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30 Under 30: The Brightest Young Stars In Video Games

Jan 6 2014, 6:56am CST | by

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30 Under 30: The Brightest Young Stars In Video Games
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30 Under 30: The Brightest Young Stars In Video Games

Every year, the reporters at Forbes look for up-and-coming stars in the industries we cover. We search for people who are doing groundbreaking work, disrupting traditional business models, and establishing themselves as leaders.

You can see the results today in a package of stories we call 30 Under 30 . This feature consists of fifteen lists of people under the age of thirty, each of whom are changing the face of a different business. The industries we look at include music, finance, sports, healthcare and science… and of course, video games .

They include Palmer Luckey, the 21-year-old CEO of Oculus VR. Virtual reality for the masses is no longer just science fiction thanks to this video game fan: Engineering prodigy Luckey started developing his own head-mounted VR displays when he was still in high school, and was in college when he created the first prototype of a consumer-priced VR headset called the Oculus Rift. “You put it on,” says Luckey, “and you feel like you’re inside of the game, rather than looking at it on a screen.”

Endorsements from game industry icons including Valve’s Gabe Newell and id Software’s John Carmack helped Luckey raise $2.4 million in a 2012 Kickstarter campaign. (Carmack was so impressed, he even left id to work for Luckey as his CTO). The year-old company has raised over $91 million from venture capitalists, employs 50 people, and has released an early version of the device to software developers, who are already showing off some innovative VR games and applications. Consumers should be able to buy their own headsets – which initially will work only with PC and mobile games – for a goal price of $300 sometime later this year.

Other members of our 30 Under 30 in Games include Zach Gage, designer of mobile games including SpellTower, Ridiculous Fishing, and Lose/Lose; Alexander Garfield, CEO and creator of the world’s leading professional video gaming team, Evil Geniuses; Alexander Martin, known to most of his fans as “droqen,” the designer of the atmospheric and poetic PC game Starseed Pilgrim; and Davey Wreden, the co-founder of publisher Galactic Arcade, who wrote the critically acclaimed indie game “The Stanley Parable,” which parodies and critiques the conventions of modern video games, including itself.

2013 30 under 30: Games

To see all of the members of this year’s list, check out the links below.

FULL LIST: Forbes 30 Under 30

GAMES: The Forbes 30 Under 30

Video: A Conversation With Oculus VR Founder Palmer Luckey

Want to know how a pen-and-paper role-playing game gave birth to the video game industry? Order my book, Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and The People Who Play It . Follow me on Twitter , Facebook or Google + .

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