Founder, Executive Director, GameSoundCon
Brian Schmidt is the founder and creator of GameSoundCon. The 2008 recipient of the Game Audio Network Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Brian has been creating game music, sounds and cutting edge game sound technology since 1987. With a credit list of over 130 games and a client list including Zynga, Sony, Electronic Arts, Capcom, Sega, Microsoft, Data East, Namco, SounDelux and many others. Brian has used his combined expertise and experience in music composition, sound design and his deep technical knowledge to change the landscape of the game audio industry. Brian is a frequent and in-demand speaker on the creative, technical and business aspects of game audio, having given literally hundreds of educational and inspirational talks at conferences all over the world. Events such as the Game Developers Conference, Microsoft’s Gamefest, Sega Devcon, the Audio Engineering Society Conference and esteemed institutions such as Yale University, Northwestern University, and Digipen have invited Brian to share his knowledge and insight into the industry.
Brian began his career in game audio in 1987 as a composer, sound effects designer and music programmer for Williams Electronic Games in Chicago writing music and creating sound effects for pinball machines and coin-operated video games. While there, he was the primary composer of the video game NARC. His main Theme from NARC was later recorded and released by The Pixies; his other work has been featured in the CD set, “Legends of Game Music.” In 1989, Brian left Williams and became one of the industry’s first independent game audio composers and sound designers, where he worked on such games as John Madden Football, the Desert Strike Series, and the award winning Crueball. Other credits include Guns and Roses Pinball, where he worked closely with Slash to create a truly interactive Rock and Roll game experience.
In 1998, Brian was recruited by Microsoft to lead the direction of game audio technologies. While there, he joined the then-fledgling Xbox organization as the primary architect for its audio and music system. Brian has been credited with bringing Interactive Dolby Digital Surround Sound to interactive gaming through his efforts at Xbox where he also created the original Xbox startup sound. During his 10-year tenure at Microsoft, Brian continued to drive and advance game audio technologies through tools such as the award-winning “XACT” (Xbox Audio Creation Tool); the first-of-its kind tool to provide interactive mixing for video games. Brian was also responsible for the overall audio system of the Xbox 360 game system, including the XMA audio compression format, winner of the G.A.N.G “Best New Technology award” and finalist in IGDA’s “Best new technology” category. Brian is currently a consultant to the video game industry working with companies large and small.
Brian received undergraduate degrees in music and computer science from Northwestern University in1985,where he created the first dual degree program between the School of Music and the Technological Institute. He went on to complete his Masters degree in Computer Applications in Music in 1987, where portions of his thesis work was published in the prestigious Computer Music Journal and presented by invitation to the AES specials conference on Audio Technology. While in school, Brian worked as an apprentice to film and jingle composer John Tatgenhorst, where he learned to appreciate the art and science of putting sound to picture. Brian currently sits on the advisory board of the Game Developer Conference, is a founding board member of the Game Audio Network Guild (G.A.N.G.) is a former steering committee member of the Interactive Audio Special Interest Group (ia-sig) of the MMA, and has been a featured keynote speaker at The Game Developers Conference and Project BBQ. Brian was also a member of a select group of ten game audio professionals who successfully lobbied NARAS into making video game soundtracks eligible for the Grammy Award in 1999. In 2012, Brian was elected President of the Game Audio Network Guild and currently serves in that role.