OPINION: Happy 60th Mr Cousens

The first flash car I scored a ride in was my Uncle Joe’s
bright yellow Ferrari Dino. It was about 1976 and I was ten. He owned a chain of butcher’s shops and just might have been having a mid-life crisis.

A rattle or two in my brothers’ rusty Spitfires and MGs followed, but more memorable was a trip to a restaurant in a white Porsche 911 ten years later.

The driver, Rod Cousens, was UK boss of Activision. He wanted to be interviewed and he paid for lunch. Chat focused on the US giant’s new slate of movie licences… from Aliens to Howard The Duck.

Unlike much of the roster, Cousens had star quality. He was on his way to becoming international president for one of the world’s biggest games publishers. He was confident, charming and passionate. Rod was special.

This week, nearly 30 years into his games career, the industry’s most famous Southampton fan has just celebrated his 60th birthday.

He is not so flash these days, but just as energetic. This year alone, his fifth as CEO of Codemasters, he has steered the UK’s last major to security via a 50 per cent investment from India’s biggest games company, Reliance Big Entertainment.

He has also silenced critics by selling two million copies of F1 2010. Oh, and back in January, he was awarded a CBE – not just because of his career, but also because of the huge amounts he helped to raise for charity via compilations such as SoftAid in the ‘80s and various projects through the ‘90s and beyond.

There have been tough times, such as seeing his beloved Acclaim collapse (thanks to US failings) in 2004.

But Rod Cousens remains one of the global industry’s most talented and well connected execs.

And he might be getting on a bit, but as demonstrated at LGC earlier this month, he can talk ARPU, MMO, FPS, digital or boxed with the best of them.

A believer in talent, particularly British development, MCV would like to take this opportunity to salute a true industry great.

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