Each year, the annual Forbes 30 Under 30 list celebrates notable entrepreneurs, businesspeople, and “movers and shakers” from a variety of industries. In recent years, Forbes has added a gaming category to the list, choosing thirty exceptional people under the age of 30 and highlighting their achievements and future potential in the games industry, streaming, esports, and more. The picks for 2021 were chosen at the end of December 2020, and the list contains some incredible talent. Take a look at some of the honorees and their achievements from Forbes’ 30 Under 30 “Class of 2021”!
Imane Anys, better known as Pokimane, has the most followers of any female streamer on Twitch – 6 million! During her time playing League of Legends and Fortnite, she won the Shorty Award for Twitch Streamer of the Year in 2018. Outside of Twitch, she’s the creative director for a gaming clothes brand known as Cloak and cofounded OfflineTV, a “creators collective.” She also created a scholarship for esports players at the University of California, Irvine, one of the top esports schools in the US.
Preston Arsement, known online as PrestonPlayz, is a vlogger and gaming content creator. He has over 32 million YouTube subscribers across multiple channels, where he plays Fortnite, Minecraft, Among Us, and other popular games. He also records vlogs of his daily life, where he shows viewers what goes in to creating gaming content for Youtube. He’s been making videos since he was 14; now, at the age of 26, he’s started his own company, TBRN (“the best never rest”). According to Forbes, he was the sixth highest-earning Youtuber in 2019.
Ani Mohan and Neel Rao
Ani Mohan and Neel Rao are the founders of GameSnacks, a browser-based games aggregate that offers HTML5 games. In the vein of old flash game websites, GameSnacks games don’t require much on the part of the user to be played – all you need is a computer that can run a modern web browser. This allows GameSnacks games to be played by people who don’t have access to high-powered PCs or extremely fast internet connections, making it a viable gaming option for low-income communities around the world. The site was developed as part of Area 120, a Google incubator, and reaches millions of players every month.
Hailey Geller is the marketing manager at Xbox Games, which is part of Microsoft’s Xbox department. Her work includes managing the social media for some Xbox titles; she was behind the dramatic erasure of the Gears 5 Instagram page’s content prior to the game’s launch. The strategy caused the account to blow up and earned the marketing team the Shorty Award for Best Instagram for Games. She also manages the marketing strategy for Gears POP! and Gears Tactics, two other games in the Gears of War franchise.
Siqi Jiang is a game designer, games writer, freelance game journalist, and freelance engineer. They have worked on several text-based interactive titles, including Lionkiller, a nominee for the Independent Festival Excellence in Narrative award. Their work also appears in Signs of the Sojourner, which was nominated for the Golden Joystick award for Best Storytelling. In their writing, they frequently discuss themes of queerness, orientalism, and narrative design in games.
Sanaa Khan is a program manager. Working for Google, she develops market strategy and hardware planning for the Stadia platform. Her projects include Stadia’s Free Play Days, which helped allow game access for players who were struggling financially during the pandemic. She also developed and runs a scholarship program for female developers. Her dream mentor is Hideo Kojima!
Alyssa Sweetman is the Director of Creator Social Impact at Twitch. Her position involves working with external charitable organizations, like the 1000 Dreams Fund, to enable greater opportunities for streamers and those interested in content creation. She also develops internal charitable drives with Twitch: her project this past year was running Twitch’s COVID-19 relief stream, which went on to raise over $2.5 million USD. Her initiatives have helped over 100 women get started in content creation and streaming.
Jason Tran, known online as WildTurtle, is a professional League of Legends player. He previously played for Team Solo Mid (TSM) and now plays for FlyQuest. A major force in the North American League scene, he’s won four North American championships and has participated in an additional four World Championships, for a total of 8 seasons played. He would love to be mentored by Jeff Bezos!
These are just some of the exceptional people in this year’s 30 Under 30 Games list – you can check out the full list here. Forbes has put a great spotlight on players, managers, game developers, writers, entrepreneurs, and many more working in and around games, and it’s nothing short of inspiring to read through. (I’ve got 6 more years to make the list – if I can peel myself off the sofa in time!) Reading through this year’s and the past few years’ lists proves that the future of gaming is brightest when we include and celebrate everyone.