FEATURE: 30 Under 30

Ben Parfitt
30 Under 30

The UK video games industry is filled with ambitious young talent who quickly establish themselves within the trade – but who are the most prominent rising stars? MCV profiles the brightest talent of 2011.

Johnny Chiodini
Age: 23
Video Producer, GameSpot UK 
Chiodini produces the video content for GameSpot UK. Since joining back in May, the former ITN gaming editor has taken the host role for daily broadcast Start/Select and co-created the UK’s first mobile games show Appetite for Distraction. MCV readers will also remember his smack-talking videos from this summer’s THQ fitness challenge. 

Elliott Linger
Age: 28
Senior European Product Manager, SCEE
Recently promoted, Elliott has been instrumental in a successful year for Sony’s European arm. He has helped manage the launch of DC Universe Online, Infamous 2 and best-selling FPS Resistance 3. Elliott was responsible for leading the campaign for the latter, which saw UK artist Olly Moss create the stylish packshot design.

Faye Le Duc
Age: 26
Marketing and PR Manager, Gem Creative
Despite only joining Gem back in May, Le Duc has already made an impact on the company and her peers. Described by colleagues as “brilliantly organised” with an “infectious positivity”, she is commended for both her work ethic and her creativity when working on vendors’ marketing plans. 

Adam Merrett
Age: 23
UK PR Assistant, Capcom
Merrett spent a year as an intern at the publisher, before leaving to finish his degree. Having proved himself to be dedicated and reliable, he returned to Capcom as UK PR Assistant. He is due to take on additional responsibilities in the near future, with the publisher lining him up to be solely responsible for all PR duties.

Mike Bell 
Age: 18
PR and Marketing Manager, Insert Coin 
The youngest to make it into 2011’s 30 Under 30, Bell is quickly becoming a recognisable face in the industry. He works at gamer-themed outfitter Insert Coin Clothing and even indulges in a little freelance journalism. Mike is described by many as “highly professional” – despite “his reliance on ‘your mum’ jokes and Glee quotes”.

Alison Worrow
Age: 29
Ecommerce Retention Manager, GAME Group
Worrow joined the games industry back in 2006 as online marketing assistant at GAME. Since then, she has worked her way up the ranks and developed strong relationships with the leading retailer’s various clients, who champion Worrow for her “boundless enthusiasm” and in-depth product knowledge.

Adam Young
Age: 24
National Account Executive, EA 
Young’s colleagues have welcomed his enthusiasm and gaming knowledge since he joined EA’s UK & Ireland sales team. He has taken a lead in internal forecasting and managing various stock control projects. His superiors deem him to be a key member of the team and describe him as “definitely one to watch in the future”. 

Michael Rose
Age: 24
The gregarious Rose holds various positions at several high-profile websites. He is UK Editor for Gamasutra, editor-in-chief at IndieGames.com and handheld editor at Pocket Gamer – and that’s on top of his freelance work for Gamezebo and Strategy Informer. He also authored the book 250 Indie Games You Must Play. 

Keza MacDonald 
Age: 23
UK Games Editor, IGN 
After a few years as a prominent freelance journalist, MacDonald is now responsible for the day-to-day direction and operation of IGN UK’s games editorial coverage. Respected by industry professional and gaming enthusiasts alike, she is now gaining a strong reputation internationally thanks to IGN’s global audience. Most recently, her enthusiasm for Namco Bandai’s Dark Souls encouraged IGN to make it the subject of its first 24-hour gaming marathon, which over 50,000 gamers tuned into watch.

Will Beckett 
Age: 24
Publicist, Premier PR
Beckett joined Premier PR in 2010, leaving his career at London-based agency Taylor Herring. Since then he has progressed from assistant publicist to publicist, and currently handles Premier’s 2K Games and THQ accounts. This year alone, he has worked on high-profile releases such as Homefront, UFC Personal Trainer, Duke Nukem and NBA 2K12. He is currently working on Saints Row: The Third and WWE 12. 

Jack Wallington
Age: 29
Head of Industry Programmes, Internet Advertising Bureau 
Wallington started his 12-year career in 1999 when he ran his own digital agency for the entertainment industry. During his time at the Internet Advertising Bureau, he has formed the company’s Games Steering Group, run a number of industry events and established the world’s first Games Ad Spend Study. Most recently, he led the games audience study ‘Gaming Britain’, which found that more than half of the UK population are gamers.

Tom Bramwell
Age: 27
Operations Director, Eurogamer
Bramwell has spent a decade working at Eurogamer. He started as a writer and became editor in 2008. Earlier this year, he was made operations director and is now responsible for the editorial, technology and design teams, leading the development of the site’s recent redesign. His peers say that “he more than anyone has defined the tone and market-leading editorial standards” of Eurogamer.


Craig Stephens
Age: 29
PR Manager, NCsoft
Stephens has been part of the MMO specialist’s European PR team for almost two years and is responsible for the company’s efforts in the UK, France and Benelux. Popular among journalists and within NCsoft, he has ensured that both Guild Wars 2 and Wildstar have received prominent coverage in print and online across his territories. Peers are particularly impressed by his “expert balancing of serious office-based work and his innate ability to seek out every drinking opportunity with the media”.

Jessica Ratcliffe
Age: 21
CEO & Founder, Gaboom 
This young entrepreneur first established peer-to-peer video game swapping website Gaboom last year during her first year at university. She has since left to concentrate on Gaboom full-time. Last September, she made it to the series finale of popular BBC reality show Dragons’ Den. She was even offered a job by ‘dragon’ Peter Jones, while his colleague Deborah Meaden said she had no doubt Ratcliffe would be in one of their chairs one day.

James MacPearson 
Age: 23
Telesales Account Manager (Independents), CentreSoft
MacPearson has only been with the distributor for three and a half years but has already established himself as an popular and valuable member of the team. Described by his peers as “diligent, hard working, incredibly thorough and reliable”, he has built a great working relationship with both his fellow CentreSoft workers and the firm’s publishing partners. He also has “the tightest trousers in the industry”, which apparently does wonders for office morale.

Natasha Chatur
Age: 28
Events and Partnerships Manager, Nintendo 
Since joining Nintendo UK last year, Chatur has been responsible for all of the firm’s consumer experiential activity in the UK. She helped organise the award-winning Nintendo 3DS Experience, where gamers and shoppers got their hands on the handheld ahead of its UK debut, as well as Nintendo’s huge summer festival activity, the current nationwide Mario 3DS sampling tour and a Wii co-promotion with Pringles.

Kirsty Endfield
Age: 25
PR Account Manager, Indigo Pearl 
Endfield is best known for her role in running most of Indigo Pearl’s event and press trips. Some of her biggest projects over the past year have included Buzz Sports, WRC2 and the UK launch of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. She also played an integral part in the UK debut of game-streaming service OnLive.


Nick Heller
Age: 26
Assistant PR Manager, Bethesda
Heller joined Bethesda just over a year ago and has worked on some of the publisher’s biggest titles. He has escorted press and developers to all corners of the globe and is commended for his efficiency. Colleagues tell us his work has also helped him learn to shoot shotguns, watch knights joust and “eat Heart Attack burgers”.


Nick Wells
Age: 29
Sales Manager, Venom
Labelled as “Venom’s Mr Nice Guy”, Wells works with retailers to promote the peripherals specialist’s products. He is described as “easy going, helpful and always ready with a smile”. His team are also impressed with his size 12 feet and large hands, which makes him a brilliant goalkeeper – despite the fact that he supports Norwich City.


Sarah Head
Age: 24
PR Executive, Sega
Head joined Sega in June of this year, following stints at Fever PR and Nintendo of Europe. She has brought an “incredibly positive attitude and fantastic work ethic” to the team, according to her superiors. She will play a key role in Sega’s biggest releases next year, which include the official London 2012 Olympics video game.  


Blaise Rodier
Age: 28
Product Manager, Namco Bandai
Rodier previously worked at Namco Bandai’s European HQ as a product manager before the publisher moved him to the UK. Being French, he has worked hard on his English skills, and peers say his ability to present his product and knowledge of the market is “truly commendable”.


Ian Dickson
Age: 26
Account Executive, Lunch PR
Dickson spent the last five years gathering experience in music and video games journalism. He joined Lunch PR as an account executive in May and is already a key member of its team. He works with several of Lunch’s clients including Codemasters and UTV Ignition.


Tori Ray
Age: 25
National Account Manager, Koch Media 
A notable feather in Ray’s cap was last month’s launch of Dead Island, which debuted at the top of the UK All Formats Chart. Ray is described as “a real team player” with account management skills beyond her years. She handles Koch’s casual and hardcore games, and deals with retailers.


Paul Cannings
Age: 27
Games Buyer, The Hut Group
Having spent 18 months working for The Hut, Cannings has developed great relationships with the retailer’s suppliers and has been crucial in helping The Hut deliver year-on-year growth this year. He was previously head games buyer at DVD.co.uk and account manager at CentreSoft.


David Boddington
Age: 28
Head of Video Production, Future Publishing
After stints at Endemol and the History Channel, Boddington joined Future to work on FirstPlay and Nintendo TV. He oversees the Games Production Unit and works on PlayStation Access. “Bodders”, as he’s known, is also “the poshest man in British video games” as he owns two top hats. 


Matthew Lombard
Age: 24
Product Manager, Disney Interactive
A former intern at Disney, Lombard joined the firm just under a year ago from Freeview. Relatively new to the games industry, he was responsible for the marketing behind Cars 2: The Video Game, one of the best-selling titles this summer. He is currently working on Disney Universe. 

Lewis Herbert
Age: 26
UK and Export Product Manager, 505 Games
Herbert joined 505 Games two months ago and has already made an impact with the UK team through his work on Kinect action shooter Blackwater. He started his career three years ago with a position at EA, where he learned his craft as a market analyst in the publisher’s console digital team. He quickly developed his skills and soon rose to the role of assistant European product manager, working on titles such as Rango and Bulletstorm. 

Claire Harker
Age: 28
National Account Manager, Nintendo
Having joined Nintendo from Reach, one of the agencies closely aligned with the platform holder, Claire Harker has now been at the company for 18 months. During this time, she has become a conscientious and cheerful member of the Nintendo UK sales team. Peers describe her as a willing team member who “is always ready to help others”, and she has made a positive difference with the accounts that she handles. 

Gavin Howes
Age: 29
Games Buyer, HMV
In the last six years, Howes has managed almost every aspect of video game trading at HMV, from software and accessories to hardware. He has improved the retailer’s campaign management and implementation, drastically reducing the workload for store staff and has influenced the firm’s approach to buying on various levels. He has also been crucial to the recent growth of HMV’s market share on Xbox 360. 

Simon Miller
Age: 27
Editor At Large, Imagine Publishing
Miller has risen from staff writer to editor at Imagine within just two and a half years, even picking up a Games Media Award along the way. He continues to cast a watchful eye over X360 Magazine, as well as contributing to the company on a much wider level. Now part of Imagine’s multimedia division, he hosts the NowGamer podcast and led the creation of NowGamerTV.

30 UNDER 30: Honourable Mentions Dan Cooke, 2K Games;  Danny Johnson, Aardvark Swift; Ravi Vijh, Bastion; Marcus Breeze, Contact Sales; Andy Robinson, CVG; Teddy Keefe, Digital Outlook; Sam Conisbee, Ginx TV; Simon Robson, Grainger Games; Alistair Hunter, HMV; Laura Yates, HMV; Dan Kilby, IGN; Craig Stephens, NCsoft; Louise Powell, Nintendo; Dave Cook, NowGamer; Joel Gregory, Official PlayStation Magazine; Oliver Lawrence, OJS UK; Daniel Seto, Premier PR; Josh Walker, SCEE; Tom Vickery, Tecmo Koei; Samantha Whale, Universally Speaking; Tom Hodge, Venom; Jon Bennison, Venom; Gary Clay, Xbox; Andy Farrant, Xbox; Andrien Gbinigie, XboxGameZone and Official Assassin’s Creed podcast


Tags: video games , mcv , 30 under 30

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