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Martin Rae leaves AIAS for VR firm Vreal

"I've got religion about virtual reality and augmented reality," said Rae

With DICE Europe kicking off today in Barcelona, it's been revealed that Martin Rae, president of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS), is stepping down from his post. Rae remarked in an interview with GamesBeat that the pull of virtual reality was too much for him to ignore, and so he's joining Vreal - a VR livestreaming startup headed by Todd Hooper - to head business development.

"I'm from Seattle, and I'm an entrepreneur," Rae said. "I always said I would join a company where it had a really good founder. It's back in Seattle. And I've got religion about virtual reality and augmented reality. This fit all of those things, and so, I decided to do it."

Rae noted that the decision to leave has been in the works for a while now and he'll be out by October. AIAS has not made any announcements about a replacement for Rae, but the organization, which has six full-time employees, is in good shape, Rae said.

"I'm leaving a great team behind," he said. "Most of the people have been there longer than I have. It is the best team I've ever worked with. We are gearing up for a very nice DICE Summit for the 20th anniversary in February.

"The mission is all around recognizing talent in the industry with the awards show and being a thought-leadership conference. As long as it was on mission, the board always liked experimentation. The industry has a little ways to go in celebrating the achievements of our industry in a very public way. It is driving the entertainment industry. It is driving VR. The film industry looks to us for leadership. We have super creative people. I'd like to see us publicly recognize that. I'd like to see the DICE Awards become a much more household celebration for people who love games."

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