Zai Ortiz

President, Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder
X2 Games

Zai Ortiz is the visionary entrepreneur-turned game maker who sits behind the wheel at X2 Games as President and Chief Creative Officer. With a 20 year career defined by cutting-edge technology – whether in Hollywood visual effects or interactive game development – Ortiz has always had his eye on the future. Driven by a relentless fascination with the merging of cinema, gaming and new technology, Ortiz founded X2 Games with Nolan Bushnell in early 2018 specifically to answer the question: “what does gaming look like in 10 years?”

Since then, he has supervised production on the world’s first cinematic, immersive AI-hosted board game ST. NOIRE - in an exclusive team-up with Amazon, as well as delivering the keynote at the annual 2019 Alexa Conference – where X2 Games took home the coveted Best-in-Show Gold Award for their pioneering work with voice-controlled gaming.

His partnership with Nolan Bushnell at X2 follows his success with DarkMatter, Ortiz’ own visual design studio, whose client list include Bethesda, Hasbro, Warner Bros and Radical Studios. Though perhaps his most famous and recognizable work is his creation of the J.A.R.V.I.S. system holograms in Marvel’s Iron Man. The stylized hologram and accompanying UI have since become a visual hallmark of Marvel movies, and heavily influenced the designers of the next generation of UI.

Zai’s ability to bridge artistic storytelling with technical innovations has defined his career. He has supervised teams of 50+ artists to deliver stunning visuals for films such as TRON: Legacy, Mission: Impossible, Thor, The Twilight Saga, and Sherlock Holmes. His work has exhilarated billions of viewers and has inspired a new generation.

[Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.]