Facebook Is Shutting Down Its Award-Winning Oculus Story Studio

Zarathustra[H]

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Facebook announced yesterday evening that it will be shutting down it's Oculus Story film studio. This has been a quite surprising move to many in the industry, as the studio has been the recipient of awards, notably an Emmy for it's interactive short-story Henry, about a lonely, prickly hedgehog. Support will also be ending for the Quill authoring tool developed by the studio in order to enable VR content development. The tool may be open-sourced. Facebook has emphasized that it is not giving up on story-telling on the VR platform, but rather that it is shifting strategies away from developing that content itself, to investing in and supporting 3rd parties in doing so, and has pledged an additional $250 million to support this effort.

For a company like Facebook, $250 million seems like it would be a pittance. It is a pity they couldn't seem to find the funding to both keep an award winning VR studio alive and invest in third parties at the same time.

“We’re going to carve out $50 million from that financial commitment to exclusively fund non-gaming, experiential VR content,” Rubin said. “This money will go directly to artists to help jumpstart the most innovative and groundbreaking VR ideas.”
 

ManofGod

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It's what? Never heard of it but, then again, I am not going to buy some overpriced, exotic VR toy either. (That goes for the HTC Vive as well.)
 

HeadRusch

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There's no revenue stream in creating this content, its basically wasted cash. They already have a few shorts under their belt, which is all they need to demo the units, in the end I think "Making VR Movies" has probably exploded somewhere...and they figure why spend $250m to own a movie studio full of creatives when they can just use that money to buy from 3rd parties.

Remember this group was created when there really were no 3rd parties...now that there are, they're shopping around rather than rolling their own. Financially it makes sense.

ALso, if you asked any VIVE or OR fan, I doubt "short films" is on their top list of things they want to see the technology used for :)
 

oldmanbal

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All 250 million will hinge purely upon timed exclusivity. I don't know a single person that has currently purchased VR strictly for non-gaming scenarios either.
 

Elios

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another nail in Oculus rifts coffin. Shows that Facebook is starting to lose faith in Rift platform....and VR in general.....Thats the way I perceive it....

your not wrong they couldnt find a way to monetize it like they thought they could to much push back wouldnt be suprised if they sold off Oculus soon for pennies on what they bought it for

and joe sixpack just doesnt care about VR or have the hardware for it
 

MaZa

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There's no revenue stream in creating this content, its basically wasted cash. They already have a few shorts under their belt, which is all they need to demo the units, in the end I think "Making VR Movies" has probably exploded somewhere...and they figure why spend $250m to own a movie studio full of creatives when they can just use that money to buy from 3rd parties.

Remember this group was created when there really were no 3rd parties...now that there are, they're shopping around rather than rolling their own. Financially it makes sense.

ALso, if you asked any VIVE or OR fan, I doubt "short films" is on their top list of things they want to see the technology used for :)

On the contrary, a "short films" are exactly what they are hoping for. Just not the kind the Facebook was creating... :p
 

DeathFromBelow

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it's facebook, who cares? Who even knew about this stuff? Who's even affected?

Desperate VR fanboys?

This whole 'VR revolution' seems to be dying out. Next to no good content despite millions in investment, next to no user base despite widespread fake hype and astrotur... I mean, online engagement and retail store demos. We'll see what happens with games like Fallout, but they needed that sort of stuff at launch.
 

Elios

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price is still the biggest issue 400bucks +500 to 1000 for hardware to run it
 

Spire3660

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Desperate VR fanboys?

This whole 'VR revolution' seems to be dying out. Next to no good content despite millions in investment, next to no user base despite widespread fake hype and astrotur... I mean, online engagement and retail store demos. We'll see what happens with games like Fallout, but they needed that sort of stuff at launch.
Its not dying out, we are in the 'trough of disillusionment' period of the evolution of the tech.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hype_cycle
 

tetris42

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Desperate VR fanboys?

This whole 'VR revolution' seems to be dying out. Next to no good content despite millions in investment, next to no user base despite widespread fake hype and astrotur... I mean, online engagement and retail store demos. We'll see what happens with games like Fallout, but they needed that sort of stuff at launch.
VR is here to stay, but it could be permanently sentenced to niche enthusiast use, like multi-monitors, SLI, steering wheels, surround sound, etc. without some real changes. Fallout is definitely going to be a good test, since I can't imagine how you get around in that game without motion sickness. It's a major AAA game, so I can only imagine they've invested time into figuring that out. If they can solve that somehow, then I think VR may have a much brighter future ahead. If not, then yeah, niche use.
 

M76

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Its not dying out, we are in the 'trough of disillusionment' period of the evolution of the tech.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hype_cycle
That cycle only applies to successful products. There were tons of hyped products that never made it because of various factors.

This is at least the third attempt of VR to get a foothold. I think it's too early to tell if this time it's going to make it or not.
 

M76

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VR is here to stay, but it could be permanently sentenced to niche enthusiast use, like multi-monitors, SLI, steering wheels, surround sound, etc. without some real changes. Fallout is definitely going to be a good test, since I can't imagine how you get around in that game without motion sickness. It's a major AAA game, so I can only imagine they've invested time into figuring that out. If they can solve that somehow, then I think VR may have a much brighter future ahead. If not, then yeah, niche use.
VR cannot work as a niche product. It needs too much investment from game developers to support. Either it will get the critical mass in user base and then it stays or it doesn't and then it goes away.
 

Spire3660

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VR cannot work as a niche product. It needs too much investment from game developers to support. Either it will get the critical mass in user base and then it stays or it doesn't and then it goes away.

I would worry about this more if UE4 and Unity werent so accessible. IF the VR industry went tits up today, i still have enough gear and software right now to make compelling content. TO me your comment is sort of akin to saying 'Youtube needs big hollywood productions or it wont make it!!!"
 

tetris42

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VR cannot work as a niche product. It needs too much investment from game developers to support. Either it will get the critical mass in user base and then it stays or it doesn't and then it goes away.
I'm not sure what you mean. Steering wheels are a pretty good analogy. Those take a lot of hardware to make, need software support, have a specialized use, yet Logitech, Thrustmaster, and others keep making them because there's a die-hard enthusiast audience for them. Look at it this way: say every major AAA developer decides VR isn't worth it and doesn't support it. There will still be countless indie projects for it, definitely enough to keep the hardware sales sustainable for a few manufacturers. I mean hell, one of the things I'm most interested in VR is VorpX: the ability to play existing games in my own 3D theater (and not get sick). That sure as hell doesn't get support from the original developers. If you really think VR will just go away completely, I think you don't understand just how big its potential is and how fanatical its userbase (however small) can be also.
 

M76

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I'm not sure what you mean. Steering wheels are a pretty good analogy. Those take a lot of hardware to make, need software support, have a specialized use, yet Logitech, Thrustmaster, and others keep making them because there's a die-hard enthusiast audience for them. Look at it this way: say every major AAA developer decides VR isn't worth it and doesn't support it. There will still be countless indie projects for it, definitely enough to keep the hardware sales sustainable for a few manufacturers. I mean hell, one of the things I'm most interested in VR is VorpX: the ability to play existing games in my own 3D theater (and not get sick). That sure as hell doesn't get support from the original developers. If you really think VR will just go away completely, I think you don't understand just how big its potential is and how fanatical its userbase (however small) can be also.
Not the hardware cost the hardware pays for itself. The extra effort game developers have to put in their games to support VR.
Steering wheels are just like any other analog controller, they don't need extra support from software. It all works trough the same interface as any analog game controller. So if they have a directinput interface where the player can bind controls to axes that's all it takes to support a steering wheel. Yet some racing games still don't do it.
VR on the other hand, that needs a ton of work from any game to get right. As you yourself already mentioned trough the example of fallout. If some devs think it's not worth to support steering wheels because it's too niche market, then why would they support VR that costs much more to do, if it remains a niche market? Sure some fringe element will develop games specifically to VR, but AAA type big name games won't care about it if it remains a niché. Because if they make the game VR only they shoot themselves in the foot cutting off 90% of the user base. Hence my original statement that VR cannot work as a niche product. You can play a racing game without a steering wheel, but you cannot play a VR game without a VR set. That's a world of difference right there.
I think we're still very much in the inflated expectations state, that's why some developers are throwing money at it still.
 

tetris42

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Not the hardware cost the hardware pays for itself. The extra effort game developers have to put in their games to support VR.
Steering wheels are just like any other analog controller, they don't need extra support from software. It all works trough the same interface as any analog game controller. So if they have a directinput interface where the player can bind controls to axes that's all it takes to support a steering wheel. Yet some racing games still don't do it.
VR on the other hand, that needs a ton of work from any game to get right. As you yourself already mentioned trough the example of fallout. If some devs think it's not worth to support steering wheels because it's too niche market, then why would they support VR that costs much more to do, if it remains a niche market? Sure some fringe element will develop games specifically to VR, but AAA type big name games won't care about it if it remains a niché. Because if they make the game VR only they shoot themselves in the foot cutting off 90% of the user base. Hence my original statement that VR cannot work as a niche product. You can play a racing game without a steering wheel, but you cannot play a VR game without a VR set. That's a world of difference right there.
I think we're still very much in the inflated expectations state, that's why some developers are throwing money at it still.
I would argue there are many more variables expected for a game to support a racing wheel properly instead of just analog input, but that's besides the point. I follow everything you're saying until you say that VR cannot work as a niche product. Why? Again, if every AAA developer decides VR is not worth it and doesn't code for it, that still leaves countless indie projects and uses on VR, even if it never catches on for the mainstream. So why exactly can it not survive as a niche product if it has a core consumer base?
 

nysmo

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I'm not sure what you mean. Steering wheels are a pretty good analogy. Those take a lot of hardware to make, need software support, have a specialized use, yet Logitech, Thrustmaster, and others keep making them because there's a die-hard enthusiast audience for them.
Yeah but thats because there are quality games that dont require extra hardware so content creators can create racing sims knowing that a wide audience of users can play them. VR developers have only one target audience, people with VR systems. Thats not a very big audience. There just arent any good VR games and I dont think there ever will be.
 

M76

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Yeah but thats because there are quality games that dont require extra hardware so content creators can create racing sims knowing that a wide audience of users can play them. VR developers have only one target audience, people with VR systems. Thats not a very big audience. There just arent any good VR games and I dont think there ever will be.
There is one good VR game I can think of. Star Trek Bridge Crew.
Only hiccup that it doesn't just require me to have a VR set, but also at least 2 or 3 friends to also have it, who are also Star Trek fans. Great idea, doomed to obscurity and failure. Everyone is hyped up about that game, but who's gonna play it?
 

M76

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I would argue there are many more variables expected for a game to support a racing wheel properly instead of just analog input, but that's besides the point. I follow everything you're saying until you say that VR cannot work as a niche product. Why? Again, if every AAA developer decides VR is not worth it and doesn't code for it, that still leaves countless indie projects and uses on VR, even if it never catches on for the mainstream. So why exactly can it not survive as a niche product if it has a core consumer base?
What variables? If you don't specify that seems just empty rhetoric. Most games with cars at least support analog stick input trough a controller. So they're already almost there, yet they don't care about going the one extra step needed to support wheels.
Racing wheels work as a niche product becuase they're easily accessible, as in cheap, you can get a decent wheel under $100 and they don't need high end hardware to get an acceptable experience.
VR sets are expensive. if you want the full experience you need to pay close to $1000 excluding the beefy hardware needed to support a decent VR experience. I don't know if I forked out at least $2000 for a gaming PC and $1000 for a VR set, I wouldn't be satisfied with playing obscure indie games on it.
 

tetris42

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What variables? If you don't specify that seems just empty rhetoric. Most games with cars at least support analog stick input trough a controller. So they're already almost there, yet they don't care about going the one extra step needed to support wheels.
Racing wheels work as a niche product becuase they're easily accessible, as in cheap, you can get a decent wheel under $100 and they don't need high end hardware to get an acceptable experience.
VR sets are expensive. if you want the full experience you need to pay close to $1000 excluding the beefy hardware needed to support a decent VR experience. I don't know if I forked out at least $2000 for a gaming PC and $1000 for a VR set, I wouldn't be satisfied with playing obscure indie games on it.
Few things:
-For extra variables, have you ever played a game with a wheel? There's more involved than just left / right mapping. If you drive over a bumpy road, that will cause certain vibrations, if you're driving over gravel, it will cause another pattern. if you're skidding, that will make one side lock up and increase resistance so you have to turn harder, whatever, this part doesn't matter, it was just an analogy, if you don't like the specifics of it, ignore it.

-News flash, VR sets aren't always going to be this expensive. It's a lackluster product, but you can get the Pimax for $300 currently. I imagine in 5 years production costs will be easier and prices will come down.

-You're really hurting your own credibility in this forum claiming you need a $2000 PC to handle high end gaming / a VR set. That's a line straight from the console people who've never done any PC gaming.


Again, you haven't explained why VR devices CAN'T WORK as a niche product. There will be indie games and other projects coming out for VR independent of whether AAA developers adopt it. I imagine most will be of questionable quality, with a few niche games that enthusiasts really latch on to. Again, VorpX let's me play games that AREN'T DESIGNED FOR VR in a 3D environment. That alone I think is fantastic. If that's ALL I could run in VR, that would be enough for me personally. I imagine most VR enthusiasts will have at least one program for them personally that makes VR worth it, and more will continue to come out, just not AAA developer experiences.

So boil it down for me: if manufacturers can profit on the hardware, and indie developers can profit on the sales (or hell, like indie games today, enough individual keep making the games whether they profit or not), and the VR consumer base (however small) remains die-hard on the medium, how exactly does that NOT translate to a niche market?
 

M76

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Few things:
-For extra variables, have you ever played a game with a wheel? There's more involved than just left / right mapping. If you drive over a bumpy road, that will cause certain vibrations, if you're driving over gravel, it will cause another pattern. if you're skidding, that will make one side lock up and increase resistance so you have to turn harder, whatever, this part doesn't matter, it was just an analogy, if you don't like the specifics of it, ignore it.
Have you? Because it doesn't seem so. I've been playing racing games with various wheels for at least 18 years. Force Feedback is an option, not a requirement. Not all wheels support force feedback anyway (well maybe the ones you can buy currently all do I'm not sure) but I owned wheels in the past that had no force feedback, and they still worked. And all wheels with force feedback have the option to enable basic centering force in them in case you play a game that absolutely don't support it. And actually stick rumbling works as force feedback effects. You can't back out by saying I don't like your argument. When your argument is clearly not valid. And this in no way addressed my main argument on why wheels are not a good comparison: You can play racing games without a wheel, you cannot play VR games without a VR set.

-News flash, VR sets aren't always going to be this expensive. It's a lackluster product, but you can get the Pimax for $300 currently. I imagine in 5 years production costs will be easier and prices will come down.
Being obnoxious about it won't make your arguments stronger. In order for good VR sets to get cheaper they need to push great volumes of it. It might get cheaper it might not. Currently price is prohibitively expensive. We can't disregard linear time here. And say but in the future they'll be cheaper. If they don't fade to obscurity before that then they possibly can get cheaper. But I wouldn't bet on it right now.

-You're really hurting your own credibility in this forum claiming you need a $2000 PC to handle high end gaming / a VR set. That's a line straight from the console people who've never done any PC gaming.
How else can you get 120 fps out of modern games if not with that? You need twice the frames to feed VR. And motion sickness gets worse the lower the FPS. At the least you need 45 fps / eye which is 90fps total. How can you get that with a cheap rig in modern games? You might be able to compromise and go lower in price, . maybe you can get down to $1200-1400 range and still be able to enjoy VR. That's still a big investment. But then you're already turning down graphics settings in some cases.Honestly I have no clue how VR can even work on a console.

Again, you haven't explained why VR devices CAN'T WORK as a niche product.
Not "it can't work" What might prevent it to work. Claiming to know something for sure when there are so many variables at play would be extremely bold.

So boil it down for me: if manufacturers can profit on the hardware, and indie developers can profit on the sales (or hell, like indie games today, enough individual keep making the games whether they profit or not), and the VR consumer base (however small) remains die-hard on the medium, how exactly does that NOT translate to a niche market?
I made some points that can prevent it from becoming a successful product. It might even get big and everyone will need a VR for gaming, or it can become a niche product despite the reasons I cited. Or it can become yet another footnote in the history of gaming. I'm not convinced either way. If you don't let wishful thinking cloud your judgement about VR, then you can see this one is not in the bag yet.
 

tetris42

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M76 said:
VR cannot work as a niche product.
M76 said:
Hence my original statement that VR cannot work as a niche product.
M76 said:
Not "it can't work" What might prevent it to work.
M76 said:
It might even get big and everyone will need a VR for gaming, or it can become a niche product despite the reasons I cited.
Well now we're arguing over nothing then. I was arguing against your claim that you doubled-down on saying that it CANNOT WORK as a niche product. I think that's ridiculous. Since you're backpedaling now and saying it COULD work as a niche product, I'm not arguing against anything. The gaslighting doesn't help the discussion.
 
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