XRDC | Advisory Board

Advisory Board

These seasoned industry professionals volunteer their time to help curate conference content at XRDC. They work to ensure that the quality of the content provided to attendees is high-level, relevant, and timely. Their dedication is critical to the success of the conference. Read below to find out about the extraordinary members of the XRDC Advisory Board.

XRDC ADVISORY BOARD

Daniel Aasheim
ILMxLAB
 

Daniel Aasheim has produced world-class interactive entertainment for over 20 years. As the Senior Development Producer at ILMxLAB, his current focus is premium, story-based interactive experiences for VR and MR. Before joining ILMxLAB, Daniel was a Co-Founder of Rebel Entertainment, led production at Hangout Industries, and was Director of Production at the Disney Interactive Media Group, where he oversaw production of award-winning virtual worlds 'Toontown Online' and 'Pirates of the Caribbean Online'. Prior to that, Daniel spent several years as the producer for the VR Studio at Walt Disney Imagineering. During his tenure there he collaborated on numerous R&D projects specific to interactive entertainment and pre-visualization for the parks and produced a series of innovative virtual reality theme park attractions including, 'Aladdin's Magic Carpet Ride', 'Hercules in the Underworld', and the THEA-winning 'Pirates of the Caribbean, Battle for Buccaneer Gold'.

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Ikrima Elhassan
Kite & Lightning
 

Ikrima Elhassan is a technical creative who has spent the last several years focused on the intersection of creativity and technology. His research focus is bringing film quality rendering techniques to real time environments. Together with Emmy award winning Creative Director Cory Strassburger, he co-founded Kite & Lightning, a boutique creative development studio focusing on virtual reality. Their latest work has spanned surreal art pieces such as Senza Peso to experiential installations for NBC & GE.

Noah Falstein
The Inspiracy
 

Noah Falstein has been a professional game developer since 1980 ('Sinistar', 'Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis', 'Neuroracer'), and was one of the first ten employees at LucasArts Entertainment, The 3DO Company, and Dreamworks Interactive. He was the first elected Chairman of the IGDA, a design columnist for Game Developer magazine for 6 years, and was the Chief Game Designer at Google. At Google, Falstein contributed to game projects across the company including for VR and Project Tango, and engages with game developers as part of the Developer Advocacy team. Currently, he is consulting in the Games/XR for Health space as the President of game consultancy firm, The Inspiracy, and is an advisor to Akili Interactive Labs and StoryUp.

Pete Isensee
Oculus Research
 

Pete has been in the digital entertainment business since 1994. He's made video games, shipped three generations of Xbox consoles, created VR experiences at HBO, published dozens of technical articles, and provided C++ insight to game developers worldwide. Pete currently works at Oculus Research helping unlock the potential of virtual reality.

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Ben Lang
Road to VR
 

Based in Silicon Valley, Ben has held editorial positions across tech publications for the better part of a decade. He founded Road to VR in 2011 to explore the immense possibilities of virtual reality, augmented reality, and human-computer interaction. Having seen the individual pieces but never the entire puzzle, he set out to map VR's state-of-the-art and to understand how far it is from a perfect simulation of reality (a la Matrix).

Beginning by exploring the VR space nearly a year before Oculus was founded, Ben has spent the last seven years actively documenting and promoting the new era of immersive technology in his role as Executive Editor, growing Road to VR to become the world's leading independent VR news publication.

Alex Schwartz
Owlchemy Labs
 
Alex Schwartz is the CEO and Janitor of VR studio Owlchemy Labs, creators of the HTC Vive, Oculus Touch, and PlayStation VR triple-platform launch title 'Job Simulator' and 'Rick and Morty VR'. As one of the first studios to dive head-first into the VR space, Owlchemy Labs' efforts have resulted in some of the top played VR content in the world, earning them a Sundance Nomination for Job Simulator as well as the opportunity to ship inside the box with the HTC Vive. As co-founder of the VR Austin group, Alex plays an active role in the gaming and VR community by speaking around the world, organizing events, and smoking various exotic meats down in Austin, TX.
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Timoni West
Unity Technologies
 

Timoni West is the Director of XR Research at Unity, where she leads a team of cross-disciplinary artists and engineers exploring new interfaces for human-computer interaction. Labs' first project, EditorXR, was introduced at Vision Summit in February 2016, and made publicly available in December 2016. Currently her team focuses on spatial computing, tying digital objects to real-world data and authoring for mixed reality.

A longtime technologist, Timoni was formerly SVP at Alphaworks, cofounder of Recollect, and CEO of Department of Design, a digital agency.

Jazmin Cano
High Fidelity
 

Jazmin Cano has been developing 3D content for virtual reality games and education since 2013. She has spent the last couple years designing experiences to onboard users who are new to social VR. As High Fidelity's User Engagement Manager, she has been leading the team exploring the area of safety and comfort in social spaces for VR as well as helping design environments, events, and policies for multi-user experiences. In her free time, she creates 3D environment art for VR by modeling and texture painting as well as gaming. If you can't find her in front of a PC creating or playing games, she's probably exploring the wilderness for inspiration.

Liv Erickson
High Fidelity
 

Liv Erickson is the Content & Prototyping Engineering Lead at High Fidelity, where she and her team focus on enabling developers and creators to build their own VR experiences. Before joining High Fidelity, Liv was a Virtual and Augmented Reality Technical Evangelist at Microsoft, where she developed a number of open source projects across HoloLens, WebVR, Oculus Rift, and Google Cardboard. She is an international speaker on virtual reality development and design, authored the book 'Entering the Metaverse', and is the co-founder of ARVR Academy.

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Christina Heller
Metastage
 

Christina Heller is the CEO of Metastage, an XR volumetric studio opening summer 2018. Before Metastage, she co-founded VR Playhouse, and served as CEO from 2014 – 2017. During that time, VR Playhouse completed over 50 projects with work featured at SXSW, Sundance, and Cannes. She won the 2016 "Women to Watch" award from the California Women's Leadership Association and was named in the Huffington Post as one of 5 women changing the virtual reality scene by Craig Newmark.

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Tracey John
King
 

An avid gamer and veteran writer, Tracey John has been creating digital experiences for brands across video games, television, e-commerce, and healthcare for more than 15 years. Formerly a games journalist for MTV, Wired, News Corp., TIME, and Forbes, she went on to become a narrative designer at Gameloft, where she shipped more than 20 mobile games, including chart-topping titles like 'My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic' and 'Cars: Fast as Lightning'.

After Gameloft, she worked on the design and development of interactive experiences aimed at physicians and patients, including mobile games and apps, virtual reality, and augmented reality. After serving as a creative director at Havas Health and a consultant for agencies working on virtual reality, mixed reality, and chatbot projects, she is now a Lead Narrative Designer at King Games.

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Aaron Lemke
The Wave VR
 
Aaron is a musician and VR developer from Austin, TX who has shipped 9 VR titles. Interested in experiential and transcendent applications of VR, he has been creating VR experiences since the Rift DK1 days back in 2012. His first VR endeavor was Unello Design, the studio responsible for many relaxing and meditative VR titles like 'Eden River', 'Waking Man', and 'Zen Zone'. Aaron is a three-time Proto Award nominee for Best Original Score. He is currently Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer at The Wave VR.
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Dave Ranyard
Dream Reality Interactive
 

Dave set up Dream Reality Interactive in September 2016. The team, which is constantly growing, has a rich history in developing VR, AR and singing games, some of whom worked with Dave at Sony's London Studio.

Prior to Dream Reality Interactive, Dave was the Director of Sony's London Studio, the home of multi-million selling game franchises 'SingStar', 'DanceStar', 'Wonderbook' and 'PlayStationVR Worlds'.

Before heading up London Studio he was an Audio Manager, Creative Services Manager, Executive Producer on games 'SingStar' and 'Wonderbook', and has released a number of dance records.

Dave is also an active member of the game development industry, holding positions on the BAFTA Games Committee, the Game Developers Conference (San Francisco), XR Developers Conference (San Francisco), and the Virtual Reality World Congress.

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Ethan Stearns
MWM Immersive
 

As the Executive Producer at MWM Immersive (formerly Reality One), Ethan Stearns is responsible for leading the company's vision in virtual and augmented reality. Ethan works closely with filmmakers and industry professionals to explore a deeper understanding of these emerging platforms. By empowering storytellers and artists, Ethan strives to build innovative immersive entertainment and grow the industry. Over the past four years Ethan has built partnerships with industry leaders such as Google, Oculus, and Microsoft, and previously led the Immersive division at Legendary Entertainment. He most recently produced a VR installation, with Alejandro Iñárritu called 'Carne y Arena'. This VR project was the first of its kind to be an official selection into the Cannes Film Festival and is now on display in museums across three different countries.

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Graeme Devine
Magic Leap
 
Graeme is a 30+ years industry veteran who has worked on everything from TRS-80 to Xbox 360. In the early nineties he pioneered CD-ROM gaming with the breakthrough title 'The 7th Guest'. He later went on to become the lead designer on 'Quake III Arena' and 'Halo Wars'. Graeme started GRL Games in December 2010 to focus on bringing entertaining titles to the iPhone, iPad and Mac Desktop. Currently he is working as the Chief Game Wizard of Magic Leap.
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Chet Faliszek
Bossa Studios
 

Chet Faliszek is currently the Creative Director at Bossa Studios working on an unannounced title. Previously he worked at Valve for 12 years, where he was Co-Project Lead on the 'Left 4 Dead' series and a writer on numerous franchises including 'Half-Life', 'Portal', and 'Team Fortress'.

He spent the last three years at Valve working with outside developers and platforms to help launch Steam VR. Besides his duties at Bossa, he also continues to work with independent developers focusing on virtual reality.

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Robin Hunicke
Funomena
 

Robin Hunicke is the CEO and Co-Founder of Funomena, an independent game studio in SF that makes unique games for PC, Console and XR ('Luna', 'WOORLD' and 'Wattam'). A computer scientist and artist by training, she has been designing and making games for over 15 years ('Journey', 'Boom Blox', 'MySims', 'TheSims2'). She co-curates the Experimental Gameplay Workshop, and the Amplifying New Voices initiative, and is an advocate for diversity and inclusion in the game and XR industry.

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Richard Marks
Sony Interactive Entertainment
 
Richard Marks is a Research Fellow at Sony Interactive Entertainment. He founded and currently leads the PlayStation Magic Lab, an R&D group that pushes the boundaries of play using technology to create new entertainment experiences. Marks studied avionics at MIT, and received his doctorate from Stanford in the field of underwater robotics. Marks joined PlayStation in 1999 to investigate the use of live video input for gaming and develop new interactive user experiences. He helped create the EyeToy and PlayStation Eye cameras, and the PlayStation Move controller. Most recently, Marks and his team at Magic Lab have been involved with PlayStation VR.
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Jenna Seiden
Vertically Coastal, Inc.
 
Jenna Seiden is the Principal of Vertically Coastal Inc., an immersive media consultancy where she focuses on AR/VR, location-based entertainment (LBE), video games, and new media. Most recently Head of Content Acquisition for HTC Vive where she launched and managed content strategy for Viveport, HTC's global storefront for home, mobile, and arcade, she is now advising studios, media companies, accelerators, and new platforms. Current projects include managing content strategy for SpringboardVR, an experience management and content distribution platform for entertainment, education, and Enterprise; serving as a venture advisor for Lumo Labs USA; and providing business development for a Blockchain-based digital storefront for interactive media. Jenna is also the gaming co-chair and on the immersive committee for the Beverly Hills Infinity Film Festival.
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Robert Stevenson
KEYPR
 
Robert Stevenson, a seasoned gaming and tech executive with over 20 years' experience across a number of disciplines, is the CEO of KEYPR, the world's broadest hospitality platform. Prior to joining KEYPR, Robert served as Head of Content Strategy at Facebook for Oculus, the world's largest VR & AR platform. He also served as Chief Product Officer at GAIKAI, under Sony, where he led the brain trust behind PlayStation Now, the world's largest game streaming service. His career has spanned work on over 100 games, both as a developer and publisher. When Robert is not focused on building great businesses or playing video games with his son, he spends his time with friends and fine wine... mostly in combination.