30 Under 30 - 2013

30 Under 30 - 2013

They are the brightest minds and rising stars in games, retail, publishing, events, marketing PR and journalism.

But who are they? MCV profiles the class of 2013, the UK games industry’s 30 under 30..

Ben Pestell
Age: 29
Trade Marketing Manager, SCE UK
Ben Pestell joined the PlayStation UK team almost a year ago and according to his colleagues has made an instant impact creating innovative POS, trade sampling and retail events. His biggest achievement has been The Last of Us lock-ins with GAME, which at the time were the most successful lock-in events in terms of sales attachment and attendees. As a result he has become very popular at the High Street retailer.

Yunus Ibrahim
Age: 26
Publicist, Premier PR
Yunus Ibrahim has excelled in the past year having been promoted from his initial position as assistant publicist. He has worked with THQ, Namco Bandai, Mad Catz and Warner Bros. This year he has worked on the Pokémon X and Y campaign for The Pokémon Company, running The Pokémon Championship. He has also launched Nordic Games and City Interactive titles The Raven, Alien Rage and the soon-to-be-released Deadfall Adventures. 

Brendan Adams
Age: 26
Trade Marketing Assistant, Exertis Gem
Having joined Exertis Gem from Reach, Adams has now been at the company for just over a year. During this time, he has become a conscientious and jovial member of Gem’s trade marketing team. His peers describe him as a willing team member who “is always ready to get involved”, and has made a positive difference to the smooth running of a very business department. His positive and proactive nature is that to be admired. As is his burger eating skills, going by all accounts.

Becca Roberts
Age: 24
PR Associate, Riot Games
Roberts has recently moved to Riot Games from Indigo Pearl. Her knowledge of online, F2P and PC games has enabled her success in this specialised field. Throughout her time at Indigo Pearl she worked closely with clients such as CCP, Blizzard and Devolver Digital and managed events, launches and campaigns with passion. She also saw success with the recent Games On Song choir, where she used her musical talents to help lead the choir through various performances to raise substantial amounts for GamesAid.

Emily Gera
Age: 26
Senior UK Editor, Polygon
At just 26, Gera has already established herself as a big name in journalism. After holding a variety of freelance positions at websites and publications including IncGamers, Play-Gamer and Games Radar, she eventually became section editor for VideoGamer. Gera is now the sole UK representative for Polygon and has previously been named one of MCV’s Top 100 UK-based women in games. Her work in the industry includes both feminist and academic material.

Richie Enticknap
Age: 23
PR and Community Officer, UKIE
Barely in the job ten months, Enticknap helped double the attendees to the UK stand at Gamescom. He was instrumental in putting on the Indie Games Collective and created a sub group for community managers around dealing with online trolls. He has also transformed UKIE’s social network strategy – Twitter followers have more than doubled since June 2013. He has been key in recruiting over 100 Video Games Ambassadors through relationship building face-to-face and is a talent UKIE?never wants to lose.

David Ortiz Lapaz
Age: 29
Guild Wars 2 Community Team Lead, NCSoft West
In just 18 months, Lapaz has been promoted twice from Spanish community manager, through senior community manager, to Guild Wars 2 community team lead, where he is responsible for a team of four. He works tirelessly to keep European Guild Wars 2 players happy, acting as the first line of communication and customer service for millions of players. Using a variety of specialist software tools he has created himself, he provides invaluable insights into the global player base and communications campaigns.

Svend Joscelyne
Age: 28
Community manager, Summer of Sonic organiser
When he was just 15, Svend Joscelyne started his own Sonic fan site – Sonic Stadium – which is still running to this day with impressive visitor numbers. He also runs the Summer of Sonic event, which attracts hundreds of the community every single year. This year he even secured composers from the game who performed music live. He was the lead writer for Spong before his impressive community work attracted the attention of 2K Games in July this year, a stint that ended this month.

Jake Wright
Age: 26
Business Development Manager, Click Entertainment
Click Entertainment is a new business in the industry, but within Wright’s first year the firm’s development and expansion enabled the company to move from six-figure to eight-figure turnover. It has been nominated for an MCV Award and the company has moved to a new location, with capacity increasing tenfold. According to his colleagues, Wright is an ‘inspiration’ and a ‘joy to work with,’ which is high praise indeed. They also wanted us to comment on his ‘dreamy blye eyes’.

Gavin Murphy
Age: 27
Video Producer, Future Games
Gavin Murphy has often been described to various members of the MCV team as a video genius. The Welsh camera jockey has been integral to Future Games’ phenomenal video growth in 2013, helping the CVG YouTube channel grow to almost 200,000 subscribers. Murphy is responsible for the Games Media Award-winning OXM Breakdown, the hugely popular Gamer Gran show  – hosted by his Nan – and this year extended his video talents to Total Film.

Vanisha Kavia
Age: 27
Product Manager, Nintendo
Kavia was recently promoted to product manager as recognition for her work on the Pokémon brand which she has looked after exclusively for the last year. Kavia has been instrumental in planning for the launch of Pokémon X & Y, which has been Nintendo’s largest single product launch with a fully integrated campaign across TV, online, outdoor, sampling and print. Beyond this Vanisha has launched lots of the firm’s titles this year and continues to be a major figure in other work.

Simon Ward
Age: 28
Deputy News Editor/Games Editor, Zoo
Since joining Zoo in 2010, Ward has become responsible for all gaming output on the magazine and website, bringing in more weekly first play exclusives than any other weekly mag. Ward capped off a great year with a nomination for Mainstream Magazine Writer at the GMAs. He presents and scripts a weekly gaming video blog on the Zoo website called Gamepad Warrior. He also freelances on games for various magazines, including FHM and Kerrang.

Sunny Sanghera
Age: 29
Ubisoft Events Manager, Ubi Field Team
GAME store staff came out in force to nominate Sanghera in the year’s 30 under 30. Sanghera has developed a strong reputation for organising midnight launch events and working on store lock-ins for the likes of Ubisoft hits Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Watch Dogs and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Those that nominated him called him a ‘great leader’ and ‘hard working’, particularly when it comes to advertising an event and supporting the teams on the ground.

Bradley Goodman
Age: 27
Key Account Manager, Koch Media
Goodman was originally part of the Nindie sales team in 2008, moving to a key account manager role in June 2012. He has specific responsibility for all retailers in Ireland as well as multi-channel retail and etail key accounts in the UK, working on not only Koch Media's gaming portfolio but also software and consumer electronics. As part of the Koch Media Sales team, Bradley has been central to delivering three No.1 titles in 2013. 

Samuel Elphick
Age: 23
Digital Community Builder, Rising Star Games
Blessed with a degree in Games Design and Production, young Samuel Elphick came to Rising Star Games after a year of travelling lands – both virtual and real. Elphick joined Rising Star Games as a digital community builder in 2012 and has since been nurtured and schooled by the elders of the Rising Star Games team into what can only be described as a secret weapon. His current activities are classified. 

Dan Tausney
Age: 26
PR Manager, Chillingo
Tausney has championed product PR at Chillingo for three years now which, in a relatively new market, makes him one of the most experienced in the business. According to the publisher, each game for him is a crusade and he works with the production team to actually contribute to games, to make them better. Working with a raft of talented developers, from all over the world, Dan's communication skills are second to none and he is adept at talking to partners as well as journalists.

Bethany Aston
Age: 26
Senior PR executive, Team17 Digital
Bethany Aston has worked her way up from retail (GameStation in Hull), through the ranks of the Team17 QA department and cemented her position as a very important part of the digital publisher’s small, yet dynamic, PR and marketing team. According to her colleagues, Aston is both fastidious and tenacious while remaining both quiet and calm under pressure. The firm says that her efforts have been pivotal in the promotion of Team17’s titles.

Alistair Hunter
Age: 27
Buyer, Green Man Gaming
The retail man started his career as a sales representative at HMV before joining the firm’s head office team as marketing planner and then later games buyer. He joined digital and physical online retailer Green Man Gaming just over a year ago after spotting the opportunity in digital game sales. Green Man Gaming’s marketing boss Darren Cairns told MCV that his conversational approach with publishers has become a real asset for the company.

Henry Greer
Age: 24
Event Coordinator, Games Industry Event Production, NJ Live
Event specialist Greer has spent his short career making industry events run like clockwork to tight deadlines. Whether that is Eurogamer Expo, Runescape first looks or Call of Duty launches. Events have become increasingly important to the games industry in creating buss for titles, and Greer is one of the leading lights in this sector, capable of being creative whilst adapting to the ever-changing demands of publishers.

Lauren Passfield
Age: 25
Business Operations Manager, Insert Coin Clothing
In her year at the video game clothing specialist, Passfield has helped develop the firm’s business, working closely with the licensing teams of international brands and forging lasting partnerships for the future. She has made sure that the firm’s business operations and accounts are the best they can be and helps secure us some of the best licences in the business.

Charley Grafton-Chuck
Age: 28
Account Manager, Johnny Atom
Nominated by a string of major publishers, Charley Grafton-Chuck is responsible for organising press events, liaising with media every day, writing press releases, compiling coverage reports, play testing games and providing detailed feedback. She is described as one of the best young PRs in games, popular with clients and the media. A big gamer and a fan of the Rayman series, she has been tipped to go far in video games PR.

Jayesh Patel
Age: 27
European Product Marketing Manager, Xbox EMEA
Patel has worked on a host of Xbox 360 titles, including campaigns for Forza Motorsport 4, Halo and MCV Award-nominated Forza Horizon. He is currently working on a series of Xbox One titles including Ryse and Killer Instinct, plus new Xbox 360 games Fable: Anniversary and Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, and has been instrumental in organising and managing the Xbox One events, including Gamescom, Eurogamer Expo, GameStop Retail Conferences and the recently announced One Tour.

Peter Wray
Age: 23
Buying Assistant, Video Games & Musical Instruments, Argos
This active member of Argos’ games team handles many of the retailer’s biggest clients, namely Disney, Warner Bros, Square Enix, Sega and Capcom. As part of his role, he also interacts with gaming giants Sony and Microsoft. Wray has worked in retail since 2006, and has held various roles including merchandise assistant. He also spent two years working at Superdrug.

Chris Thomas
Age: 28
Senior Account Manager, CBS Interactive
The enthusiastic and creative sales specialist at GameSpot owners CBSi was responsible for the Crysis 3 IMAX event for EA and Mediacom this year. It was his idea to embed Twitch live streams into ads and get professional gamers to demo the games in them, which has been adopted by Warner, EA and Sega. He sold sponsorship into UK Major League Gaming video streams and is even working on a free-to-play iOS game.

Josh Winward
Age: 28
Account Manager at Multiplay
Since he left Ubisoft UK to join Multiplay, Windward has rapidly shown tremendous drive and initiative in his work at the eSports specialist. He began at the firm as a sales executive, but his talent was soon recognised by his management and he was quickly promoted to account manage for all of Multiplay’s agency clients within just three months.

Sam Phipps
Age: 21
National Account Manager, Venom
Sam Phipps joined the Venom team back in 2011. Since then, he has worked his way up the ranks at the accessories specialist and developed strong links with retail clients. Phipps is popular at Venom thanks to his ‘can-do’ attitude and he has been instrumental in the development of online sales for the company. He is also currently playing a key role in the development of events and marketing activities.

Bex May
Age: 22
Staff Writer, AskMen
According to her employers at Ziff Davis, Bex May has established herself as a powerful voice in mainstream media's coverage of video games. At just 22 years of age, she has increased the coverage of video games globally for the world’s largest men’s lifestyle website AskMen, a portal that now reaches over 15m men every month. May has also been nominated as a Rising Star at the Games Media Awards.

Corey J Smith
Age: 20
Founder and Owner, CJS-CDKey.com
This very young entrepreneur has already won awards for his ambition. Core J Smith set up CJS-CDKeys.com after supplying codes to his friends at school. He coded his own digital video game key delivery system, which has enabled him to supply good service, coupled with managing suppliers and customers from all around the world.

Luke Karmali
Age: 24
Junior Editor, IGN
Luke Karmali has been with IGN for more than a year now and has quickly become a global face of the media giant’s video game news coverage accross the globe (alongside his colleagues Greg Miller and Naomi Kyle). Karmali runs the UK news desk for the world’s biggest games website, fronting videos and filing copies for both the website and its partners over at Kerrang! Radio and SPORT Magazine.

Joel Gregory
Age: 27
Deputy Editor, Official PlayStation Magazine
Described to MCV as being ‘hideously young and talented’ and ‘very, very good at FIFA’, Joel Gregory has already made a name for himself as the deputy editor on Future’s flagship PlayStation publication. He only joined the firm in April 2010, rising up from staff writer to reviews editor and into the position he holds now. He is responsible for planning content and managing writers and section editors alongside the editor.

Honourable Mentions: Liam Bunston (Attention Seekers), Tim Hodges (Jagex), Laura Skelly (Capcom), Rosie Ghezelbash (Sony), Alexis Trust (Jam @ Engine), Rob Crossley (CVG), Eamonn Mgherbi (Avatar), Matt Webb (Insert Coin), Ben Cordell (Sticktwiddlers.com), Richard Bearpark (IGN), Tom Richards (Green Man Gaming)


Tags: video games , mcv , list , industry , 2013 , 30 under 30

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