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Facebook Discontinues Movie Rentals, Purchases on Oculus Rift

Facebook’s VR subsidiary Oculus is shutting down its VOD efforts on is Oculus Rift headset this week, and is reimbursing anyone who has bought titles in the past. Oculus told Rift users in an email about the changes Monday, and confirmed the move in a comment sent to Variety.

“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,” Oculus said in its email to customers.  “These insights inform how we support new and existing features and apps across the platform.”

The movie store on Rift is shutting down Monday. Consumers who have purchased or rented movies in the past will continue to have access to them until November 20. “After this date, you 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,” the company said in its email.

The decision to shut down the movie store likely has to do with the fact that not many Rift owners were renting movies on the device. Oculus decided to keep VOD rentals and purchases up and running on the Oculus Go headset, which is more about media consumption than hardcore VR gaming.

The move also coincides with an announcement by former Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe about his departure from Facebook. While seemingly unrelated, there still seems to be a common thread connecting those two. Techcrunch reported Monday morning that Iribe’s departure was prompted by a realignment of Facebook’s VR efforts, with the company doubling down on standalone devices like the Go and the upcoming Oculus Quest.

This reportedly also included the cancellation of plans for an upcoming second-generation Rift headset. However, a company spokesperson since told Variety that the company is committed to a future version of the Rift.

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