One of the longest serving members at Oculus, Joe Chen will be a familar face to anyone who has followed that company’s meteoric rise over the last few years. But now, he’s moving to pastures new, jumping ship to VRSE.Works, an organisation specialising in short-form VR experiences.
Anyone who has attended industry shows or events where Oculus has been in residence over the last few years (that’ll be most of them then) may well recognise Joseph Chen. He’s been Oculus’ Product Lead and Technical Producer since the company’s inception, post Kickstarter in 2012. Chen was often found, can of Red Bull in hand, demonstrating Oculus’ latest hardware to gamers at their stand.
It seems though that Chen is now set to leave the company credited with revitalising the virtual reality industry. In a press release from VRSE.works, who describe themselves as “…an international collection of forward-thinking artists using cutting-edge technology,” the company states:
VRSE.works announced today that Joseph Chen will be joining in a newly created role as Executive Technical Producer. Chen’s understanding of virtual reality and its myriad possibilities makes him an excellent fit for VRSE. Chen has worked alongside an impressive array of creative minds in realizing their visions through virtual reality.
VRSE.works was formed earlier in the year by director Chris Milk and Producers Patrick Milling-Smith and Brian Carmody. An independent production company, VRSE.works seems to be seizing the virtual reality gauntlet with verve and vigour having already seen various projects début at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Projects like Evolution of Verse a “…photo-realistic CGI-rendered 3-D virtual reality film that takes the viewer on a journey from one beginning to a new beginning.” You can check it out on iOS or Android if you’ve got a VR smartphone adapter.
More recently, VRSE.works partnered with the UN at the World Economic Forum in Davos with their 360 VR video project Clouds Over Sidra, which aimed to highlight the plight of Syrian refuges through an immersive documentary film. The film was screened to delegates at the forum using Samsung’s Gear VR headseat, resulting in some extraordinary images.
We’ll miss Joe at our regular Oculus rendezvous, but look forward to seeing what VRSE.Works has in store for virtual reality with him on board.