The Google Spotlight Stories are officially closed, as Executive Producer Karen Dufilho announces in an official email to Variety. The VR-Filmstudio is well known for VR animated films like Age of Sail and Pearl.
Google Spotlight Stories – VR movie studio closes after six years
In an email to Variety, Karen Dufilho, executive producer of Google Spotlight Stories, announces the closure of the VR animation studio:
“Google Spotlight Stories closes its doors after over six years of work in which we’ve created stories and published them on cell phones, screens, in VR, and anywhere else we could get away with it.”
Just recently, those in charge published the narrative VR experience Age of Sail by John Kars:
However, creative staff members will not be dismissed but will be given the opportunity by the employer to reside in other positions within the company.
The Spotlight Stories team originally started under Motorola to develop future storytelling projects for mobile devices. Later, they became part of Google’s Advanced Technologies and Products (ATAP) department. Within the company, the artists produced various 360-degree videos and VR experiences, mainly for the Google Daydream and Cardboard.
Within the projects, they worked with, among others, Glen Keane, Justin Lin, Jorge Gutierrez and Aardman Animation (known for Wallace and Gromit).
The VR short film Pearl by Patrick Osborne even won an Emmy in the Outstanding Innovation category in 2017.
The closure is due to the lack of monetization possibilities of the work of the team. Google is said to have invested significantly high sums in the Spotlight Stories to increase the medium VR and thus the sales of the Daydream glasses.
While the ambitious film projects had a positive effect on the development of the VR, the Google Daydream could benefit only moderately from the success. The VR movies were always offered for free from the Google Spotlight Stories.