Ten years of Green Man Gaming – ten UK industry luminaries on the digital upstart

Green Man Gaming is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. And with that in mind we’ve reached out to ten UK industry heavyweights to get their take on ten years of the digital retailer and publisher, from its birth back in 2010 up to the present day.

First let’s hear from Paul Sulyok, Founder and CEO Green Man Gaming:

“The last 10 years have been an incredible journey for myself and The Green Team. The games industry is one of constant change, led by creativity and collaboration to drive innovation, and it’s been a privilege to be at the front of a digital landscape that continues to challenge us and evolve. From launching with just 4 of us crammed into an office working day and night to get the platform live, to a team of over 100 a decade later – this would not have been possible without the industry’s encouragement and support from day one.

Thanks to all our customers, our friends and colleagues in the industry around the world for being part of our growth over the last decade. We look forward to continuing to work with you as we crack on with the next 10 years and beyond.”

Dr Jo Twist OBE, CEO, Ukie

 Green Man Gaming has been a long valued member of Ukie. We’ve watched them grow from their tiny office in Bloomsbury into a real British success story celebrated by the likes of Deloitte, The Sunday Times and the London Stock Exchange with pride.

But we’re also glad of how much they’ve given back to the sector too. They’ve been a valued supporter of a number of the events we’ve run across the years, including our much loved Christmas drinks, playing a big role in bringing everyone in our sector closer together.

And though we can’t gather together to celebrate their tenth in person, the whole team wishes Green Man Gaming a happy birthday and looks forward to many more in the future.

Chris Dring, Publisher, Games Industry.biz

Ten years! For me, Green Man Gaming has been going a bit longer. I remember meeting the GMG team coming into the offices at MCV to pitch us their new digital platform back in 2009. We were introduced by the former Play.com games guy Gian Luzio. I remember Paul and the team sitting in our big meeting room and explaining to us what it was all about. The big thing for us was the proposed ability to sell pre-owned digital games! This was going to be a big MCV story. We jotted down all the details, ready to run in the next issue… and then pause. We had to wait. And wait. But wait we did and we managed to do the big reveal within the pages of the magazine. I’m sure I’ve got it somewhere. During my time at MCV I’ve met so many digital platforms talking about taking on Steam, and I am pretty sure GMG is the only one still standing. 

Fourth Floor Creative CEO Rich KeithRich Keith, CEO, Fourth Floor Creative  

Happy 10th birthday Green Man Gaming! I have so many GMG memories it’s hard to pick any single one. My memories which span the whole 10 years are from four different companies for me while Paul and GMG have grown and thrived in that time. Some of my favourite times were first discussing GMG sponsoring the Golden Joystick Awards while at Future over a boozy lunchtime steak, to rolling into Mel’s Diner late/early after a hard night at the Saddle Ranch to discuss games and nights in the Clock Bar at the St Francis during GDC talking all sorts of nonsense. In fact, when I think about it there’s a definite theme going on here. I hope GMG celebrate accordingly and I look forward to many more meetings like those. 

Stuart Dinsey, Chairman, Curve

I remember Green Man emerging when I was running MCV – completely new digital thinking in the retail space. They made a lot of noise for a small company and were clearly full of ambition. GMG always supported us – good people and good fun. It was a pleasure to build on that relationship when I invested in Curve Digital in 2013. Positive members of UKIE too, who know how to get their money’s worth but also do things for the greater good.

Ten years, great achievement and more power to you all. See you in the bar when the world is back to normal.

James Binns, Founder & CEO, Network N 

One of the first times I had a chance to get to know GMG Founder and CEO Paul Sulyok was in a packed nightclub in Nice. I shouted at him for an hour and he was mad enough to be one of the first Network N partners. GMG joined the gang of four… businesses we could never have launched without. I’ll always remember the trust he placed in us.

In the years since I have admired GMG’s entrepreneurial spirit – always open to new market trends and able to move quickly and decisively. The team that they have built are a force to be reckoned with. They are a super driven, straight talking, loyal crew that you can trust. And they’re always fun to be around. When this cursed lockdown lifts, they’re among the people I most look forward to hanging out with, and having a celebratory beer to celebrate their first decade and welcome in the next one. Green Men: Here’s to another ten years  – bigger, better, more!

Congratulations on a great first ten years of growth and friendship. Happy birthday and here’s to the next decade!!

Mark Reed, Manager Director, Heaven Media 

It was 2006 and I had just acquired an esports site, Cadred (later carelessly renamed by me as eSportsHeaven) where we had beaten off this ‘other’ company to get the deal. This competitor in the race was known to be a very aggressive company and immediately wanted to meet after the deal had closed. While concerned about this reputation we still felt obliged to meet and prepared for what we may face. This meeting was not with the CEO, whom the company’s reputation was based on, but his lieutenant. I remember walking up to this meeting, seeing this 6ft Rugby player looking gentleman, and cautiously sat down not knowing what to expect. That is where I met Paul.

He might look stylish today with his thick rimmed glasses and occasional velour sports jackets, but back then he was more ‘just stepped off the rugby field’ than ‘out of the salon.’ Paul was not scary and had not adopted the company brash policy; he had his own integrity and a level of true character that I certainly see as hard to find. In that and every other conversation he searched for the most collaborative solution, a trait he instilled at Green Man Gaming. He and they were persistent in looking for ways to be collaborative to the benefit of all,  and most importantly, built trust.

In everything Paul has done since then he has had time for anyone, has always looked for ways to share the success, and really, that is at the heart of what makes Paul and the companies he drives something special. Most notably it can be seen through the ethos that shines through today in Green Man Gaming.

Paul is a gentleman and someone I am glad to call my friend. As much as was recently your birthday Paul, this time it is Happy 10th Birthday for GMG, another great British gaming company. Thanks for your friendship Paul and congratulations on the ongoing success of GMG.

James Beaven, Co-Founder and Director, Keymailer

In the last ten years, Paul hasn’t lost an ounce of the charm, energy or drive he brings to Green Man Gaming. When he first described GMG to me in the run up to launch, it was with the same confident enthusiasm I still see today when we cooperate on projects. Frankly, it’s unnerving. From everyone at Keymailer, Happy Birthday to all our great friends at Green Man Gaming.

Tracey McGarrigan, CEO and Founder, Ansible PR & Comms

If you snap anyone who has ever worked at Green Man Gaming in half, written like in a stick of rock I’m pretty sure it says, “Forever Green”. Through mostly tremendous highs and occasional sobering lows (hey, no plan survives contact with the enemy), the most fantastic thing about the GMG team is you simply can’t keep them down, and without them, I think our industry would be in many ways far poorer.

My first encounter with Paul was at the Games Media Awards – this towering broad, blond, bish bash bosh of a chap with a direct handshake, telling me passionately about his grand vision to create a community around an online games store – of always going beyond a sale. It was a good pitch! I joined the Green Team, and quickly learnt the whole business of games from Paul, from sale campaigns and giveaways that drove over 10 million people to vote in the Golden Joystick Awards, to launching a publishing arm in over 190 territories, all whilst learning about the world of investors etc.

I’ve never been part of a team that could spin on a sixpence and make amazing things happen so quickly; to make magic out of dust. My own business, and time in the industry was founded on what I learned at GMG, and I’m thankful every day for that – it’s damn hard work but damn good fun. So here’s to being Green, and congrats to the whole team on 10 years of trading.

Bruce Grove, CEO and Co-Founder, Polystream

I first crossed paths with Paul, Callum, Martin, and Tim early 2012 as OnLive was rolling out across Europe. A young, hungry retailer with big ambitions, I first thought, who ARE these people, quickly followed by how do we get to work together? It was awesome finally joining forces in 2014 as GMG became the first ever reseller of OnLive’s CloudLift, integrating their services and community with ours. Next they went and launched their own publishing arm!

This is what has always impressed me about the GMG team – they’re never afraid to tackle new things, always pushing forwards to better serve their audience. Sometimes it feels like Green Man Gaming came out of nowhere and always had a big voice. I can’t believe it’s only been 10 years, but I do know how hard the team has worked to drive this success.

When I first got introduced to Adam Billyard, it was Paul’s utter conviction and passionate belief that combining Adam’s creative brilliance and my experience as co-founders of Polystream would lead to amazing things, and naturally, Paul was one of the the first people we asked to be an advisor on the board, as there’s no one else who makes going into business such a mighty adventure, and who truly understands risk and reward. I’m lucky that I also get to call him a trusted friend, and shall be raising an Old Fashioned in a birthday toast to him and the whole team.

Paul Jackson, CEO, Dovetail Games 

‘’Great digital retail requires innovation, flexibility and a customer-centric focus. Green Man Gaming have flourished because they embody these traits. They are a true British success story and Dovetail Games look forward to working with them for the next ten years and beyond.’’

About Seth Barton

Seth Barton is the editor of MCV – which covers every aspect of the industry: development, publishing, marketing and much more. Before that Seth toiled in games retail at Electronics Boutique, studied film at university, published console and PC games for the BBC, and spent many years working in tech journalism. Living in South East London, he divides his little free time between board games, video games, beer and family. You can find him tweeting @sethbarton1.

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