Take a sneak peek at some of our speakers for XDS 2023!
Marija Radulovic-Nastic, Chief Technology Officer
Marija Radulovic-Nastic is the Chief Technology Officer for Electronic Arts. As CTO, she leads the teams building creative tools and solutions for game makers and players. Marija is also responsible for all aspects of technology within EA Entertainment and EA SPORTS organizations, ranging from long term technology strategy, to short term execution and risk mitigation plans.
Molly Mason-Boule, Games COO
Molly joined Riot in 2022 as the Head of Development Studios where she worked on a variety of M&A opportunities, and operational and team leadership priorities for the Games Pillar. Molly helps think more broadly about production and operational strategy. Her work on the decision to acquire Wargaming (Riot Sydney), leading the acquisition team for Games Pillar, doing due diligence and ultimately integrating the studio has been extremely valuable to Riot’s growth and ability to team across the globe.
Timbre Games Studio/Sumo Digital
Joe Nickolls, Co-Founder & VP
Timbre Games Studio/Sumo DigitalJoe Nickolls is VP of Sumo Digital North America and and co-founder of Timbre Games Studio, bringing over 25 years of experience in AAA Video Game development. Along with a passion for diversity of people and thought, Joe brings a sense of humour and community to the Vancouver market and is focused on growing a network of world class games studios across Canada. Joe has worked at some of the biggest gaming companies in the world, and has overseen some of the largest gaming franchises in the industry. Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Capcom to name a few, and titles like FIFA, NHL, The Sims, SimCity, and countless others.
Tara Phillips, Solutions Architect, Create Services
Keywords StudiosTara has over 12 years of industry experience as an artist, art director, account manager, and is currently Create Services Solutions Architect at Keywords Studios. In her role, she represents 24 global Art and Game Dev studios within Keywords, providing creative solutions tailored to clients' specific needs from indie developers to AAA powerhouses (and everyone in between). With a global perspective on the game industry, a background in production, and a strategic approach to partnerships, Tara actively listens, learns, and collaborates to bring the right expert voices to the table. Building and managing relationships with game development partners fuels her passion for delivering the best solutions and services possible to an industry she loves.
Psyonix / Epic Games
Philip Dennison, Senior Outsourcing Manager
Psyonix / Epic GamesPhilip is a Senior Outsourcing Manager for Psyonix and Epic Games. He has worked in the games industry for 25 years, mostly focused on external development. He's an evangelist of long term business relationships and mutually beneficial agreements.
Snowed In Studios Inc.
Jean-Sylvain Sormany, Studio Head
Snowed In Studios Inc.Jean-Sylvain Sormany is the Studio Head of Snowed In Studios Inc. Graduated from the Polytechnic School of Montreal with a degree in Computer Engineering, Jean-Sylvain was team lead at Ubisoft and Director of Technology for Fuel Industries before co-founding Snowed In Studios in 2010, which is now the largest game development studio in the Ottawa region. He is a 40 under 40 recipient and sits on various advisory boards. In 2022, he was awarded Best Boss In Canada by GameIndustry.Biz because of the company culture he fostered at Snowed In.
VOLMI - A Virtuos Studio
Alina Obukhovska, Account Director
VOLMI - A Virtuos Studio
Alina Obukhovska joined Volmi in 2017 as one of their very first employees, and as of 2023, leads the team as Account Director.
Throughout her career, Alina discovered that through numerous challenges, she was able to emerge as a resilient and resourceful individual each and every time. Now part of the Virtuos Group, Alina takes great pride in being part of a talented and results-driven team, where her role allows for collaboration and empowerment to excel.
Relishing her involvement in the industry, Alina finds herself motivated and inspired by the immersive worlds of video games.
Nathalia Karmaluk, External Development Manager
Nathalia joined Wildlife Studios in 2019 to create the company’s External Development team and establish its processes. Since then, she has helped grow the team, overseeing workflows, creating bridges with other internal departments, and managing 100+ partners from different game art disciplines, QA and UXR. She has worked on all the company’s live games and is now focused on helping create new games by building successful relationships with external partners.
Room 8 Group
Sviatoslav Pogrebnoy, Chairman
Room 8 Group
While being a gamer from his childhood, Sviatoslav began his professional journey in the gaming industry in his early 20s, being involved in PC MMO FPS game development at Vostok Games before his passion for gaming led him to become CEO of Room 8 Studio; a games development company, and later transformed to the Room 8 Group, 1700+ talent company located in more than 10 countries, the most organically fast growing company in external development globally. Family-first, challenge-driven and quality obsessed.
Room 8 Group
Anna Kozlova, CEO
Room 8 GroupAccomplished transformation leader with strong expertise in change management and business process optimization. Since Anna joined Room 8 Group back in 2019, it has grown from around 350 to over 1,500+ specialists, expanded to include seven studios, and enhanced its global presence. Now Room 8 Group is one of the world’s leading providers in game development and art production.
Claas Grimm, CFO
SharkmobClaas Grimm is the CFO at Sharkmob, a AAA game developer based in Malmö, Sweden, and London, UK. He is a seasoned finance executive originally from Hamburg, Germany, where he started his career as a Freelance game tester in between university lectures. During his 20+ years in interactive entertainment, before joining Sharkmob in 2019, he worked on the service provider side at Red Hot CG / Keywords in Shanghai.
Shiew Yeu Loh
Shiew Yeu Loh, Senior Art OS Manager
Shiew Yeu Loh is the Senior Art Outsourcing Manager for Emerging Studio at Riot Games overseeing RND projects that are green lite for production. Before Riot, she was the Art Executive Producer at Amber Studio heading up Blockchain Game and NFT Art Production. In both places, she provides coaching and mentorship to the dev team in regards to creating mature processes, scalable and sustainable pipelines as well as deeper relationships. A game industry veteran, she started as a texture artist, a generalist and a producer in 2004 before working at Electronic Arts as the Senior External Development Artist for 14 years. During Covid in 2020, she moved onto Pocket Gems as an Art Manager to oversee the mobile game War Dragon.
Kim Aava, Key Environment Artist
EA DICEMy name is Kim Aava, I am Lead Environment Artist working at EA DICE. I have around 10+ years experience in game development and vr creation. I have worked on titles such as Horizon Zero Dawn, Apex Construct, and Battlefield. Beyond my day job, I enjoy speaking at schools, events, and streaming.
Kay Arutyunyan, General Manager
Kay Arutyunyan is the General Manager, and one of the original founders, of CounterPunch Studios based in Los Angeles. She approaches each new challenge and learning experience in her career with the analytical skillsets from her finance background, paired with the persistence of her entrepreneurial spirit. Building on 15 years of experience in the animation industry, Kay continues to lead her team in bringing end-to-end cinematic production support to her clients.
CounterPunch Studios joined the Virtuos Group in 2020, after a decade as a leading support provider for some of the greatest AAA games and films of all time.
Free Range Games
Aaron LeMay, Studio Director - Corporate Development
Free Range Games
Aaron LeMay is a seasoned game developer with extensive experience in the industry. As the Studio Director at Free Range Games, he is responsible for overseeing strategic initiatives, business growth and cultivating partnerships with outsource groups in the gaming industry. He has made significant contributions to acclaimed franchises such as Red Faction, Saints Row, Destiny, and Halo, showcasing his diverse expertise in various aspects of game development.
Yuri Kompaneyets, COO and Co-owner
Ulysses GraphicsYuri Kompaneyets is the Chief Operating Officer and Co-owner of Ulysses Graphics, a Ukrainian art outsourcing studio renowned for its expertise in producing high-quality assets for leading AAA titles. Overseeing the overall company operations, Yuri focuses on establishing efficient production processes and effective client communications. He has been 11 years in the games and IT industries as a 3D Artist, Lead, and Producer.
Dayna Smith, Producer, External Development
Dayna Smith has been working in the Games industry for 26, very entertaining years. Beginning with an unplanned tenure in Quality Assurance at Sierra Online, she eventually found her way into the world of Production. After many years focused on internal Art Production at Monolith Productions/WB Games, she moved into an External Development focus and found her calling. You can currently find her at Bungie, working on spinning up the External Development pipeline and process for the newly announced, Marathon game.
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Harish Rao, Manager, Outsource Art & Concept
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Harish Rao is a seasoned veteran in the field of Game Art Production, boasting an impressive track record of over 30 years in the entertainment industry. Throughout his career, he has held influential positions at renowned global companies, including Blizzard Entertainment, 20th Century Fox, The Walt Disney Company, University of California Irvine, Electronic Arts, and most recently, Sony Interactive Entertainment.
Shane Barnfield, Global Head of Talent Acquisition
Keywords StudiosShane Barnfield is the Global Head of Talent Acquisition at Keywords Studios, an international services provider to the video game industry. With over 20 years of experience in Talent Acquisition, he has developed a knack for attracting top talent and ensuring a seamless candidate experience. He has held key leadership positions in multiple organizations, across a range of different industries. In these roles, he successfully managed full-cycle recruitment for diverse positions, from entry-level to C-Suite. He has also spearheaded technology assessment, recruitment marketing, employer branding, and recruitment process improvement initiatives.
Christian Stephan Demény Rasmussen
Christian Stephan Demény Rasmussen, Business Development Director
Vizlab StudiosChristian Rasmussen has been leading the business development activities of Vizlab Studios since 2020, helping the company enter the AAA game development market as specialized Concept Design and Visual Development studio. He is driven by creating strong and long-lasting relationships in which all parties thrive and perform at their best. Christian finds motivation in innovation and creativity and is a firm believer in changing things for the better and challenging the status quo; which he demonstrated through co-founding CAVE Conference in 2022 – the first Concept Art & Visual Exploration conference in Scandinavia.
Dalma Bolech, Outsource Manager
I have worked in video game development for close to 20 years. I got my start as an individual contributor being a character modeler and animator at companies such as Visual Concepts and Blue Shift. Since then I have moved into art production, outsourcing and team management at other studios such as 3DO, Secret Level, EA, Topgolf and currently Riot Games. People I have worked with, my friends and family consider me to be a “Connector”. Being the link between internal and external teams, developing and sustaining long term relationships is what I enjoy doing. Outside of game development, my top three hobbies include traveling with my family, hiking and spending as much time as possible perfecting my Argentine tango and salsa.
Carl Schmidt, Senior Director, External Development
Zynga IncCarl's career has led him down many paths including art, design, marketing, entrepreneurship, outsource management, M&A and operations. Carl has worked from the 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.
Dave Sanderson, Director of External Development
Dave Sanderson is an eighteen-year veteran of business & creative development for games, film, and television. In 2018 Dave joined Phoenix Labs, where he leads the External Development team - a globally shared service specializing in connecting internal challenges with external solutions.
Caroline Calaway, Senior Producer, XDev Workforce
Caroline has been in the games industry since 2013 where she started at EA as an office manager but quickly found herself helping out producers on a game team and then getting hired on as a development manager.
After working on game teams for several years, Caroline developed a passion for external development while managing a project between an EA studio and a Chinese developer/publisher. In 2017, she transitioned into an external development manager role on EA’s XDI team.
In 2022, Caroline took a Senior Producer role at Riot Games, helping launch their central external development team.
Caroline is passionate about building and maintaining healthy partnerships, influencing positive cultural change and establishing efficient process through creative problem solving and innovation.
Joe Cudiamat, Principal Strategic Advisor
Riot GamesI am currently a Principal Strategic Advisor for Riot Games defining and visualizing metrics that create teams' business strategy. I worked in the games industry for over 10 years and have almost 20 years of analytics experience. I am a gamer at heart and passionate about doing what is best for our players. Some of my favorites: Games – Super Metroid, Sport – Hockey, Music – Green Day (Insomniac and earlier).
iLogos Game Studios
David Cohen, Senior Director of Business Development
iLogos Game StudiosI have been in the game industry for 22 years now and I still love it! I've seen the industry change and adapt as well as mature by becoming more responsible and inclusive every day. I have extensive experience in technical art, teaching, and business.
DICE (EA Digital Illusions CE AB)
Erik Pettersson, Lead Outsource Artist
DICE (EA Digital Illusions CE AB)Lead Outsource Artist with over 22 years of experience in the gaming industry, with expertise in managing art production and outsourcing. Has worked for renowned companies such as DICE and Starbreeze Studios, leading multiple teams and overseeing global projects. Strong track record of successful game releases and possess a wide range of skills in art production, team leadership and management.
Jason Della Rocca
Jason Della Rocca, Co-Founder
Execution LabsJason is a game business consultant, investor, funding advisor, and ecosystem strategist. He currently spends the bulk of his time advising studio founders on funding and product strategy, and advising governments around the world how to better support the success of their regional game ecosystem. As the co-founder of Execution Labs, he was a hands-on early stage investor to 25 independent game studios. In parallel Jason helped launch GamePlay Space, a non-profit hub to support indies and guide them toward business success, whose alumni have generated over $300m in game sales and funding. Between 2000-09 he served as the executive director of the IGDA.
Daniel Poludyonny, Head of Game & VR Studio, VP Delivery
Daniel has almost 20 years of experience in game development as a Game Designer, Producer, Founder, and now Head of N-iX Game & VR Studio. Daniel oversees Studio’s business strategy, supervises service delivery, & actively contributes to customer relations.