30 Under 30 In Games 2020: The Indies And Innovators Influencing How We Game

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From the creator of 'Katana ZERO' to the first 'Fortnite' World Cup champ, here's the 2020 30 Under 30 in Games.
Jamel Toppin for Forbes

Twenty-six-year-old Justin Stander found success in the indie gaming world through a bathrobe-wearing samurai with a particular interest in synth-driven '80s music. His first commercial game, Katana ZERO, charmed both critics and audiences with its fast-paced, time-warping gameplay, selling 500,000 copies and generating $5 million in less than a year. He did it against a rough backdrop—most indie games make around $16,000 in their first year.

Stander leads the 2020 30 Under 30 in Games, a list of innovators finding their way through the lucrative but unforgiving $152 billion gaming marketplace. Entrepreneurs in the space must tackle an ever-evolving ecosystem, from cloud distribution to influencer-driven marketing to virtual reality. The honorees of this year's Under 30 have claimed a stake at every level of this multi-tiered industry.

Take for example Nicole LaPointe Jameson, the new CEO of esports organization Evil Geniuses. Though well-known, the team has lost its luster in recent days. In May, Jameson took over as CEO and quickly turned the ship around, primarily by re-entering two of the top esports, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends. Shortly after acquiring its CS:GO roster, the team took the top prize at ESL One New York 2019 in Brooklyn's Barclays Center.

It's not just the managers that are succeeding. This year, Fortnite brought a measure of individuality to its esports league—think…
Matt Perez
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