Oculus announced it’s shutting down movie rentals and purchases through its Oculus Rift video app, effective today.
According to a statement emailed to Rift users, Oculus says they’ll be reimbursing customers who purchased videos in the past through the Oculus Video app on Rift. Customers will have access to their purchased videos until November 20th, after which the company says users “will no longer be able to access any purchased or rented movies through Oculus Video, but you can continue to watch video and streams from other sources, such as Facebook 360.”
Oculus Go and Samsung Gear VR will still have access to video on demand, including purchases and rentals, as the company firmly maintains its mobile headsets are primarily for media consumption, and not gaming like on Rift.
Here’s Oculus’ reasoning behind the move, as emailed to users:
“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. These insights inform how we support new and existing features and apps across the platform.”
As an open platform with access to third-party apps, it’s clear why paid video on demand wasn’t nearly as profitable as the company would have hoped. Rift users can already watch streaming services such as Netflix in apps like BigScreen or Virtual Desktop, and view their own local content through Oculus Video, which can be obtained from elsewhere easily enough.
The move comes in concert with the news that Oculus co-founder and former CEO Brendan Iribe is stepping down from his position as head of PC VR at Facebook, and leaving the company entirely.