Hosted within Ion XR Lab, the XR Games Showdown™ is an Accelerator meets Hack-a-thon in which enterprise games or simulation concepts will be created by college students under the direction of VR/AR/MR game and simulation mentors. 
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XR guy

an Accelerator meets GAME JAM  


Hosted within Ion XR lab, the XR Showdown™ involves college students creating VR/AR/MR simulations and games for enterprise use, followed by a review by potential employers — all featured in a livestream TV show for six weeks from February 3rd - March 13th, 2020. An Accelerator meets Hack-a-thon Game Jam, selected students will be assigned to a sponsored team to work on serious simulations and video games to assist in corporate marketing, education, research or training efforts.

Feb 3rd - Mar 13th, 2020
6 weeks,
3 hours per day
pre-vetted projects will be assigned to a team of up to 6
End with a
live-streamed showcase
IOn XR Lab
in Houston, TX
internship for GAME Development students
Discover more
Karen Snyder
Creator and Executive Transmedia Producer
Karen Snyder, MFA

Karen Y. Snyder (KYS Realm), MFA, Digital Media Executive, Producer, Professor & Consultant. Karen offers over 15 years of experience in developing and creating multi-media projects that include live events. She has cultivated hundreds of successful digital media stories and marketing campaigns. The creator of the Healthcare Games Showdown™ and the XR Showdown™, her goal is to create jobs. She is an Adjunct Professor of Digital Media at the University of Houston and the Managing Director of TYM Studio™.

Jon Lindgren
Award-Winning Broadcast Producer
jon lindgren

Jon is an experienced creative marketing solution executive and broadcast program producer.  He has over 20 years experience in broadcast production and he is a Tribeca Film Festival award-winner. His background in development includes being the Founder of Recovery Network, an interactive patient education at the bedside through mobile app.

Chad Modad
Co-Producer & Leader of Houston VR/AR Association
Chad Modad

Chief Technology Officer (Houston Innovation Hub) at Accenture, Modad leads the Houston chapter of the VR / AR Association. He is also the founder of Omniverse VR, an entertainment provider.

Josh Ruben
Co-Producer & Managing Director of Ion XR
Josh Ruben

As the founder and CEO of Z3VR, Josh works with academic partners to develop evidence-based and user-friendly digital treatments for chronic diseases. He also co-leads HoustonVR, a community of practice that works with organizations like Station Houston to connect startup founders, corporations, academics, and government leaders with the shared goal of turning Houston into an international hub for immersive technology.


Sean Bellinger
Advisor & Mentor
Sean Bellinger

Sean Christian Bellinger is a Lead 3D Artist for Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) the second-largest gaming company in the Americas and Europe by revenue and market capitalization where he is tasked with leading the charge on developing uniquely designed assets for an unannounced game based on the world's most popular sci-fi IP. His developer credits include the game "Dreadnought" by Six Foot Games where he served as Lead 3D Artist, the independent film "Matt Mercury: Plot of The Galactic Mastermind", where he served as visual effects artist, and various award winning AR/VR apps and simulations created for the oil/gas/energy, medical, military, and education industries.

Marisa Erven
Advisor & Mentor
Marisa Erven

Art Director @ Reality Hearth. Erven is an Art Director leading and mentoring teams of artists, designers, and developers to create story driven content and deliver creative products which elevate customer experiences in multi-sensory environments and new technologies. Provides synergistic creative direction at the forefront of innovation in the immersive interactive space. Consistently recognized by partners as being a story-builder.

William Golden
Advisor & Mentor

Executive Director for the Immersive Technology Conference in Houston, TX, William is also the co-organize the Houston VR Meetup Group. He has worked as both a freelance and professional IT service provider since 2010, and he writes programs and tinker with game development in his spare time.

Angel Muniz
Advisor & Mentor

The Director of Immersive Art, Muniz is passionate about photorealism, level design, lighting for game development and arch/product visual design. She has mentored numerous 3D and animation students in the region and is an advocate for artists rights.

Chris Khuong
Advisor & Mentor

An Instructor at the Houston Community College, Khoung teaches 3D modeling, animation, and texturing for 3D Studio Max; storyboarding; Adobe Photoshop; GameMaker; Source SDK; Unity3D; Unreal Development Kit. His objective is to design and develop video games for the joy of gamers and players from casuals to hardcore to training

Dennis Mathews
Advisor, Mentor & IGDA Organizer

Co-founder and CEO of Revelation Interactive; IGDA Houston Chapter President; Unity Engine Meetup founder; mentioned as 1 of the top 10 African American game developers by Black Enterprise.

James Parkman
Advisor & Mentor

James has been developing video games for 20 years, and has worked with companies such as Atari/Legend Entertainment, NCsoft, Vigil Games, Portalarium, and numerous other startups and indie developers. James got his start in game development as a senior or lead designer on such games as the Wheel of Time, Unreal 2, and Tabula Rasa. Since 2013 James has served as the Studio Director for the independent studio Kingdom Games, producing several titles for PC and Playstation 4.

Brandon Smith
Advisor & Mentor

The Founder of Darkshot Studios, an indie game studio and the curator of the Houston Game Dev Meetup.


John Canning
John Canning

Executive Producer for Digital Domain VR/AR/MR & Chairman, New Media Council: Producers Guild of America.

John Canning
Estevan Aviles

Conference Programmer (Game Industry Track Lead) at SXSW. Responsible for all of the "fun" things that take place during SXSW Gaming, such as organized play, cosplay, panels, and parties, Estevan leverages his extensive experience in gaming alongside the explosive creativity of SXSW to create one of the most unique gaming festivals in the country. He also contributes extensively to the broader gaming community through several local and international initiatives which help to spread awareness and engagement for the gaming industry as a whole.

Mark Nausha
Mark Nausha

President Abacus3, Educator

  • 30 years experience in video game industry
  • Over 70 titles shipped, generating revenues in excess of $1 billion globally
  • Mark has managed teams of over 100 developers and founded two successful development studios
  • Deputy Director of SMU Guildhall, facutly member, and founder of SMU GameLab
  • Expert in the area of esports, video game development, and building gaming communities
  • Dual Bachelor of Science Degrees in Economics and Systems-Science from UCLA.  
Taylor Johnston

Founder of The Innovative Performance Institute, a leader in the esports industry in training, educationand research, setting the standard for digital sports. Our mission is to provide the most competitive and comprehensive performance program inesports while promoting health and wellness to millions of kids worldwide.

Peter Perez

Texas based, decorated army vet (Top Secret - SCI Clearance) turned marketing consultant and producer of esports events in the USA. Esports and marketing consultant for major events and festivals exceeding 30,000 attendees. Esports and block chain promoter.

Andre Thomas

Founder and director of the LIVE Lab in the Department of Visualization at Texas A&M University; CEO of Triseum, an educational game studio; and advisory board member at the National Academy of Science.

Dr. Chang Yun

Research Assistant Professor at University of Houston; has led numerous serious game development projects for healthcare, government and various industries; has guided student led teams to win Microsoft Imagine Cup competition twice and to the US finals six times.

Hosted within ION XR Lab

Ion XR  aims to transform Houston into a national center for enterprise AR / VR / MR technology.

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