MCV's 30 Under 30 2012

James Batchelor
MCV's 30 Under 30 2012

Want to know who the video games industry’s hottest young talents are? Look no further.

MCV provides its annual guide to some of the UK’s brightest young rising stars from publishing, the media, distribution, retail and more.

Tom Goldberger
Age: 28
UK Mobile PR Manager, Electronic Arts

Goldberger has worked at EA since March 2010, first serving as publicist for the publisher’s shooters. He was key in getting Battlefield 3 featured at The Gadget Show and arranging for tanks to invade Oxford Street when the game launched. He has also helped launch recent Need for Speed entries Hot Pursuit and The Run, as well as EA partner titles. As of this month, he now looks after the company’s growing mobile games portfolio.

 

Daniel Krupa 

Age: 25
Games Writer, IGN UK

Primarily responsible for games reviews, Krupa has quickly made a name for himself in his first 18 months at IGN. His reviews of titles such as Max Payne 3 and FIFA 13 have racked up in excess of 1.5m views on IGN.com, and other features – such as a FIFA 13 Livestream with England star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – have been well received. Krupa even put his body on the line in the name of games journalism, suffering multiple leg fractures after a sliding tackle went wrong during an EA press event.

 

 

Hollie Bennett
Age: 25
Consumer and Community PR Executive, Namco Bandai

Bennett has only been in PR for a year, but has already won over countless peers and consumers with her passion for all things gaming. She has found imaginative ways to get Namco Bandai’s community involved, drawing from the direct-to-consumer experience gained from her time at Destructoid. Bennett has greatly increased the publisher’s community presence, spreading the word about its upcoming games to not only UK gamers, but others around the world. “Also, she has nice hair,” one contributor added.

 

Sarah Stallard
Age: 28
District Development Manager – Bullring, GAME

Stallard began her career at GAME in 2006 as senior sales assistant, and has since helped develop one of the chain’s flagship stores. She helped turn the underperforming Birmingham Bullring outfit into one of the chain’s Top Five in terms of turnover. She was named both Manager of the Year and Pre-owned Manager of the Year in her region last year. Stallard even helped accommodate staff that lost their jobs when GAME entered administration back in March.

 

James Dance

Age: 26
Director, Loading

Two years ago, Loading was a largely unknown independent gaming café in Cornwall. Now, it regularly grabs headlines for its work with publishing heavyweights like EA, Ubisoft, Sega, Square Enix and Capcom. All this is thanks to founder James Dance, who describes himself as “a veteran of operating on a non-existing budget”. He is currently seeking crowd-funding to start a London branch.

 

 

Josh Walker
Age: 25
UK Product Manager, SCEE

Having joined SCEE in 2010, Walker has worked his way up to UK product manager and handles some of Sony’s most cherished franchises such as LittleBigPlanet. He spent time at the European office before moving to the UK product marketing team in June. He is currently polishing off the campaigns behind LittleBigPlanet Karting and PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, as well as laying the groundwork for hotly anticipated 2013 titles God of War: Ascension and The Last of Us.

 

 

Sean Lincoln
Age: 27
Area Manager, Games Centre

Lincoln has worked with growing Scottish independent retail chain Games Centre for eight years, rising through the ranks to become area manager. He is described as “extremely hard working and passionate about the industry”, someone who “never shirks a challenge”. Lincoln has played a vital role in a series of Games Centre store openings, midnight launches and has helped instigate several changes that have evolved the chain’s customer offering.

 

 

Talal Musa
Age: 25 
Sports sub-editor/games and tech journalist, Daily Mail

It’s easy to think all games coverage by the Daily Mail comes with headlines like ‘Ban this sick filth’, but that would be a major disservice to the hard work that Musa does. The journalist strives to establish the newspaper as a strong source of video games news, reviews and features – he has even set up and moderates a Daily Mail Games Facebook page.

 

 

Balraj Singh
Age: 26
Account Manager, JCPR

The ever-enthusiastic Balraj ‘Baz’ Singh is known to all who deal with Microsoft, Xbox and their PR agency JCPR. He has worked with the firm since 2009, and has been instrumental in several game launches, Microsoft events and the ongoing evolution of the Xbox brand. One journalist said: “Baz has consistently proved to be incredibly professional and friendly, and pulls out all the stops to help get what you need. An absolute pleasure to work with.”

 

 

Aaron Cooper
Age: 23
Social Media Co-ordinator, GAME

Spearheading the retailer’s Twitter and Facebook activity, Cooper works hard to grow GAME’s community of loyal customers and interacts with them on a daily basis. He constantly seeks new ways to connect with fans, not only keeping them informed about the latest releases and GAME’s offers but also getting them to engage with the retailer. Cooper’s success with the general GAME account has encouraged individual stores to establish their own Twitter and Facebook presences. 

 

 

Sian Clarke
Age: 29
Previously Played Games Manager, HMV

Clarke has served with HMV for nearly eight years, moving to the retail giant’s head office back in July as previously played games manager. Prior to this, she was games supervisor at HMV’s flagship Oxford Street branch, overseeing midnight launches and other in-store activities, helping it win Star Store of the Year at last year’s MCV Awards. Colleagues commend her genuine enthusiasm for both video games and the industry, as well as her determination to improve HMV’s games offering.

 

 

Simon Urquhart
Age: 28
Category Manager – PC and Gaming Peripherals, Dixons

Promoted to his current role at the start of 2012, Urquhart has helped reshape the gaming peripherals offer at Currys and PC World. He has used his passion and knowledge of the industry to help make these tech-heavy retailers an appealing destination for gamers. Well liked by both his Dixons colleagues and the hardware suppliers he works with, Urquhart has even raised awareness of his stores’ gaming range by arranging sponsorship of hardcore gamer events like the Insomnia LAN parties.

 

 

Josh Winward
Age: 27
Field Marketing Executive, Ubisoft

Responsible for managing promotional events around the country, Winward has been responsible for some stand-out launches and demo showcases throughout the last year and a half. He was the brains behind the launch event for Ghost Recon: Future Solider in Newcastle earlier this year, and has spent the last few months giving gamers a taste of Assassin’s Creed III with demos in game stores and at Eurogamer Expo.

 

 

Sam Deans
Age: 19
Social Media Manager, Turtle Beach/Lygo

The youngest person in this year’s 30 Under 30, Deans started out running a site called Gaming Reviews Live. He was approached by Lygo and Turtle Beach to review the latter’s headsets, but this soon evolved into a trial work period with Turtle Beach at last year’s GAMEfest and he eventually got a permanent role. Deans quickly took Lygo’s Facebook following from 200 people to nearly 7,000. He has also expanded Lygo’s YouTube presence, creating a series of videos that best show off the premium headsets.

 

 

Anthony Darling
Age: 24
Assistant Buyer – Games, Blockbuster

Throughout his first year in his current position at Blockbuster, Darling has developed a strong understanding of the games industry, as well as “an acute commercial awareness and proven ability to develop relationships at all levels”, according to his colleagues. He is a well-respected member of the Blockbuster team and approaches his role with enthusiasm and dedication.

 

 

Sarah Wellock
Age: 28
Community Manager, Rocksteady

Wellock has earned a great reputation across the industry with her hard work, passion and sense of humour. Always approachable and always positive, she keeps the Batman: Arkham City community website active – even 12 months after release– helping out its users with all their questions and issues. She is also known to Rocksteady fans for her work at official events, on social media sites and at trade shows like GAMEfest and Eurogamer Expo.

 

 

Mike Fethers
Age: 26
Buyer for Gaming – Sony, EA & Others, HMV

A games buyer since 2009, Fethers has gained great experience in the industry from his time at Tesco and now HMV. He joined the latter earlier this year as gaming accessories buyer, before taking over the Sony, EA, Sega and other key accounts in September. Drawing on his knowledge and love of gaming, he has helped HMV show how serious it is about the industry and has earned the respect of both his colleagues and suppliers.

 

 

Dan Seto
Age: 26
Assistant Publicist, Premier PR

A hard-working member of Premier PR’s games team, Seto has made his mark over the past 18 months through his work with Warner Bros, 2K Games, Namco Bandai and other partners. He has driven the PR behind some of 2012’s most successful games, including LEGO Batman 2, Borderlands 2 and XCom. He also held the world’s highest score for Green Day’s ‘Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)’ on Rock Band Blitz – an invaluable skill, we think you’ll agree.

 

 

James & Tom Orry
Age: 29
Co-founders, VideoGamer.com

Editor Tom and news editor James Orry set up VideoGamer.com (then known as Pro-G ) way back in 2004. The brothers have shaped the site to become one of the biggest sources of gaming news, reviews and other coverage on the web – holding its own against giants such as IGN, GameSpot and Eurogamer. The pair also expanded their company to bring in new talent that have earned them a larger readership and even a Games Media Award.

 

 

Pedro Gonzalez
Age: 29
UK Sales Analysis and Co-Ordinator, Sega

In addition to helping Sega ensure its games reach the widest possible audience in the UK, Gonzalez is commended for being “the happiest person on earth”, according to his peers. He signs all end of the week emails with “Happy Friday” – and to cap it all, brings in cakes for the rest of the Sega team.

 

 

Ben Bateman
Age: 28
Central Community Manager, Square Enix

Like many community managers, Bateman has become an evangelist for what gamers are thinking and how publishers can work with them. Plus, he has the benefit of working on hit franchises such as Final Fantasy, Hitman and Tomb Raider, as well as new IP Sleeping Dogs. He works closely with Japan on titles such as Final Fantasy, co-ordinating with other Square Enix offices and partners across Europe.

 

 

Kuran Kapoor
Age: 25
Product Marketing Manager, EA

Kapoor has worked at EA since 2007. He began as a marketing intern and tried his hand at all of the company’s labels, before finally finding a place at EA Sports working on FIFA, Tiger Woods, NHL, Madden and SSX. He helped make FIFA 13 the most successful launch in EA history, with the game racking up 1.2m sales in the first week. Ironically, he’s actually very bad at playing FIFA.

 

 

James Jarvis
Age 29
Producer – Games Division, Future Publishing

Jarvis began his games career in 2006. He was a vital part of the team behind Future and Sony’s collaborative project FirstPlay, known today as PlayStation Access. He now produces content for Future’s games publications, including OPM, Edge, CVG, PSM3, Xbox World, and the Golden Joystick awards. Since he took over CVG’s YouTube channel a year ago, views have rocketed to more than 25m.

 

 

Gary Clay
Age: 29
European Brand Director, Trion Worlds

Over the last year, Clay has been involved in several major product launches. Formerly third party marketing manager for Microsoft, he helped establish Modern Warfare 3 and COD Elite on Xbox 360. He moved to Trion Worlds in March, where he has taken on action MMO and TV crossover title Defiance and is working on the ambitious title’s planned April launch.

 

 

Danny O’Dwyer
Age: 26
Video Producer, GameSpot

In his first year as part of the GameSpot team, O’Dwyer has produced some of the site’s most popular videos, such as his series Escape From Mount Stupid, which has been viewed nearly 1.4m times on YouTube. Prior to joining GameSpot, Danny was an active member of the site’s community, giving him a strong understanding of what readers want. His colleagues say his work “has injected a new feel to GameSpot”.

 

 

Kayleigh Watson
Age: 26
Senior Account Manager, Lunch PR

Having worked stints at BHPR, Kazoo and in the music industry, Watson already had an impressive amount of PR experience before she joined the team at Lunch in 2011. Since then, she has contributed significantly to the amount of coverage and business Lunch has received, primarily managing accounts tied to The Pokémon Company. Peers describe her commitment to the job as “second to none”.

 

 

Arjun Shah
Age: 24
Marketing Administration Manager, Codemasters

Shah joined Codemasters’ brand team in 2010 after graduating from Aston University. His ‘can do’ attitude to problem-solving has made him the team’s Mr Fix-It for the F1 titles. He keeps the team ticking by keeping an eye on everything from admin to event logistics. He’s also a valued member of Codemasters’ reportedly loud and shouty lunchtime FIFA club.

 

 

Neil Smith
Age: 25
Business Manager, Gem Distribution

Joining Gem’s business management team just three months ago, Smith hit the ground running and has already established solid relationships with two of the distributor’s biggest gaming clients: THQ and Codemasters. Colleagues champion his attention to detail and commitment to driving those two brands within Gem’s businesses.

 

 

Kirsty Redden
Age: 22
Sales Account Manager, Meroncourt

Redden is responsible for looking after some of Meroncourt’s key accounts, as well as developing new business across all of its product ranges. She keeps customers fully up-to-date with the vendor’s new brands and special offers, inviting them to try out Meroncourt products at trade shows and events. Redden is described as “one of the nicest sales people in the industry”.

 

 

Steven Grubb
Age: 29
Sales Business Analyst, Ubisoft

Grubby, as he is known affectionately at Ubisoft, is described as “a guru of the sales analyst world”. He provides sales and market trend forecasting, and retail sell-in and final sales tracking. Grubb’s opinion is highly regarded within not just the UK office but at EMEA, and he is a key component to the firm’s important business decisions. And he really likes spreadsheets. Specifically colourful ones with lots of graphs and charts.

 

 

HONOURABLE?MENTIONS
Tully Ackland (EA), Laurie Blake (ITN), Kelsey Christou (Premier PR), Dave Cook (VG247), James Dyer (Sega), Kirsty Endfield (Indigo?Pearl), Charley Grafton-Chuck (Johnny Atom Productions), Matt Kamen (freelance journalist), Ed Lee (HMV), Rupert Loman (Eurogamer), Sarah Lynch (GameSpot), Rebecca May (Ask Men), Luke Mears?(SCEE), Craig Mills (GAME), Nick Morey (Indigo Pearl), Carly Nair (505 Games), Samuel Roberts?(Imagine), Ed Rowlands (Target Media), Chin Sun Soon (Tecmo Koei), Andy Spenceley (VideoGamer.com), Ravi Vijh?(Bastion), Joseph Walsh (Namco Bandai)

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