Ocuuls shared some surprising news earlier this week when it announced that it was officially shutting down its film studio, called Story Studio, and that it would be redirecting its efforts and funding towards third-party content creators that are creating for the VR platform. This could immediately be taken as a bad thing since the easiest part to focus on is that Oculus is shutting down a part of their company, but on the contrary, Oculus shutting down this part of the company is not all bad, in fact it should be seen as mostly a good thing.
For starters, Oculus already confirmed that no one would be let go and that everyone will be able to find new roles at either Facebook or Oculus. That doesn't necessarily mean that everyone will stay, but the opportunity is there for everyone to continue working within the company which means all of that talent can be directed towards other projects, which means that other projects will have some good talent and future content from those other projects could be some amazing content. Alongside the roles of everyone at Story Studio having the ability to work in a different role at the company if they so choose, with Oculus being able to shut down that area of their company they have more funding to put towards other things. This of course was already mentioned in their announcement and is not a new detail, but let that sink in for a minute. Oculus didn't have to let anyone go and now they have more funding to put elsewhere.
Sure, now that Story Studio is closing and any projects that were being worked on are being stopped immediately, it means that we'll never get to see or experience those projects, which might be a bit of a letdown to anyone that was looking forward to seeing Wolves in The Wall, the forth film that was in development. As Oculus mentioned though, now they can use the extra funding to support third-party content creators who are also working on using VR as a narrative art form. This means that there is potential for some really great content coming from these other third-party creators and perhaps even more so now that they will have support from Oculus.
It's also opening up Oculus to having more time to devote to figuring out other issues with virtual reality and augmented reality technology. As Oculus stated in their official announcement that went out yesterday, their attention can be focused on solving problems with AR and VR hardware and software. This is a good thing for the VR industry as a whole as there are still some issues with both the hardware and software which could do with some extra attention, and now Oculus is going to be able to provide that extra attention.
In the long run this turn of events should be a good thing for Oculus and virtual reality, though it will be hard to tell how much this benefits the VR industry or Oculus themselves right now since they just made the announcement on May 4th. Looking at the bigger picture though, Oculus seems to feel confident that it was the right move as they believe in the third-party VR creators that are developing VR films and other non-gaming content for the platform. There's every possibility that whatever is being created by some of these other companies will be just as good or better than what Oculus was doing, and perhaps now Oculus will be able to improve VR in other ways too.