10 richest people in the gaming industry

Medicine and engineering – that’s where the money is, or so your high school guidance teacher would have you believe.

But it would seem that times have changed. A recent report by NPD group, noted that spending on video games and video game content in the US hit $2.88 billion in Q2 2012.

The report forecast the gaming industry to reach $70 billion, globally, up from $65 billion in 2011.

With that in mind, BusinessTech sister site, MyGaming’s Tarryn Van der Byl highlights the top 10 people who have hit the jackpot in the gaming industry.

Jason Jones

In 1997, Jones started work on a real-time strategy game called Blam. After deciding it was better as a third-person shooter – and then deciding it was even better as a first-person shooter – Jones decided that Halo: Combat Evolved was a more enticing name.

Halo went on to be one of the greating gaming successes, with more than 43 million copies sold, over US$3 billion in the bank, and the total reinvention of the console first-person shooter genre.

Jason Jones

Richard Garriot

After creating the Ultima series, Garriot dumped game design for a bit and bought a US$30 million ticket to the International Space Station.

In 2011, he officially changed his name to Richard Garriott de Cayeux, which even sounds expensive.

Richard Garriott de Cayeux

Don Mattrick

The former president of EA’s Worldwide Studios division cashed in his stock options for US$21 million in 2009.

He then took a new job as president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business, where he spends a lot of time telling people that everything is better with Kinect. I’m sure his pay cheque counts too.

Don Mattrick

Bobby Kotick

Bobby Kotick, is the CEO, president, and a director of Activision-Blizzard, a mega video game publisher owned by the Vivendi group.

Notorious within the gaming community, if you had a dollar for every person who said “Bobby Kotick is evil”, you’d probably have about US$8.3 million a year. If you were Bobby Kotick, anyway.

Bobby Kotick – powered by your hatred.

Yasuhiro Fukushima

Fukushima, an architect turned entrepreneur, started a company called Eidansha Boshu Service Center in Tokyo in 1975.

Shortly thereafter, the company was renamed Enix – one of Japan’s biggest video game, manga and anime companies. In 2003, the company merged with its main competitor, Squaresoft, to form super developer/publisher, Square-Enix.

Several decades on, Fukushima’s estimated net worth is around US$660 million.

Yasuhiro Fukushima

Hajime Satomi

After dropping out of Aoyama Gakuin University in 1975, Satomi founded Sammy Corporation, an equipment manufacturer for Japan’s pachinko industry.

In 2004, Sammy Corporation acquired gaming hardware and software developer, Sega Corporation for $394 million. Forbes puts his net worth at US$1.15 billion.

Hajime Satomi

Mark Pincus

Pincus owns Zynga, which basically means he also owns half of Facebook*.

This is oddly appropriate considering that just about every game put out by Zynga is like the other half of some other game released by another company.

Pincus (in)famously admitted that: “I did every horrible thing in the book too, just to get revenues right away. I mean we gave our users poker chips if they downloaded this Zwinky toolbar which was like, I don’t know, I downloaded it once and couldn’t get rid of it.”

Forbes puts Pincus’ worth at $1.8 billion, placing 719th overall.

Marc Pincus says: “Ha ha ha!”

Gabe Newell

Gabe Newell is the managing director of video game development and online distribution company, Valve Corporation.

The company developed the hugely successful Half-Life series and was behind the Steam digital distribution platform.

Of the 1,226 billionaires around the globe, Newell is ranked 854th on Forbes, with an estimated net worth of US$1.5 billion. It’s still not enough money to ship Half-Life 3 on time, though.

Gabe Newell

Hiroshi Yamauchi

The former CEO of Nintendo retired in 2005, after 55 years at the company, to become the 11th richest man in Japan. He’s worth US$2.5 billion, although that’s much less than the $7.8 billion he was worth in 2006 before Nintendo plunged into financial semi-crisis.

It’s still not bad going for a man who started out making playing cards.

Yoshikazu Tanaka

You know who loves casual gamers? This guy.

The founder and CEO of mobile gaming and social networking service, GREE, is already worth US$3.5 billion at the age of just 35. The thing about casual games, you see, is that there’s huge heaps of cash in it.

Yoshikazu Tanaka: Smarter than the average hardcore gamer.

*Not in real terms

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10 richest people in the gaming industry