Our committee is comprised of industry leaders who have vested interest in supporting cooperative advancement of external development
Amazon Game Studios
Phil Knowles, Sr Outsourcing Program Manager
Amazon Game Studios
Phil started his career over 30 years ago building 8-bit games at Realtime Associates. The day an Intel 486 showed up on his desk was a revelation. He’s been the Project Art Director at Zipper Interactive (Sony), managed the Art Department at ArenaNet, built VR at Oculus, and is now with Amazon Games, working on an ambitious External Development Program. Phil never gets tired of telling teams, “Yes, I can find you a great partner to help build your vision."
Glass Egg Digital Media
Guillaume Monier, COO
Glass Egg Digital Media
Guillaume began his video game industry career early at Ubisoft where he worked on several famous AAA titles. In 2009, with his knowledge in marketing and business development, Guillaume joined and later became the COO of Glass Egg Digital Media - one of the world’s leading 3D art outsourcing companies.
With his passion & depth of experience in the game industry, he has been a driving force to the company's development through recruitment, client expansion, branding and marketing.
Isabelle Bismuth, Director of Partnerships, CoDev and Outsourcing
Isabelle has been working at Ubisoft for more than 15 years, where she's been an active and passionate player for all aspects related to collaboration.
After spending multiple years as a CoDev & Outsourcing Project Manager, she joined Assassin's Creed Valhalla development team in 2018 as their Associate Producer Co-development.
Isabelle now acts as a Director of Partnerships, CoDev & Outsourcing on the Assassin's Creed Brand. Her long-term experience is an asset for the production teams to ensure it keeps evolving their ways of working in collaboration with studios around the world; but also to continue building strong relationships with both internal and external partners.
Isabelle has also been an active member of the XDS Advisory Committee since 2016.
Nikki Roth, Senior Technical Artist
From her early years as both a gymnastics and diving athlete, Nikki has turned her lifelong connection with movement into a thriving career as a technical artist and UX designer. 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 interactions and focuses on experiences that capture and represent assets in seamless and innovative ways.
With experience in games, film, virtual production, VR, ML and AR, Nikki is passionate about fostering collaboration across these industries and empowering diverse perspectives 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.
That's No Moon Entertainment
Toby Ow, VP, Global Production
That's No Moon Entertainment
With over 10 years of production experience in the games industry Toby has recently joined the new studio That’s No Moon Entertainment as their VP of Global Production. He is responsible for the identification, contracting, onboarding, relationship management, and production management of all external partnerships for the studio.
In the past he has worked on large scale external art production on titles such as Days Gone, Death Stranding, Marvel’s Spider-man, and MLB The Show amongst others.
Carl Schmidt, Senior Director of External Development
Carl got his start in games in 1994. Carl has worked at small and large companies alike from a buyer and a service provider perspective, most notably Michael Crichton’s Timeline Entertainment, Nvidia, Electronic Arts and his current role as Senior Director of External Development at Zynga. In this Business Operations role, he has built a worldwide organization which facilitates all of Zynga’s external development and partner relations involving Art, Engineering, Audio, UI/UX, Co-Dev, QA, Localization/LQA, Narrative, UA and Marketing/Publishing. In addition, Carl helps coordinate and facilitate M&A integrations for Zynga and its subsidiaries.
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.
Arun Honne-Gowda, Head of Co-development
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 Outsourcing Producer
PsyonixPhilip joined the games industry 22 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, including managing external partners for Monolith Productions and recently for Psyonix. He finds equivalent satisfaction in crafting a compelling image, an illuminating spreadsheet, an elegant pipeline or a mutually beneficial agreement. He has spoken at multiple XDS events, often on the subject of agreement strategies.
David Lam, Director of Art Management
David Lam has been working in the games industry for over 20 years. He started out locally in Vancouver as a student at VFS and quickly 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 continued in a broader role as Senior Art Manager supporting the Edmonton, Montreal and Austin studios. In 2018, David accepted a new role at Turn10, a first party Xbox studio, as Senior Producer supporting external development for the Forza franchise. In 2021, David was recruited by Riot to lead one of their key art teams on League of Legends as Director of Art Management. Recently, David accepted an expanded role of co-chair of the XDS Advisory Board.
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 13 years ago working in external development. Since then, she's worked on over 100 titles, been a Producer, and expanded the outsourcing & localization department to 11 studios worldwide. She currently is the Outside Services Director and runs all external services for Glu Mobile, including external development, localization, and independent contractors. 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.
EMEA regions Microsoft
Sam Carlisle, Senior Director- External Partner Relations
EMEA regions Microsoft
External Development veteran who started in the games industry as an artist. Began working with external teams at Sumo Digital in 2007, before becoming Outsource Manager; successfully guiding Sumo’s fledgling India studio into a fully integrated partner, while overseeing their rapidly expanding external development program. Took a central position at Xbox Games Studios in 2014 to support and guide their Global Studios with External Development Partnerships. Joined the XDS Advisory Committee in the same year, where he remains excited by the future of external development and a passionate advocate for what we can achieve together.
Carla Rylance, Head of External Production
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 Microsoft's Lionhead Studio, XBOX's The Coalition Studio, and EA.
In 2022, Carla acquired the role of Head of External Production with Behaviour Digital, owning the development process for all External Production.
Carla's passion for process, culture, team management, and KPIs has led her to host various talks at XDS conferences.
Dave Sanderson, Senior External Development Manager
Dave is a seventeen 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.