Melita Creator Future Lighthouse Shutting Down

by Jamie Feltham • January 18th, 2018

Creative VR studio Future Lighthouse is set to close its doors nearly three years after its launch.

Lighthouse, which was dedicated to pushing the boundaries of VR storytelling (and wrote about its work on Upload late last year), worked on 18 VR productions over the past few years. That includes Melita, a stunning animated story for Oculus Rift and Gear VR as well as several projects created in partnership with other companies like Sony’s Crackle streaming service. The team was often featured at VR festivals, garnering 40 awards for its work. Despite this, Future Lighthouse did not reach its capital raising goals in the last year.

In a blog post on Medium, Future Lighthouse founder Roberto Romero wrote the early decision to “put everything out there” and hire a large team instead of growing organically as the reasons for its struggles.

“VR investors have been overly conservative and we didn’t catch the first wave of investment in 2016,” Romero wrote, “making our more than necessary second funding round in 2017 unsuccessful.”

Despite its infancy, VR isn’t a stranger to studio closures. Last year saw EVE Online developer CCP Games close down its VR-dedicated Atlanta studio, while Sony shut the doors of RIGS creator Guerrilla Cambridge just over a year ago today. The relatively small install base of headsets right now can make it a challenge to sell software. While Future Lighthouse did sell one of its creations, Melita, much of its work was released for free with funding coming from partners.

Future Lighthouse does still have a few months ahead of it, though, and in that time it will be looking to sell off some of its in-house IP as well as find new jobs for its team.

“We didn’t make it, but we’ve enjoyed the ride,” Romero wrote. “And, foremost, we believe the best part of the VR industry is the people we’ve met.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the writer of the blog post detailing the closure of Future Lighthouse.

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