wouldn’t fit an average-sized adult woman."
White nationalist Republican ridiculed after only 2 people show up for his town hall meeting
Embattled Rep. Steve King (R-IA) suffered further humiliation on Saturday when only two people showed up for his town hall meeting with Iowa constituents.
King, who was stripped of all committee assignments for his white nationalism, was been an embarrassment for Republicans with his constant racism and misogyny.
A photo of the town hall meeting was posted on Twitter by Reuters photo editor Corinne Perkins.
Rep. King was quickly mocked in the comments.
Here's some of what people were saying: