The road to XBOX ONE. Follow the journey

30 Under 30

Ben Parfitt
30 Under 30
ANNA DOWNING - Head of Product, Gamestation
Having worked in the retail games industry for seven years, mixing both marketing and buying roles, Anna has spent the past three and a half years with Gamestation. Promoted to head of product earlier this year, Downing heads up the buying team of seven staff based in York. Highlights over the past year include the successful launches of the Wii and Playstation 3 consoles, and along with the rest of the team, Anna states that she is proud to be driving Gamestation forward.

ZOE COOPER - Marketing Assistant, Nintendo
In just 12 short months at Nintendo UK, Cooper has hit the ground running and firmly established herself as an indispensable member of the UK marketing team. Prior to joining Nintendo, Cooper worked in the marketing team at Slush Puppy – but now works across both Wii and DS platforms and provides key support to the product managers. Cooper has also started to handle her own launches, including Super Paper Mario on Wii and DS titles Elite Beat Agents and Kirby Mouse Attack.

DANIEL MAHER - International Software Development team, SCEE

Dan joined SCEE straight out of university in 2001, where he worked as a content producer on PlayStation.com for four years before deciding he’d done enough criticising and wanted to be criticised instead. Now approaching his second year in SCEE's International Software Development team, Dan has already produced ten titles across all Sony platforms, including Tekken: Dark Resurrection and God of War II, which recently netted two gongs at the 2007 British Academy Video Game Awards.

STEPHEN STALEY - Managing Director, Gameseek.co.uk

Proud Ferrari owner Staley recently smashed his pride and joy in a nasty accident – but nevertheless remains one of the top retail success stories of recent times. Having set up Gameseek.co.uk at his parents’ house with a mighty £53 in the bank, Staley’s design qualifications helped him build a well constructed website that has become many gamers’ destination of choice. Gameseek has since become one of the top games specialist retail websites.

EMMA KITCHING - Senior Marketing Manager, Gamestation

Emma previously worked in the FMCG industry for Asda & Northern Foods before moving to Gamestation in 2005, where she is responsible for managing Gamestation’s brand and product marketing strategies. Emma is also responsible for running this year’s Christmas campaign; managing the media strategy and developing Gamestation’s unique brand creative (featuring the notorious Fat Chris) to ensure that stores have the strongest presence on the High Street.

KATHRYN HINTON - Senior Product Manager, GAME
Kathryn is responsible for the Nintendo product category and also the Sony PSP at leading specialist GAME. Hinton joined the team eight years ago, and has since been responsible for the massively successful Wii product launch, as well as the Pink and recent Silver DS Lite launches. She has worked closely with all departments at GAME including marketing and the in-store teams to achieve an impactful hardware proposition for customers, while also working tirelessly to manage Wii stock amid truly unprecedented demand.

MARK BURGESS - Games Buyer, EUK

A well-known games buyer and a talented crooner to boot, Mark was nominated by his contemporaries at Sainsbury’s for his outstanding work with the supermarket. Described as an ‘instrumental’ part of EUK’s contribution to the retailer’s growth in the games space over the last 18 months, Burgess’ boyish charms and willingness to take to the stage mean that he is also a popular figure with the ladies. And after an appearance in 30 Under 30, you can be sure that will continue.

ADAM BOITA - UK Marketing Manager, SCE UK
Having started out at PlayStation Europe as a junior product manager back in March 2002, Boita has quickly risen through
the ranks to become SCE UK’s marketing manager in September of this year. Along the way, he has spearheaded the product management of titles like Killzone and 24: The Game, as well as being a crucial part of the PlayStation branding team. Working with marketing director Alan Duncan, Boita was also an instrumental figure in the successful launch of PS3 earlier this year.

SALLY CORMACK - Brand Manager, Ubisoft
Ubisoft’s high profile move into the casual gaming space has been backed by a major marketing campaign – and Cormack is the brains behind it all. She has been busily launching the likes of Imagine Happy Cooking and Fashion Designer by reaching out to that all-important mainstream audience. And working with marketing director Jon Rosenblatt, Cormack has also been instrumental in the high profile launch of Rayman Raving Rabbids on Wii last year.

AMY HUTCHINSON - European Marketing Manager, SouthPeak Games
A new face to both 30 Under 30 and the industry in general, Amy Hutchinson has made quite an impact since her arrival at South Peak around 18 months ago. Termed a ‘publishing superstar’ by those who nominated her, she oversaw the hugely successful release of Two Worlds on Xbox 360, which proved to be South Peak’s breakthrough title as it stormed into the ChartTrack All Formats listings at number four and continued to notch up impressive sales ever since.

MARTIN FITZPATRICK - Senior Account Manager, Pinnacle
Having looked after the likes of GAME, Gamestation and HMV at Pinnacle, Fitzpatrick was recently promoted to the role of senior national account manager at the leading distributor, and has excelled ever since. He was described by several of the people who nominated him as ‘well-known’, which is often industry code for ‘likes a drink’ – a theory backed up by his colleagues’ depiction of him “always coming in hung-over” after post-meeeting nights out.

JON GODDARD - UK PR manager, Electronic Arts

Jon Goddard joined Electronic Arts as UK PR manager last year, after four years as technology and gaming editor on Metro newspaper and following a stint at respected consumer agency Brands2Life. He has already established himself as a popular figure – not least with the lifestyle and specialist gaming press. With a host of contacts from all corners of the media and a notoriously in-depth knowledge of software, Goddard’s star is one that is definitely on the rise.

ANDY IRVING - UK PR Manager, Xbox and Games for Windows
Irving’s origins in the industry as a former Official Xbox Magazine staffer made Irving a prime candidate for the UK PR manager role at Xbox after a stint at agency Lunch. Having joined Microsoft in April this year, he has already sparkled in a role which juggles dealing with the specialist press and agency JCPR. His colleagues describe his ‘defining moment’ as the release of Halo 3, which garnered a staggering 22 games mag covers and extensive mainstream media coverage.

STEVE MACLENNAN - National Account Manager, THQ

After six years sales work in the music industry, Steve moved to Konami for a two-year stint as a key account manager, working on the hugely popular PES brand. Since then he has moved over to THQ where he has been in the role of national account manager for the past 18 months. Working on the company's key WWE and Pixar brands, servicing Gamestation, Play.com and Blockbuster among others, he has been described as a ‘legend in the making’. Praise indeed.

KEVIN YOUNG - Sales Manager, Square Enix
Formerly of EUK, Young’s sterling performance at Square Enix as sales manager has inspired praise from colleagues and retailers. Indeed, his fine work prompted his boss Doug Bone to comment: “He’s well known across the trade and I definitely think that he deserves to make the cut. Kevin’s one hell of a guy – smart, conscientious and nearly (nearly) has as much charisma as me.” He also deserves special recognition for putting up with the aforementioned scouser every single day.

GUY COCKER - Features Editor, GameSpot UK
Since the site relaunched in 2006, Cocker has been instrumental in GameSpot’s podcast strategy, pushing it to regularly top the iTunes Games & Hobbies channel and scooping a Games Media Awards to boot. He has also covered E3, Leipzig and Tokyo Game Show for the consumer gaming site, while featureing key industry players. He cites having a deluge of glass bottles thrown at him while playing Guitar Hero II on stage as a recent highlight.

JAMES HALEY - Sales Executive, Imagine
Haley was nominated by a large number of Imagine employees due to his dedication, commitment and level of service towards publishers and agencies alike. Having implemented a number of key ad campaigns across Imagine’s portfolio during the last year, Haley has attracted praise from many of his contacts and has been a key figure in Imagine’s continued overall growth. Haley has also proved to be a popular figure in the wider industry, judging by the last MCV Awards bash.

RICHARD SLATER - Technical Support Team Leader, Mastertronic
Technical whiz Slater has a multi-faceted role at Mastertronic. As well as overseeing all of the Huntingdon-based technical support teams working on Just Flight, Just Trains, Sold Out,  and Blast enquiries, he also finds time to write the installers for Just Flight and Just Trains releases and all subsequent patches and programs. A hard and intelligent worker, Slater is a popular figure at Mastertronic – most evident in the number of nominations he received for 30 Under 30.

RYAN FERGUSON - Advertising Manager, Future Publishing
Ferguson started his career in digital and TV media sales at GMTV back in 2001. He quickly moved to become digital sales manager at GMTV having recognised the potential of combining print and digital strategies as a sales and marketing function. Having moved to Future as ad manager across the gaming portfolio in early 2003, Ferguson has become a key figure in helping Future to realise the potential of integratred online and print advertising strategies.

KATIE DAVIES - Account Manager, Nintendo
Davies is responsible for handling key accounts including HMV, Amazon, Waterstones and John Lewis. In her short time at Nintendo UK she has already established herself within the UK sales team and with retail customers alike. A key win for Davies in recent months has been the successful trial and roll-out of the new Nintendo in-store branding concept with a number of her key customers as well as the roll out of several new trial schemes in non video game retailers.

BEN PAYNE - UK Product Manager, SEGA
Payne joined Sega earlier this year, and has since been managing the marketing for Football Manager 2008, seeing it reach number one in the All Formats chart, while securing  succesful launches for the most recent Total War expansion pack Medieval II: Total War Kingdoms and Virtua Fighter 5 on Xbox 360. Ben's upcoming portfolio includes Bizarre Creations' shooter The Club and Sega's high profile Marvel titles for 2008 – Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk.

NICK SIMPKINS - Games Buyer, Play.com
Having worked in the games industry ever since he left school, Simpkins can claim to be a veteran although he is still, to the amazement of his colleagues, 26 years-old. After learning his trade at indie Special Reserve, Simpkins has since become a sought after talent, having established himself as a key part of Play.com’s buying team. Indeed, his boss at Play.com Gian Luzio told MCV: “I would like the headhunters to stop phoning him because he’s got to get some work done!”

CHLOE GIUSTI - Business Development Manager, Babel
A regular in 30 Under 30, Giusti has certainly made a major name for herself in industry circles since joining the testing and localisation specialists as a freelance tester four years ago. Having moved quickly through the ranks in the marketing department, she is now business development manager for all of Europe and Asia. Famed for tirelessly working the floor at many an industry trade show, Giusti has also completed the ESC Kilimanjaro climb for charity.

SAM LEIGH - UK marketing and PR Executive, Konami
Having notched up five years at Konami, Leigh has become an increasingly influential figure at the PES 2008 publisher. Since Jon Murphy moved over to concentrate on the megaselling football sim, Leigh has become responsible for marketing the rest of the publisher’s growing portfolio, while also continuing to be instrumental in the success of www.pesrankings.com, Konami’s community site on which Pro Evo fans get to show off their skills.

NICK BULLMAN - Senior Research Consultant, Some Research
Ubisoft, Nintendo, Sega, Activision, Vivendi, Eidos are just some of the big names Bullman has dealt with in his three years at the research specialist. He has become an integral part of the team and an “exceptionally skilled games researcher,” according to the colleagues that nominated him. But amid all that praise, Bullman does have something of an achilles’ heel. His bowling and batting performances for the ESC cricket team have been described as ‘feeble and erratic’. Must do better, Nick.

ADRIAN CLEWS - Marketing Account Manager, Ghostlight

Termed ‘an old head on young shoulders’ by his bosses, Clews has been the man behind Ghostlight’s marketing efforts and has successfully established the brand at retail. And of course his degree in international marketing and tenacious attitude helps. Clews has already made a significant impact since starting out in the industry a couple of years ago, and is sure to continue to feature within 30 Under 30 – for many years to come.

JOHNNY MINKLEY - Games Expert, Radio One
Minkley’s rapid rise to prominence has bagged him a regular spot on Radio One’s Jo Whiley show, giving listeners the latest gaming news and some forthright opinions – which has earned him a Games Media Award for best Broadcast on Mainstream TV and Radio. Minkley started out at CVG Online, before then stepping up to become MCV editor and most recently he moved on to set up and run Eurogamer TV, which has gone from strength to strength since its launch in 2006.

TOM BRAMWELL - Deputy Editor, Eurogamer.net
Bramwell joined Eurogamer back in 2000, and has been an integral part of its online output ever since. He has written countless reviews, news stories and other content for the site and is widely acknowledged as one of the best writers across all of the games media. This was recognised at the recent Games Media Awards, where he scooped Best Writer in Specialist Digital Media as well as playing a major part in the site’s other two awards for best News and Best Reviews and Features.

LYNDSAY WESTWOOD - Head of Marketing, GAME
Westwood is responsible for the day-to-day running of GAME’s marketing department and has been instrumental in project managing this year’s GAME store manager’s Conference, at which 650 members of staff attended, she has introduced a number of CRM strategies to focus more on understanding customers, and built high profile campaigns that appeal to the increasing variety of customers shopping at GAME.

MICHAEL HOBSON - Recruitment Consultant, Aardvark Swift

Hobson has received widespread praise for his tireless work in sourcing sales, marketing and PR staff for all elements of the industry, from graduates all the way up to directors. His recent placements at recruitment specialist Aardvark Swift include big names like EA, THQ, Ubisoft, Disney, Sony, Nintendo and Sky. Hobson also took time out to cheekily add: “We help great games get made – if it weren’t for our efforts publishers and developers wouldn’t have staff!”

The best of the rest…

As ever, we’ve had floods and floods of nominations for 30 Under 30, and couldn’t fit them all in. So honourable mentions go to...

Rob Saunders, Nintendo; Rob Lowe, Nintendo; Ben Taylor, Nintendo; Greg Jones, THQ; Alison Fraser, Gamestation; Nicola Pilkington, Gamestation; Jorden Jones, Gamestation; Claire Davis, Sega; Grant Gie, Sega; Fay Burgin, Sega; Gareth Evans, Konami; Kate Szlendak, Microsoft; Carly Byron, SCE UK; Hugo Bustillos, SCE UK; Mark Nielsen, Entertainment Trading; Chris Cahill, EUK; Claire Bell, EUK; Ben Wilson, Future; Toby Allen, Sumo Digital; Tom Salter, Sumo Digital; Chris Gardner, Mastertronic; Aaron Ludlow, Mastertronic; Rupert Loman, Eurogamer; Alex Amsel, Tuna; Craig Albeck, Game Republic; Thomas Arundel, Introversion; Mark Morris, Introversion; Luke Geoghegan, Bastion; Olly McGowan, Indigo Pearl; Steve Moore, Play.com; Adam Doree, Kikizo; Fiona Haldane, GAME; Duncan Best, ELSPA

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