7 richest video game tycoons
It's no secret that the video game industry has eclipsed the movie industry, and big budget games like Grand Theft Auto V often surpass both the development costs and profits of their movie counterparts. With big sales come big profits, and these have given rise to a new class of nouveau riche whose fortunes have been built on blockbuster hits like Half-Life, Minecraft, and Clash of Clans.
Forbes recently compiled a list of the wealthiest video game magnates that highlights how each developer made their way to millionaire and billionaire status. We expected to find some stalwarts like Gabe Newell and Markus Persson on the list, but there were a few other names on the list that we didn't instantly recognize.
1. Gabe Newell
If Half-Life or Steam means anything to you, then you're probably aware of Gabe Newell. Newell owns more than 50 percent of Valve, which has developed hits like Portal, Left 4 Dead, and Counter-Strike, as well as Dota 2, the second largest e-sports franchise. Given Newell's longstanding reputation as one of the most trusted faces in the video game industry, it's no surprise that he heads the top of this list.
2. Markus Persson
Minecraft is one of those rare indie games that instantly blew up in popularity, and its success is reflected in countless fans who upload videos of their creations onto YouTube and stream their gameplay on Twitch, where it enjoys the third highest viewership. So, much is the popularity of Minecraft worth?
Well, if you ask Microsoft, the answer is $2.5 billion, which is what the software company paid for Minecraft. Markus Persson, the founder and 71 percent owner of Mojang, the company behind Minecraft, saw his fortune rise to a cool $1.3 billion, going toe-to-toe with Gabe Newell.
3. Mark Pincus
Remember getting a Facebook invite for FarmVille? You have one man to thank for that, and that man is Mark Pincus, the cofounder and and CEO of Zynga. With significant investments in Twitter and Facebook, Pincus has amassed a staggering wealth that hovers at the near-billion dollar mark of $990 million.
4. Melvyn Morris
Most smartphone owners have tried Candy Crush Saga, and for good reason: the game is free, fun to play, and makes for a great distraction while commuting. Melvyn Morris, the cofounder of King Digital, the company behind Candy Crush Saga, has cashed in on the success of the mobile game, and has earned a cool $627 million as a result.
5. Riccardo Zacconi
Joining Melvyn Morris is another cofounder of King Media, Riccardo Zacconi, who is valued at $548 million after his company went public in early 2014.
6. Palmer Luckey
Gamers will soon be able to enjoy Virtual Reality games on their desktop PC and home consoles , and spearheading that campaign is the Oculus Rift headset, which is getting closer and closer to becoming a consumer product. Last year, Palmer Luckey, the inventor of the Oculus Rift, sold his company Oculus VR to Facebook for a whopping $2 billion, allowing him to pocket $500 million.
The most astonishing thing about Luckey? He was only 21 when he sold his company to Facebook, making him one of the youngest millionaire-overnight stories in history.
7. Ilkka Paananen
Clash of Clans, one of the hottest games in the smartphone market right now, has made Finnish CEO and cofounder Ilkka Paananen an extremely rich man, in spite of the fact that his company Supercell resides in a country with some of the highest corporate tax rates in the world.
What do you think about the list of video game billionaires and millionaires? Does this list make you want to quit your job and start developing games for smartphones?
Let us know in the comments below!