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Oculus signs deal to build out its VR movie library

Oculus signs deal to build out its VR movie library

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Oculus might have put a heavy focus on games for the consumer Rift headset, but it's also trying to shore up other parts of its catalog before the launch. The company has signed a deal with Felix & Paul Studios — one of the most prominent names in virtual reality film — to produce an unspecified number of experiences. (We could probably just call them "films," but the lines between different kinds of interactive content remain a little blurry.)

We don't know exactly what projects will come out of the deal, but co-founder Felix Lajeunesse says that "each project born out of our partnership with Oculus will be an occasion to explore VR’s unprecedented potential to immerse viewers in human-driven experiences in the fields of fiction and non-fiction storytelling as well as music and the performing arts." These will be distributed to both the high-end Oculus Rift and the more modest Gear VR, a mobile headset powered by Samsung's Galaxy S6. The exact timeline isn't clear, but experiences will be released "at launch and thereafter," which means at latest they'll start coming out in the first quarter of 2016 with the Oculus Rift. An "Innovator Edition" of the Gear VR is currently on sale.

The two companies have worked together less officially for some time, and Gear VR owners can already find Felix & Paul's work in the Oculus library. The studio is probably best known for Strangers with Patrick Watson, a short film that pairs VR video with incredibly precise 360-degree sound. More recently, it's behind tie-ins for the films Jurassic World and Wild, both of which appeared on the Gear VR. Oculus, meanwhile, will be producing its own VR films separately through Story Studio. The first, Lost, premiered early this year, and follow-up Henry will appear July 28th.