Our committee is comprised of industry leaders who have vested interest in supporting cooperative advancement of external development
Nikki Roth, Senior Technical Artist
Nikki has turned her lifelong fascination with human motion and anatomy into a thriving career as an animation technical director. From her early years as both a gymnastics and diving athlete to her current interests in rock climbing and dance, Nikki’s deep connection to movement has uniquely influenced her ability to translate physical motion into a digital representation. Nikki has spent her professional career navigating the pipelines of real-time development at companies such as Apple, EA, Lucasfilm and now Google. She specializes in real-time animation and focuses on workflows that capture and assemble assets in innovative ways.
With experience in games, film, virtual production, VR, AR, and AI, Nikki is passionate about fostering collaboration across these industries and empowering women in tech to push the boundaries of real-time development.
Alex Stein, Associate Director of External Development
Alex Stein has worked in the video games industry for over 20 years, with roughly half of that involved in external development. He has a passion for establishing and improving pipelines, and for helping improve development practices industry wide.
PlayStation London Studio
Ciaran Daly, Art Manager & Outsource
PlayStation London Studio
Ciaran is the Art Manager & Outsource at PlayStation London Studio. As part of the Art Leadership, he oversees and directs future strategy on processes, workflow, resources and technologies for external development and the studio’s art disciplines. Ciaran is focused on bridging together the external partners and development teams by integrating them into the creative process in an efficient way, helping the studio make landmark games for PlayStation.
Toby Ow Productions
Toby Ow, XDS Advisory Committee Member
Toby Ow Productions
Toby's recent role involved budgeting and supervising projects supporting Sony Worldwide Studios developers in art, motion capture, scanning, animation, cinematics, and external development.
He has helped manage outsourced waterfall and agile projects for game art assets, game co-development, R&D software technologies, and internal studio project management tools for PS3, PS Vita, and PS4 exclusive titles.
Carl Schmidt, Senior Director of External Development
Carl got his start in games as a 3D artist in 1994. In his career, he has worked from a buyer and a service provider perspective, most notably at Electronic Arts, Michael Crichton’s Timeline Entertainment, Nvidia and his current role as Senior Director of External Development at Zynga. At Zynga, he has built a worldwide organization which facilitates all external development and partner relations for game art, engineering, audio, UI/UX, Co-Dev, QA, localization/LQA, narrative, marketing, UA and most recently publishing.
Ashley Liu, Service Line Director, Art and Marketing Services
I am a Shanghai native who grew up on hockey and maple syrup. I started in the game industry as the co-founder and CEO of Mindwalk Studios, a computer graphics and animation outsource company based in Beijing. As of January 2018, I took on a new challenge as the Service Line Director for Keywords Art and Marketing Services serving 1400 employees worldwide, supporting them to deliver the highest quality, innovative, and creative art that is true to our client’s vision.
Deep Silver Dambuster Studios
Arun Honne-Gowda, Sr Producer
Deep Silver Dambuster Studios
Arun Honne-Gowda, with over 19 years of experience has managed and led at various levels, started his career as a 3D art generalist, initiated & lead a CG animation service studio in India and worked for studios like Sony, EA, MPC, Axis, Jagex where he worked on games (console, VR, mobile and PC), CG animation, CG movies; titles like RuneScape, Need for Speed Hot Pursuit, Book of Spells, Project Morpheus, Prometheus, Clash of the Titans, Sucker Punch and others. With the experience of working on both sides of external development / outsourcing and small & large global teams, he is passionate about distributed development, championing xDev for teams to scale up with speed.
Philip Dennison, Senior Producer, Outsourcing
Philip joined the games industry 21 years ago as an artist. He shifted to production roles within a few years and has focused on external development for more than half of his career, most recently managing external partners for Monolith Productions for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Middle-earth: Shadow of War. He finds equivalent satisfaction in crafting a compelling image, an illuminating spreadsheet, an elegant pipeline or a mutually beneficial agreement.
David Lam, Senior Producer
David Lam has been working in the games industry for over 18 years. He started out locally in Vancouver as a student at VFS and found himself drawn to character art. David 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 continued in a broader role as Senior Art Manager supporting the Edmonton, Montreal and Austin studios. Currently, David is working at Microsoft under Turn10 as a Senior Producer supporting external development for the Forza franchise.
John Campbell, Producer of External Development
After 15 years of project management and systems work in Energy, JC found his calling at BioWare in 2005. Ever since, he has been expanding and enhancing the studio group’s ability to create the best story-based games in the world through global partnerships in art, animation, cinematics, UI/UX, and engineering. JC has worked on every BioWare title since Neverwinter Nights, including Jade Empire, the Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises, Anthem, and all unannounced titles.
Dennis Cooper, Senior Director, Key Accounts
Prior to joining Virtuos Games in 2019 to develop and oversee a Key Partnerships Program Dennis developed and oversaw external production programs at Industrial Light & Magic, Lucasfilm, and Telltale Games.
With a passion for expanding international presence and market share through strategic partnerships, his depth of experience in the game, animation, and film industries has resulted in long-term relationships, creating business opportunities based on evolving trends, and being consistently relied upon to bring creative solutions to challenges.
Chris Wren, Chair, XDS Advisory Committee
Chris is an 18-year veteran of Electronic Arts, beginning his tenure as a Development Director for Sports and Action titles. Chris is a member of EA’s XDI team, supporting the external development needs of the organization. Chris acts as Chair for the XDS Advisory Committee, which ensures excellence in the delivery of the internationally acclaimed XDS event. He has also held board positions with Vancouver Centre for Entertainment Arts, ACM SIGGRAPH Vancouver, and Vancouver Film School. He has delivered sessions at games industry events in the UK, UAE, Brazil, Colombia, Croatia and Russia.
Kassi O’Connor, Outside Services Director
Kassi began her career in gaming over 8 years ago at Griptonite Games (F9E) as an Outsourcing Coordinator. Since then, she’s worked on over 75 titles, been a Producer, and expanded the outsourcing & localization department to 11 studios worldwide. She currently runs all outside services for Glu Mobile, including external development, localization, independent contractors, and external QA. She enjoys working with external teams and implementing them so they feel ownership of the game they are working on. She’s presented at numerous international and US conferences. Kassi holds a BA in Communication and an MBA.
Grayson Chalmers, Sr. Outsource Manager
Grayson has been in games for the last 17 years with a background as a 3D artist, character animator, producer, and then moving into outsourcing management to help build high quality scalabale, external development pipelines.
He has worked at studios across the industry ranging from Epic Games, Blizzard Entertainment, Riot Games, EA, and earlier in his career, Sony Online and Midway Games.
He's worked on games ranging from Fortnite, League of Legends, Overwatch, World of Warcraft, Starcraft:Remastered, Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel, to DC Universe Online and Area 51.
He now works as a Senior Outsource manager at Wildlife Studios, a mobile games studio that was founded in 2011, headquartered in São Paulo, Brazil. Wildlife has created popular mobile titles such as Sniper 3D, Zooba and Tennis Clash.
EMEA regions Microsoft
Sam Carlisle, 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.
Lois Wang, Senior Producer
Lois started her career working as an artist in a game outsourcing company. She developed her management experience through working with clients from all over the world making console, PC, social, mobile games as well as trading card and toys.
Working at both outsourcing and development studios, the one thing that is consistent in her book is to create delightful experiences and success communication with all members in the team. Lois is determined to support both internal and external team working as one towards the next win!
Carla Rylance, Manager, External Development Intelligence
Carla has been active in the games industry since 2005 where she started as an Artist at Supersonic Software in the UK. She's been focused on External Development for 10+ years both in the UK and Canada at game developers such as Imaginati Studio, Microsoft's Lionhead Studio, and XBOX's The Coalition Studio.
In 2020, Carla acquired a Manager role on EA's XDI Team, focusing on de-risking External Development for EA Studio game teams and searching the globe for trusted and talented partners.
Carla's passion for process, team management, and KPIs has led her to host various talks at XDS conferences.
Dave Sanderson, External Development Manager
Dave is a fifteen year veteran of business & creative development for games, film, and television. In 2018 Dave joined Phoenix Labs, where he specializes in connecting internal challenges with external solutions. Dave has been an XDS attendee since 2015 and a member of the XDS Advisory Committee since 2020.