The cofounder and former chief executive of struggling Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC has joined Hong Kong-based visual effects studio Digital Domain Holdings, according to an exchanges filing Friday.
Peter Chou’s appointment as executive director and member of the executive committee will take effect as of August 31, though the move does not signal his exit from HTC.
In March, Chou was replaced by Cher Wang as chief executive, following three years of poor sales, but stayed on as head of HTC’s Future Development Lab.
Chou’s move makes sense from a strategic perspective, considering HTC’s push into virtual reality with Vive. The Hong Kong visual effects studio earlier this year formed a joint venture called IM360 with Dallas-based Immersive Media for its own push into VR content.
I'm not kidding when I say @htcvive is the greatest experience I've ever had in my life. no joke. no sarcasm. I'm blown away. 15/10. my LORD
— Sky Williams (@SkyWilliams) August 28, 2015
While HTC’s immediate goal in the VR space appears to be gaming and entertainment, it noted in a blog post Thursday that there are “rumblings of the potential of VR in medical science and training, architecture, and other areas many of us haven’t even considered.”
Clearly this move by Chou is a further sign of HTC’s intentions to double-down on its VR efforts and build out more synergies with leaders in the space. While Immersive Media is known for its 360-degree video technology, Digital Domain is seen as pushing the envelope in motion capture and computer generated imagery.
Digital Domain says it has worked on visuals for more than 100 movies, including Iron Man 3, the Transformers series, and Titanic.
On Friday, consumers keen to get their hands on HTC’s Vive were left disappointed when the company announced that initial shipments of its VR goggles are going to be limited, and not available until the first quarter of 2016.
We’ve reached out to HTC and Digital Domain for further comment, and will update you if we hear back.
Update: HTC offered the following comment to VentureBeat:
HTC is working with over a hundred content developers on our world-class virtual reality platform, such as our collaboration with WEVR. HTC has different levels of engagement with these strategic partners; Peter currently holds a directorship with one of our partners to assist them in steering the global development of virtual reality content and production. HTC will continue to seek good partnership opportunities that provide synergy for our innovative technologies.
Check out HTC’s latest video from this week to get a glimpse into what it’s doing with Vive: