XDS 2017 Passes Are Sold Out!
This week, we released our advance program and and announced that XDS 2017 passes are officially sold-out! You can read ...
External Development Summit (XDS) is the only annual, international games industry event held in Canada, with a primary focus on external development for art, animation, audio, software engineering, QA and localization.
Attendees include a concentrated group of game developers, vendors, trade organizations and middleware providers working within external development, representing over 36 countries.
Senior Director Partner Engagement and Product Support WWCE
Jack Wood is a 19 year veteran of the video game industry and has worked for companies such as Electronic Arts, NCSoft and Trion Worlds. He has held a variety of roles over the years ranging from Live Support, QA as well as Production. Today he leads a team within Worldwide Customer Experience where the primary focus is to provide the player support lens within EA Studios and Partner organizations. His team is responsible for the relationships that enable the voice of the player to be heard so that live support issues can be addressed quickly. He is also tasked with working with internal and external partners to develop long range strategic solutions to service challenges.
Vice President, Global Quality Assurance and Localization
As Vice President, Global Quality Assurance and Localization for Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., Michael Gilmartin is responsible for overseeing the testing and localization of all Blizzard products.
Gilmartin arrived at Blizzard Entertainment in 2004 following nearly 15 years of success in positions at several game companies, including SEGA of America, Inc., Eidos Inc., Maxis Software, Inc., and Atari, Inc. Over the course of his career, he has served as a Senior Producer, Designer, Director Quality Assurance, Localization Director, Director of Operations, Studio Head and Managing Director (EU, Korea and Taiwan).
Founder & CEO
Marla Rausch is Founder and CEO of Animation Vertigo, a motion capture animation service provider with locations in the US and the Philippines. Since its founding over 10 years ago, Animation Vertigo sets the standard in motion capture external development, consistently exceeding client expectations with timely, quality results. Rausch’s roster of projects include Call of Duty®: by Activision®, Beyond: Two Souls™, from Quantic Dream™, Mortal Kombat X from Netherrealm, and critically acclaimed Hitman by IO Interactive, to mention a few.
Lead Artist/Outsourcing Art Manager
Alex has worked in the games industry for over 20 years, and has been involved in outsourcing for the past 15. Over the course of his career, he has worked on titles as diverse asGod of War, Transformers, Kung Fu Panda, the Interstate series, and of course Call of Duty, with others in between. A graduate of USC’s School of Cinema/Television, Alex enjoys working on and playing games with a strong narrative and exceptional visual storytelling.
VP of Delivery
Adrian Sosa is the VP of Delivery at Globant for all of their gaming clients. He is very passionate about gaming, which is what he brings to work. Adrian oversees the overall strategy around quality of service and delivery for these accounts, providing the leadership, management and the vision needed. He is an MBA graduate and seasoned operations leader with extensive international experience in business development, partnership building and growth strategies.
Igor Efremov is driving the company’s growth, strategies, and business partnerships. Prior to founding Sperasoft, Mr. Efremov worked for over eight years with Electronic Arts (EA), the world’s leading independent developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software. At EA, he held various senior technical positions including Network Operations Center Lead, and Senior Enterprise System Management Engineer. Prior to EA, Mr. Efremov founded IVEX, LLC, a business integration consulting services company providing IT services to large banks and government organizations in Russia. Under his leadership. Mr. Efremov holds a Master of Social Science Degree from Yakutsk State University, Russia.
Sr. Business Development Manager
Since entering the industry in 2007 Jake has served in key positions related to Product Management, Production, Design, Business Development, Studio Operations, Consumer Sales, Marketing, and PR. As a result, he approaches each production with an intimate understanding of player/audience psychology, publishing strategy, production pipeline optimization, game mechanics/design, and studio management oversight.
During his tenure, he has overseen the release of 10+ internally developed titles and 75+ externally co-developed titles ranging from AAA to indie to mobile, alongside contributions to 15+ theatrically released films as well as 1 animated TV series.
Senior Director - External Partner Relations
EMEA regions Microsoft
Sam came to the games industry with a background in Behavioural Analysis as a consultant specialising in training businesses in negotiation and partnering. Working with a management consultancy group he helped a diverse range of companies from multinationals to supermarket chains as they made the difficult cultural transition into partnering and strategic alliancing. During this time Sam also maintained a passion for comics and gaming; co-founding a comic book studio in the mid-nineties before going on to work freelance in comics, commercial illustration and design. In 2006 he committed full time to games by joining Sumo Digital as an artist and becoming Outsource Manager in 2009. In this position he successfully guided Sumo’s Indian art studio into becoming a fully integrated partner, while managing the developer’s rapidly expanding outsource program which stretched across several simultaneous (often cross-platform) titles for a variety of publishers, including Microsoft, Sony, Sega and EA.
Andrew has a background in technology, manufacturing and business services through corporate development and general management roles within both publicly quoted and private companies. Andrew started his career in 1983 at Rothmans International PLC in production management. From 1986 to 1993 he had responsibility for corporate development activities at Britannia Security Group PLC, TIP Europe PLC and Brent International PLC before holding the position of Divisional Managing Director at Brent International PLC for six years. Andrew was Chief Executive Officer of interactive retail software developer, Unipower Solutions and Head of Retail and CPG for EMEA at NYSE listed advanced analytics business, FICO before joining Keywords as its Chief Executive Officer in April 2009.
Jose Araiza has worked in the gaming industry for over 15yrs and considers himself an avid gamer. His career has taken him through multiple job titles going from QA to production. His production history include titles such as EverQuest, EverQuest 2, and Rainbow Six Siege. Currently at Ubisoft Montreal, Jose is working on the Assassins Creed Origins team as a producer. His role on the team include overseeing the collaboration between Montreal and multiple Ubisoft studios around the world as well as codev engagements with external studios like Sperasoft in Russia.
Senior Sound Desginer
Robert is a Senior Sound Designer with over 10 years of experience working on AAA titles for EA, Sony and Naughty Dog, including the Uncharted series and The Last of Us. In addition he has substantial experience working in traditional linear media such as film, new media and advertising, including Super Bowl spots and YouTube shorts . Educated at the Savannah College of Art and Design he earned 2 BFAs, one in Sound Design and the other in Interactive Game Development. He is currently on staff at Naughty Dog in Santa Monica, CA.
Studio Director, EA Shanghai
Rebecca currently serves as Studio Director at EA Shanghai where she is partnering with global teams in driving for console game content development. Before joining EA, she was the Studio Director for casino games manufacturer, IGT, leading their Interactive business from platform engineering to game development in their Beijing operation. Rebecca also has extended global experience working for technology companies including Microsoft and HP serving in engineering roles for designing and development software.
Director & Head: Business Development
Arjun heads the Business Development for Dhruva Interactive. He joined the company in early 2009 and has joyfully been part of the brilliant ride ever since. Part of the leadership team, Arjun has been a pivotal force behind Dhruva’s expansion of its business, partnerships and brand, and was key in cementing Dhruva’s identity as one of the leading companies in its space. Arjun has been in the industry for 10 years and specializes in International Business, Strategy, Relationships and Marketing.
Interactive Studio Management (ISM)
After a successful career as a TV executive for Nelvana, Sean produced his first video game for Radical Entertainment in 1994. Later, at Electronic Arts, he created and ran a department of a hundred content creators, servicing all of EA’s yearly sport’s titles. After EA, Sean acted as Head of Business Development for Next Level Games and CEO of its publishing entity, Playful Entertainment. In 2009, Sean was named one of Vancouver’s “Top 40 under 40” by Business in Vancouver Magazine. Currently, Sean is a Partner at Interactive Studio Management (ISM), where he assists and consults with game developers worldwide.
Director of Product Development
Jenny is a Director of Product Development at Electronic Arts and part of the Worldwide Studios Content team driving innovation in computer graphics. Jenny has been in the entertainment industry for 16 years and worked in leading companies across gaming, visual effects and feature animation. Throughout this journey, she has managed various AAA title gaming, cinematics and marketing projects, lead teams through the launch of centralization and distributed development at EA Vancouver, pioneered the opening of Industrial Light & Magic’s Canadian studio, and produced VFX for Digital Domain. Jenny has been graced with inspiring mentors throughout her career and strongly believes in giving back, through mentorship and by leading initiatives within EA to forge greater progress in the areas of diversity, inclusion, and opportunity for women. Driven by a passion for creativity, quality, and crafting dynamic, high performing teams, Jenny now manages the organization building innovative CG character performance solutions for EA.
Senior Project Manager
For the past 11 years Erica Mehallo’s career has been centered around all things dialog. She kick started her career at Soundelux DMG, where she specialized in organizing dialog recording for video games. She then spent 5+ years as Dialog Coordinator at Sony Playstation, responsible for casting, recording, editing, implementing, and localizing AAA titles. Erica joined Formosa Interactive in March of 2016 as Senior Project Manager, where she maintains a persistent dedication to streamlining all facets of the dialog process, with a specialized passion for enhancing localization standards and practices for video games.
Vice President of Creative Services
An award winning Executive, Audio Director, and Composer, Paul entered the game industry in the late 90‘s and quickly made an impact working with AAA game clients. He has worked with a dazzling array of platform holders and publishers like Microsoft Studios, SEGA, 343 Industries, Ubisoft, LucasArts, 2K Games, Sony Computer Entertainment, EA, Hewlitt-Packard, Harmonix, etc. Recent AAA game credits include Halo Wars 2, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Halo Online, Halo: Spartan Strike, Forza Motorsport 5, Halo: Spartan Assault, Crimson Dragon, Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary, Kinect Disneyland Adventures, Microsoft Flight, Infamous 2, Halo: Waypoint, 5th Cell’s Hybrid, Rocksmith, Bioshock 2, Iron Man 2, Lego Indiana Jones:The Adventure Continues, and many more. Paul and his team won BEST ORIGINAL INSTRUMENTAL at the 2015 GANG Awards, BEST ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK ALBUM at the 2014 GANG Awards, the BEST INTERACTIVE SCORE and BEST USE OF LICENSED MUSIC awards at the 2012 GANG Awards, and the BEST AUDIO – OTHER Award at the 2011 GANG awards/GDC for work on the Halo Universe. Paul was also awarded the G.A.N.G. DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD at the 2006 GANG Awards/GDC for his wide-ranging work in interactive audio.
Paul is extremely passionate about audio and the advancement of the video game industry, and currently serves as the Vice President of Creative Services at Formosa Interactive, and was previously Senior Audio Director at Microsoft Studios/343 Industries. He is concurrently active on the Board of Directors of the Game Audio Network Guild (GANG), the world’s largest organization of game audio professionals. He has conducted panels, lectures, and master classes at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale University, Berklee College of Music, Musician’s Institute, SIGGRAPH, GDC, GameSoundCon, Pyramind Studios, AES Conference, New England Conservatory, Art Institute San Francisco, GRAMMY Soundtables and More.
Paul holds a BM and MM with summa/highest distinction from the world-renowned New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.
Director of External Production
While he spent many years in live-action production and VFX, since 2006 Dennis Cooper’s experience in the entertainment industry includes developing protocols to vet third-party companies, identifying types of work to be done externally, and identifying opportunities for and negotiating strategic alliances with companies worldwide. In February 2015, Dennis joined Telltale Games as Director of External Production with the task of developing a comprehensive external production program and increasing utilization of the program to all parts of the pipeline.
Rod is the Studio Head & Creative Director of The Coalition (a first party Microsoft studio) where he is once again in charge of development of the Gears of War franchise.
Rod previously oversaw the development of the highly rated BioShock Infinite as Irrational’s EVP of Development. He joined Irrational after seven years with Epic Games, where he led the development of the billion dollar Gears of War franchise. Prior to Epic, Rod had a 10-year career with Microsoft, which included seven years as a Producer with Microsoft Game Studios.
Richard Ludlow is the Audio Director at Hexany Audio, a Los Angeles-based sound and music studio specializing in audio for games and VR. Richard oversees both the creative and business aspects at Hexany, and has worked on projects for Disney, Activision, Ubisoft, Universal, Tencent, NetEase, Coca Cola, Ford, and many more. His credits include games in the AAA console, indie, social, and mobile spaces as an audio director, sound designer, and composer.
Art and Outsource Supervisor
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Masashi Otake is an Art and Outsource Supervisor at Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE), with more than 13 years of game industry experience. Since joining SIE, he has led the outsourcing of game art assets for more than 10 software titles, including Days Gone, Spiderman, Knack series, MLB The Show series and Death Stranding. Masashi’s hands-on role as a developer and previous experience as a vendor/supplier supervisor, allows him to continuously improve the quality and efficiency of SIE’s outsourcing pipeline.
Sr. Director of WW External Development
Jason Harris is Senior Director of Worldwide External Development at Electronic Arts overseeing a central team which supports EA game teams with art, animation, audio, cinematics, game development, and engineering external development as well as manages EA’s pool of external partners. Jason’s team supports titles such as FIFA, Battlefield, Star Wars, Plants vs. Zombies, Need for Speed, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, UFC, NHL, The Sims, Star Wars, The Simpsons, and many more.
Gilles founded Virtuos in October 2004. He was previously Worldwide Managing Director of ubi.com, Ubisoft’s online division, responsible for the group’s online strategy and businesses.
Ubisoft built its success on a strategy of distributing development to multiple high-quality / low-cost international production studios. Gilles played a key role in this strategy by setting-up and managing the group’s studios in Shanghai and Beijing from 1997 to 2000. He and his team built these studios into the largest in China at the time, with more than 300 employees.
Gilles entered the gaming industry in 1995 as a Producer, after working 3 years in retailing and management consulting.Educated in France and the UK, Gilles holds a Masters degree from HEC, France’s leading Business School.
Over 20 years of games industry experience in many varied roles including programmer, project manager, production director, engineering manager and executive product manager. Having spent time in both small & agile start-up environments, and large corporations, Richard joined the award-winning d3t team as their GM, a 40-strong group of game development specialists, offering work-for-hire development services.
Having experience of being a buyer and a vendor of engineering services, Richard can paint a balanced picture of the engineering outsourcing landscape. Dispelling preconceptions, showcasing best practices and highlight common pitfalls.
Founder & CEO
Harley Zhao is the founder and CEO of Original Force. He taught himself animation while in university. Shortly after graduation, his strong creative impulses led him to strike out on his own from his ordinary IT work. He focused the studio on producing high-quality 3D art and animation for game developers and publishers, eventually leading OF to become one of the foremost animation outsourcing companies. And now he has turned a new page. His Chinese team along with their studio in Los Angeles is now creating feature film work.
Vice President of Creative
Senior Vice President
Mike Verdu is a 25-year veteran of the gaming industry and has served in creative and business roles and both large and small companies. He’s worked on PC, console, social, and mobile games that have generated over $2B in revenues. He’s currently SVP of EA Mobile, overseeing the “pure play” mobile games and studios at EA including Galaxy of Heroes out of Sacramento’s Capital Games, SimCity BuildIt out of Helsinki’s Track Twenty, The Sims Free Play and Real Racing 3 out of Melbourne’s FireMonkeys, Plants vs. Zombies and Bejeweled out of Seattle’s PopCap, and The Simpsons Tapped Out being run in Austin’s Red Crow studio. Before joining EA, Mike was co-President of Studios and Chief Creative Officer at Kabam where he helped implement the company’s triple-A “Fewer, Bigger, Bolder” strategy that led to a sale of the company in 2017. Kabam acquired Mike’s start-up mobile game company TapZen in 2015. Prior to Kabam, Mike served on the c-team of Zynga for three and a half years in the run-up to that company’s IPO and was at EA Los Angeles from 2002-2008 starting as a Sr. Producer and ending up as the VP/GM of EALA.
Ben has over 20 years’ experience in game services BPO, having signed, managed and grown $100m’s of deals for QA, localization and live operations. He has an intimate knowledge of industry best practices through his work with some of the most prominent names in the industry. A co-founder of Babel Media, he took the company from concept to being one of the largest game services providers, it was sold in 2008. Ben then had roles at DDM and VMC before founding DAQA, a new generation game services company in 2017. DAQA specializes in strategically advising developers and publishers to set-up and run global production support operations.
Senior Director of Service Delivery
Mr Van Slyke joined the industry in 1996, with responsibilities spanning multiple domains including engineering, production, and project management. Currently a Sr Director with Sperasoft, he manages engagements with partners such as Ubisoft, EA, Bioware, and WB, to ensure successful collaborations. Prior to this, Mr Van Slyke’s positions included Sr Producer (Epic Games), Director of Production (SCEA / Zipper Interactive), and Lead Architect in the Worldwide Technology division (EA). Alan holds a BS CS, from Seattle Pacific University.
Project Manager - Codev & Outsourcing
Isabelle has worked at Ubisoft for over 12 years. In 2012, she joins the newly formed Codev & Outsourcing team as Project Manager. Based in Montreal, Isabelle’s new role consist of supporting the collaboration strategies of Ubisoft development teams located in the three Canadian studios (Montreal, Toronto and Quebec City). Isabelle enjoys working closely with the production teams to set-up successful collaborations, coordinating co-development mandates with both internal and external partners and sharing best practices to address common challenges related to external development. She holds an Art History Bachelor degree and is a certified Project Manager Professional (PMP).
Ashley is a Shanghai native who grew up on hockey and maple syrup. After seven years of jet-setting corporate life, she gave up the ladder and co-founded Mindwalk Studios based in Beijing. Since its humble beginnings, the studio has built a customer base comprised of top industry leaders who entrust the studio’s artists with world renowned, and original properties. Ashley is passionate about building a well-managed company that treats its employees right. Over the years, Mindwalk Studios has built a reputation of offering quality art outsourcing services with unparalleled customer service in the games industry. Mindwalk was acquired by Keywords Studios last year and Ashley looks forward to building the best art service provider within the larger group.
Senior Art Manager
David Lam has been working in the games industry for over 16 years. He started out locally in Vancouver as a student at VFS and found himself drawn to character art. David has had a long career at Electronic Arts working on titles such as SSX, NBA Street, Need for Speed, FIFA, and NHL. During his time as a production artist, David found enjoyment and fulfillment in teaching. He has taught BCIT, Think Tank Training Center, and VanArts. He has also participated as a demo artist for Wacom. David joined Bioware in 2012 as an Associate External Art Director and has continued there in a broader role as Senior Art Manager supporting the Edmonton, Montreal and Austin studios.
Head of QA
As Head of QA at Riot Games, Darren has the privilege of supporting brilliant, passionate, quality-minded gamers in their quest to provide excellent experiences and maximum value to League of Legends players globally. Darren’s efforts are focused on how Riot delivers fun, high-quality content and features to players with minimal defects by fostering a transformation to shared quality ownership. Before Riot, Darren was at EA for seven years, originally as a QA Engineer and later as a QA Director. Prior to joining the gaming industry, he worked in Silicon Valley and started his career at Nortel Networks in wireless technology. Darren graduated from North Carolina State University with B.S. degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering.
A gaming enthusiast and multitasking ninja, Anika has been involved in the games industry since early 2011. She started her career as part of the production management team at Xentrix Studios specializing in television animation productions. She is currently part of the gaming assets division at A&G Technicolor, India working on EA titles – FIFA, UFC, NFS, Battlefield etc from last 5 years. As part of this role she guides a team of 80 artists and coordinates with EA teams at Vancouver, Sweden and Shanghai.
Senior Director of Business Development
Microsoft Games Studios
Noah Musler began his career in games in 1999 at SEGA of America as a temp tester of 3rd Party games for SEGA Dreamcast. He has since held positions in 3rd Party Publishing, Product Marketing and Business Development. Currently he and his team lead business development for Microsoft Studios supporting Global Publishing for new IP as well as major proven franchises including Halo, Forza and Gears of War. Noah and his team work with independent game development companies around the world to identify exclusive content for Microsoft’s hardware and services. Deals range from technical support work to co-development to end-to-end development of new games.
Living in Bangalore, India for 2 1/2 years and working at the Technicolor Animation & Games Studio. David has over 25 years Computer Graphics and Game Production experience at nobodinos, SONY and Zipper Interactive. Previous experience in Advanced Distributed Simulation for the US DOD and broadcast graphics for KIRO-TV Seattle. Shipped over 17 game titles, for Mobile, PC and AAA console. Credited for technical production, design, development, modeling, animation and management roles. Passionate about everything 3D and in motion!
Carla has been active in the games industry since 2005, where she started out as an Artist at Supersonic Software in the UK. Since then, she has worked her way into the wonderful world of games outsourcing at various studios such as nDreams, Imaginarium, and Lionhead (Microsoft Studios). This year, Carla acquired an Outsource Manager role in Vancouver back at Microsoft Studios (The Coalition), assisting the team with improving and evolving the outsource pipeline, and managing daily communication between vendors.
Senior Manager of Global Production
GM/VP of Product Development
A seasoned studio leader, Jeferson has directly managed teams in Brazil, Romania, Finland, UK, and US, and partnered with teams in several other countries. He has worked at renowned studios such as BioWare, Playfish and Digital Chocolate, and with popular brands such as FIFA, Harry Potter, and Dragon Age.
Associate Creative Director & Supervising Sound Designer
Shannon Potter has worked for over a decade in the video game industry on hundreds of games including many AAA award-winning titles and franchises such as The Last of Us, Call of Duty, Gears of War, Fable, Plants vs. Zombies Heroes and League of Legends.
Before her entry into the video game industry, Shannon worked as an assistant engineer at Willie Nelson’s studio in Austin, Texas. During her time at Pedernales Studio, she helped engineer the Grammy award-winning album for the Los Lonely boys and helped track the pre-recorded music for the movie The Alamo. Shannon quickly made the move to Los Angeles to embark on a career in post-production sound, where she worked regularly as an in-demand recordist, Foley, and ADR specialist for television and film. Her video game career began as the Voice Over Coordinator at Soundelux DMG, then formally moving into the sound design department where she has enjoyed critical acclaim ever since.
Shannon has received seven Golden Reel nominations and has been awarded an MPSE Golden Reel and GANG award for her work on Gears of War 2, a GANG Award for her work on The Last of Us: Left Behind cinematics, and most recently two GANG awards for her work on Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, including Audio of the Year and Best Cinematic/Cutscene Audio. Her leadership and uncompromising sound excellence on Sony’s Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and The Last of Us have earned her world-wide acclaim.
Dilber Mann is a Senior Producer at Microsoft with The Coalition in Vancouver where scalable and distributed development remain a large focus for him.
Since 2006, Dilber has worked onsite with external China partners to build their capability to support the needs of multiple game development studios under various publishers. Through training initiatives that supported the infrastructure and growth capabilities of multiple external teams, Dilber managed a resource pool of 350 resources during peak production in cooperation with a central team. Dilber brings a unique perspective in external development from his years in corporate publishing, onsite management with teams located in China, business mentorship for the Brazil game industry, and working with developers in Vancouver.
Dilber is currently at The Coalition Studios, where he manages cross-team content requirements related to a number of shared content disciplines, while also establishing and integrating co-located development teams for large scale production.
This week, we released our advance program and and announced that XDS 2017 passes are officially sold-out! You can read ...
Building on last year’s charitable initiative, where we partnered with the SFU School of Interactive Arts and Technolo...
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