This article was published on October 22, 2018

Oculus pulls plug on Rift VODs in wake of another founder departure

Oculus pulls plug on Rift VODs in wake of another founder departure

Facebook’s Oculus is discontinuing the storefront that allows users to purchase or rent movies to view in their Rifts. Instead, the company says its users are more interested in gaming than they are in anything else.

Besides the store, the company is also reimbursing users for their past purchases — which makes sense, as they’re apparently also cutting off their ability to view said movies. According to Variety, the primary reason for shutting down the store appears to be apathy from users. In an email to consumers, a spokesperson says:

Over the years, we’ve seen how people use VR for everything from gaming to movies, and it’s become clear that while people love to stream immersive media on other devices, Rift is used primarily for gaming.

This might explain why the Oculus’s focus has increasingly been on gaming, especially with the announcement of the Oculus Quest. And if that’s the case, then it may provide an explanation for a much bigger shift that’s happening within the company.

At the same time Oculus made this move, co-founder Brendan Iribe announced via Facebook post he would be leaving the company, ostensibly to take “the first real break I’ve taken in over 20 years.” Rumor (via TechCrunch) has it the reason for his departure is the cancellation of the next-gen Rift 2 headset, as well as “fundamentally different” views on the future of Oculus. Facebook has since denied this.

Whatever his reason may be, Iribe joins a continuous stream of founders running out of Facebook, including Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger of Instagram, and Jan Koum of WhatsApp. Iribe’s fellow Oculus founder, Palmer Luckey left last year amid an apparent political controversy and a massive legal snarl involving ZeniMax.

According to Oculus, users will be able to view their purchased movies on Rift until November 20. Video rentals, meanwhile, will still be available on the Oculus Go headset.

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