MCV Pacific presents the 30 Under 30

Leigh Harris
MCV Pacific presents the 30 Under 30

It's finally here. This is a list which took much time to deliberate over, and highlights the best talent from our industry's under 30's!

This list celebrates people from all sectors of the Australian and New Zealand games industry, from development and services to retail and publishing.

Thanks to everyone who nominated and congratulations to the 30!

 

Ellen Blaha

Age: 24

Title: Tutor, Qantm College

Before becoming a 3D Tutor at Qantm College, Ellen began her work on the development side as an artist. Her first role in the industry was at Halfbrick, working as a 3D artist, and has since moved to Qantm’s Brisbane campus. She previously completed a Bachelor of Animation and is working to complete her Master of Arts while tutoring 3D modelling and animation at Qantm.

 

Josh Cavaleri

Age: 26

Title: Lawyer, TressCox Lawyers

Working at the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association on loan from the law firm TressCox, Josh has expertise in intellectual property, corporate and commercial law, policy advice and government submissions. During his time at the iGEA, Josh has contributed to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s Review into Classification, and is currently working with it on the papers for the Review into Copyright.

 

Luke Flesher

Age: 29

Title: Digital and Community Manager, QV Software

Digital and Community Manager for QV Software as of November, Luke started his gaming career at 23 when Alienware first came into the country. He was then the founding editor of gaming news site Pimp.tv, which received 16 million views in total during its history. At 26, Luke joined THQ, where he instigated the Community Program and won coverage for THQ purely on the strength of its community outreach and innovation in social media.

 

Kelsey Gamble

Age: 21

Title: Community Manager, EB Games

Kelsey started out in retail at the age of 18 working as a casual at EB Games in Cairns, before moving to EB’s head office as a call centre consultant. She then went on to become the company’s youngest ever department manager and is now responsible for the EB Games Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, as well as the EBX Community Hub and Call of Duty midnight launch parties.

 

Simon Garner

Age: 29

Title: Founder, Gameplanet

Founder of Gameplanet New Zealand, which has since expanded out to Australia. Simon began Gameplanet in 2000, winning ‘Best Game Related Site’ for the Net Guide Web Awards in 2006, and keeping that title through until 2009. Simon is now the owner and managing director of both the Australian and New Zealand Gameplanet sites, currently the only site to span both countries, and employ journalists in each.

 

Maude Garrett

Age: 25

Title: Creator/Presenter, Geek Bomb

Founder of Geek Bomb, and a prominent TV personality, Maude has previously hosted Geek Speak on the Hot 30 countdown as well as written her own gaming columns. Now, as a presenter, she started the web site and YouTube channel Geek Bomb with Rae Johnston, was one of the starting co-hosts of TV show Save Point and hosted the Ladies in Gaming panel at the EB EXPO this year.

 

Brad Giblin

Age: 29

Title: Online, mobile and videogame investor, Victorian Govt

Head of the Games Investment Department at Film Victoria, Brad came to his role via a seat as a Board Member for the Australian Interactive Media Industry Association, and he is now the gatekeeper for Victorian funding for game developers. He held the Digital Distribution Summit in 2009, instigated new programs for funding both Triple-A and indie studios, partnered on the Game Masters forum and created the first ever accessibility requirements for a government fund.

 

Papu Hassan

Age: 27

Marketing Executive, Microsoft

Marketing Executive, Microsoft and manager of the huge Xbox Australia social community. Papu delivered the social ‘Capture the Poster’ outdoor campaign for Halo 4 and the ‘Crack the Code’ campaign, which saw over 64,000 Xbox stories on Facebook. He has grown the Australian Xbox community reach to as high as 1.5 million, increasing its size by 163 per cent in the last year.

 

David Miller-Heidke

Age: 28

Title: Category Manager, EB Games

Buyer for PlayStation and Xbox at EB Games, David has progressed at a steady pace in his career. David started as a store employee in 2004, and he still holds the record for the most presales for a single EB Games store. He moved to become the Queensland district manager before taking on a role as a buyer at head office, and is now responsible for one of the most important roles in EB’s head office.

 

Dan Hindes

Age: 24

Title: Editor, PC Powerplay

Editor of PC Powerplay (as of last week), and founder of Sneaky Bastards, Dan has consistently shown a drive to lead rather than follow. He nurtured Sneaky Bastards from inception while working as a staff writer for PC Powerplay, which culminated in his overseeing of StealthJam 2012. The event attracted not only many local developers, but also Triple-A developers’ interests, and it has since grown into a global endeavour.

 

Jess Hodgson

Age: 26

Title: Games Label, Community Coordinator, EA

One of the more recent entrants to the games industry, Jess ‘Jiggsy’ Hodgson has taken to his role as the EA Games Label Community Coordinator with remarkable enthusiasm, managing the social media accounts of the company and representing them at various events. Since joining EA at age 25, Jess has managed on the publisher’s community campaigns for Need For Speed: The Run and Most Wanted, Mass Effect 3, and more.

 

Matt Iannotti

Age: 28

Title: Sales Manager, All Interactive Entertainment

Matt has been with All Interactive Entertainment since the publishing arm of All Interactive Distribution first opened some five years ago. His role as Sales Manager was vital for the growth of the then nascent business, and he has continued to be able to keep up with the rapid growth of the company from humble beginnings through to the Bethesda deal and into THQ, Capcom and Koch Media.

 

Simon Joslin

Age: 29

Title: Creative Director, The Voxel Agents

Simon is a co-founder (alongside cohorts Tom Killen and Matthew Clark) of The Voxel Agents, and got his start as a game designer for Halfbrick. Since going indie, the Agents have created Train Conductor and its sequels, which have received over 5 million downloads since launch, and took the accolade of being nominated as the iPhone Game of the Year in 2009. 

 

Rob Kingston

Age: 28

Title: Manading Director, All Interactive Entertainment

With over 10 years’ experience in the industry, Rob started his work at All Interactive Distribution working in sales, then in purchasing. Rob took on the role of Managing Director for All Interactive Entertainment when it opened up, growing it from nothing to a AUD$50 million business. His ability to rapidly grow a business and his understanding of long-term relationships and customer service underpin his strong work ethic.

 

Patch Kolan

Age: 28

Title: Co-founder, Sales, PR and Marketing, Insert Coin(s)

Founder of Insert Coin(s) and co-founder of PUG Consulting, Patch spent several years working as one of the key writers at IGN, jumping on board when the Australian team and office first started up. After leaving IGN and freelancing for a number of gaming web sites and magazines, Patch started a successful series of club nights called Insert Coin(s), which were events focused on gaming culture as well as huge upcoming titles. He then went on to co-found his own consulting agency working on gaming events and PR.

 

Luke Muscat

Age: 28

Title: Chief Creative Officer, Halfbrick

As the Chief Creative Officer at Halfbrick, Luke held a role there as a designer for only one year before being promoted to the top position in 2008. His work as the creative lead has been during the company’s biggest period of success, being on board for the wildly successful Fruit Ninja and the awesomely sadistic arcade title Jetpack Joyride, which between them have catapulted the company to its status as one of the premiere mobile studios in the world.

 

Lucy O’Brien

Age: 29

Title: Writer / Editor, IGN

Covering movies and games at IGN Australia, Lucy’s career in gaming began in 2006 as a senior writer for NZ Gamer. She transitioned to writing for games directly when she penned the script for New Zealand development studio Sidhe’s Blood Drive in 2009, before moving to Australia as the editor of PSM3 magazine. After a brief stint as a product manager for Bethesda’s games at an agency, Lucy then moved onward to IGN.

 

Kerrin O’Connor

Age: 28

Title: Product and PR Manager, Namco Bandai

Product & PR Manager, Square Enix and Codemasters at Namco Bandai, Kerrin has maintained a steadfast dedication to his role and is at the forefront of all Namco Bandai’s above-the-line and trade marketing campaigns. More recently his role also incorporated the company’s events and PR campaigns, all of which Kerrin has been able to manage regardless of workload or demands.

 

Sarah O’Leary

Age: 28

Title: Product Manager, Rockstar Games

Sarah started her role at Rockstar in 2009 as PR and Marketing Assistant, moving up quickly to become Product Manager. Sarah moved into games from a media agency at 25, and has very quickly assimilated knowledge of the products and the industry. Her ability to pick up new mediums and challenges has been second to none, and she has navigated such massive titles as Red Dead Redemption and LA Noire since joining Rockstar.

 

Laura Parker

Age: 28

Title: Associate Editor, GameSpot AU

Laura graduated from a Staff Writer position to become Associate Editor at GameSpot AU in only a brief time, and was the recipient of the MCV Pacific Journalist of the Year Award last year. She is as diligent as she is talented, and amongst her impressive CV is also a placing as finalist in the Walkley Foundation Young Australian Journalist of the Year Award in 2009 and being the IT Journalist of the Year in 2010.

 

Kirsty Plaistowe

Age: 23

Title: Retail and Experiential Marketing Manager, Electronic Arts

Kirsty spent 15 months as an intern in the EA UK office before becoming the Retail and Experiential Marketing Manager for EA Australia,. At the completion of her degree last August, she was offered a position as the APAC Events Coordinator. In less than a year, she moved up to her current role, and has since been responsible for EA’s presence at the EB EXPO, Armageddon in New Zealand, and its first ever experiential retail tour with First Play.

 

Ross Purdy

Age: 28

Title: PR Manager, Bohemia Group

Lifestyle and Mass Media PR for Namco Bandai Partners at agency Bohemia Group, Ross created his own role after advancing through the ranks of PR on the publisher side. He began by working for Namco Bandai directly as a PR Executive, then jumped to 2K Games where he was PR Manager for a short stint before leaving for Bohemia Group, an agency with no gaming expertise at that time, and taking the Namco Bandai account (including Square Enix) with him.

 

Samantha Valente

Age: 25

Title: Senior Account Manager, Rinsed

Samantha joined agency Rinsed at 22, has since been promoted twice, and currently holds the title of Senior Account Manager. She was key in establishing the agency’s relationships with Xbox, Activision and Halfbrick, and has been responsible for the Kinect experiential tours and in-retail programs, GAME conferences for 2010 and 2011, and the Halfbrick Fruit Ninja 2nd Anniversary tour and event.

 

Nick Vanzetti

Age: 28

Title: Technical Event Project Manager, Rinsed

Technical Event Project Manager at agency Rinsed for the last six months, Nick has been incredibly active striking out on his own with the Australian Cyber League. He began working at retail, leaving his job as an EB Games Store Manager to move to Sydney and champion the cause of eSports and ACL Pro, which, amongst many things, recently held Blizzard’s Oceanic qualifiers for the Battle.net World Championship. He has also been responsible for the Halo 4 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 stands at EBX, as well as the Forza Horizon stand at the Sydney International Motorshow.

 

Karl Vosgerau

Age: 28

Title: Account Manager, QV Software

Karl cut his teeth at AFA Interactive, working in both sales and as the company’s PR Manager in Adelaide. He moved on recently to become QV Software’s newest Account Manager, crossing the breach back into sales. He now reports directly to the National Account Manager at QV, and continues to push forward.

 

Bec Waddy

Age: 28

Title: Head of Media and Communications, One to Another

Bec joined the industry in 2009, but has quickly solidified her place by helping to grow the fledgling agency One to Another from its first couple of employees to the market leader it is today . Bec’s work across Bethesda has been pivotal in the agency’s growth, with last year's The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and this year's break through hit Dishonored being a stand out.

 

Brendan Watts

Age: 28

Title: Creator, Ski Safari

Brendan is a story which could easily be a microcosm of the Australian games development industry in recent years. He worked as a programmer for Pandemic in Brisbane, shipping Destroy All Humans 2 and Mercenaries 2 before joining Defiant Development and helping on Vessel, Inch High Stunt Guy, Rocket Bunnies and Warco. He then shipped his own game: Ski Safari, which became the number one paid app in three countries. Brendan turned down a job at Rockstar North to work on Ski Safari full-time.

 

Trent Weekes

Age: 29

Title: Event Manager, EB Games

EB Games’ Events Manager, Trent has been responsible for the EB EXPO over both years. His time at EB Games saw him govern countless midnight launches before EBX took off, and he also supported EB's involvement in Blizzard Entertainment's StarCraft II launch in 2010, which took place at Brisbane’s King George’s Square and saw over 2000 attendees. Starting as a casual, Trent was promoted to store manager, then to assistant buyer at head office before getting into events.

 

Michael Woods

Age: 25

Title: Founder, Media Saints

Michael is the Founder of Media Saints, a development company that has grown from one to 15 staff in only two years. Michael began working in games after university, first by coordinating B1G League – the largest gaming tournament around in its time – then as a journalist for Mx in Melbourne. He has also helped Film Victoria assess game projects for funding. The Media Saints team of 15 is now creating Knowledge Quest under Michael’s tutelage.

 

Andrew Younis

Age: 26

Title: Product Manager, Software, Sony Computer Entertainment Australia

Andrew began his career in gaming at 19 as a Marketing Assistant at Sony, and has quickly risen through the ranks. Andrew then became the Junior Product Manager before settling as a Product Manager. He has been a part of all major PlayStation launches for the last five years. His campaigns have been nominated for Best Use of Digital in a Marketing Campaign and Best Integrated Marketing Campaign under 1 million dollars in the Australian Promotional Marketing Association Awards.

 

 

Congratulations to all our 30 Under 30 recipients this year, and stay tuned to MCV for the MCV Pacific Awards, coming early next year.

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