Technology

Facebook shuts Oculus VR movie studio

Henry the Hedgehog Image copyright Oculus
Image caption The short VR film about Henry the Hedgehog's search for friends won the studio an Emmy

Facebook is shutting down a studio in California created to make films and other video content for its Oculus virtual reality headset.

The Oculus Story Studio will no longer create its own material but will now help others make VR-ready content.

The studio won several awards for its short VR-ready films, one of which, called Henry, about a hedgehog's birthday party, won an Emmy.

The company has set up a $50m (£39m) fund to pay for non-game content.

It said the closure of the studio did not mean it was abandoning movies and films made for VR.

"We're still absolutely committed to growing the VR film and creative content ecosystem," said Jason Rubin, the company's vice president of content, in a blog.

Mr Rubin said the firm had decided that it would have a bigger impact if it dedicated itself to helping the growing number of film makers and developers creating VR art, rather than spend money on its own creative work.

In total, he said, Oculus would be spending $250m (£193m) to help game makers, developers and movie makers produce VR-ready content.

The Oculus division of Facebook would also continue to develop software and hardware to help creators working with VR, he said.

Staff working for the Story Studio will be able to apply for other jobs in Facebook or look for work elsewhere, said Mr Rubin.

The studio has been closed soon after Oculus founder Palmer Luckey left the company.

Facebook did not say why he left but the departure came shortly after Oculus lost a $500m (£387m) court case against media firm Zenimax which said it stole trade secrets.

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