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Who are the most influential people in world?

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Note: These rankings dynamically change as our AI learns new things and new publications and citations are made. Academics are actively researching and publishing new insights, leaving our measure of more recent influence subject to continual adjustments. While we delay real-time changes for quality assurance reasons, be not surprised as you see our rankings change over time.

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List of the most influential people in Game Development, for the years 2010 – 2020

Tim Schafer
# 1
Tim Schafer

1967 - Present (53 years)

#67258 person's overall influence

Timothy John Schafer is an American computer game designer. He founded Double Fine Productions in July 2000, after having spent over a decade at LucasArts. Schafer is best known as the designer of critically acclaimed games Full Throttle, Grim Fandango, Psychonauts, Brütal Legend and Broken Age, co-designer of Day of the Tentacle, and assistant designer on The Secret of Monkey Island and Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge. He is well known in the video game industry for his storytelling and comedic writing style, and has been given both a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Game Developers Ch...

Peter Molyneux
# 2
Peter Molyneux

1959 - Present (61 years)

#37196 person's overall influence

Peter Douglas Molyneux is an English video game designer and programmer. He created the god games Populous, Dungeon Keeper, and Black & White, as well as Theme Park, the Fable series, Curiosity – What's Inside the Cube?, and Godus. He currently works at 22Cans as the founder.

Shigeru Miyamoto
# 3
Shigeru Miyamoto

1952 - Present (68 years)

#10795 person's overall influence

is a Japanese video game designer, producer and game director at Nintendo, where he serves as one of its representative directors. He is the creator of some of the most acclaimed and best-selling game franchises of all time, including Mario and The Legend of Zelda.

Zoë Quinn
# 4
Zoë Quinn

1987 - Present (33 years)

#32825 person's overall influence

Zoë Tiberius Quinn is an American video game developer, programmer, and writer. They developed the interactive fiction game Depression Quest, which was released in 2013. In 2014, a blog post by Quinn's ex-boyfriend sparked the Gamergate controversy, in which Quinn was subjected to extensive harassment.

Yu Suzuki
# 5
Yu Suzuki

1958 - Present (62 years)

#64602 person's overall influence

is a Japanese game designer, producer, programmer, and engineer, who headed Sega's AM2 team for 18 years. He has been responsible for a number of Sega's arcade hits, including three-dimensional sprite/texture-scaling games such as Hang-On, Space Harrier, Out Run, and After Burner, and pioneering polygonal 3D games such as Virtua Racing and Virtua Fighter, which are credited with popularizing 3D graphics in video games, as well as the critically acclaimed Shenmue series of Interactive films. As a hardware engineer, he led the development of various arcade system boards, including the Sega Spac...

Tim Sweeney
# 6
Tim Sweeney

1970 - Present (50 years)

#112095 person's overall influence

Timothy Dean Sweeney is an American video game programmer, billionaire businessman and conservationist, known as the founder and CEO of Epic Games, and the creator of the Unreal Engine, a game development platform.

Phil Fish
# 7
Phil Fish

1984 - Present (36 years)

#77632 person's overall influence

Philippe Poisson , better known as Phil Fish, is a French-Canadian former indie game designer best known for his work on the 2012 platform game Fez. He was born and raised in Quebec, where his experiences with Nintendo games in his youth would later influence his game design. He studied game design at the Montreal National Animation and Design Centre, and worked at Ubisoft and Artificial Mind and Movement before starting Polytron in 2008.

Gabe Newell
# 8
Gabe Newell

1962 - Present (58 years)

#24434 person's overall influence

Gabe Logan Newell , nicknamed Gaben, is an American businessman, the co-founder and president of the video game developer and digital distribution company Valve. Educated at Davis Senior High School and attending Harvard University from 1980 until dropping out in 1983, Newell joined Microsoft, where he, over the course of thirteen years, helped create the first iterations of the Microsoft Windows operating system. Together with Mike Harrington, he left Microsoft in 1996 to found Valve.

John Romero
# 9
John Romero

1967 - Present (53 years)

#47828 person's overall influence

Alfonso John Romero is an American director, designer, programmer, and developer in the video game industry. He is best known as a co-founder of id Software and designer for many of their games, including Wolfenstein 3D, Dangerous Dave, Hexen, Doom, Doom II and Quake. His game designs and development tools, along with new programming techniques created and implemented by id Software's lead programmer John D. Carmack, led to a mass popularization of the first-person shooter, or FPS, in the 1990s. He is credited with coining the FPS multiplayer term "deathmatch".

Asher Vollmer
# 10
Asher Vollmer

1989 - Present (31 years)

#249343 person's overall influence

Asher Vollmer is an American indie video game developer and creator of Puzzlejuice and Threes. He created the 2012 iOS game Puzzlejuice while a student at USC Interactive Media & Games Division. The game began his collaboration with Greg Wohlwend. The pair's next release, the 2014 iOS puzzle game Threes, received what review aggregator Metacritic described as "universal acclaim", including perfect scores from Eurogamer and TouchArcade, and the title of Apple Inc.'s iPhone game of the year. The game was later ported to multiple platforms. Polygon included Vollmer in their "50 admirable gaming

Yuji Naka
# 11
Yuji Naka

1965 - Present (55 years)

#47560 person's overall influence

is a Japanese video game programmer, designer, and producer who was the former head of Sonic Team, where he was the lead programmer of the original Sonic the Hedgehog series of games on the Sega Mega Drive. With Sonic Team, Naka also led development on games including Nights into Dreams , Burning Rangers , Sonic Adventure , and Phantasy Star Online . In 2006, he left Sega to found Prope, an independent game company. In January 2018, he joined Square Enix, where he is directing Balan Wonderworld.

Will Wright
# 12
Will Wright

1960 - Present (60 years)

#9354 person's overall influence

William Ralph Wright is an American video game designer and co-founder of the former game development company Maxis, and then part of Electronic Arts . In April 2009, he left EA to run Stupid Fun Club Camp, an entertainment think tank in which Wright and EA are principal shareholders.

Roberto Rosario
# 13
Roberto Rosario
#374287 person's overall influence

Roberto Rosario Gonzalez; is a Puerto Rican software engineer, best known for his work evangelising and promoting Free Software use and creation in the government of Puerto Rico, and for his initiatives towards citizen open access to government data as well as civic hacking promotion. He is also a civil rights activist and privacy advocate, creating software in one instance specifically designed to circumvent the measures proposed by the SOPA legislation. He promotes the increase of students into STEM careers by sponsoring and volunteering at student hackathons and also by sponsoring groups t...

Markus Persson
# 14
Markus Persson

1979 - Present (41 years)

#102014 person's overall influence

Markus Alexej Persson , better known as Notch, is a Swedish video game programmer and designer. He is best known for creating the sandbox video game Minecraft and for founding the video game company Mojang in 2009.

David Darling
# 15
David Darling

1966 - Present (54 years)

#229508 person's overall influence

David Darling is a British video game developer and entrepreneur, known for co-founding Codemasters, with his brother Richard Darling, and for being involved in a long succession of top ten games over more than 30 years. He is now founder and CEO of smartphone app developer and publisher Kwalee.

Jason Jones
# 16
Jason Jones

1971 - Present (49 years)

#126234 person's overall influence

Jason Jones is a video game developer and programmer who co-founded the video game studio Bungie with Alex Seropian in 1991. Jones began programming on Apple computers in high school, assembling a multiplayer game called Minotaur: The Labyrinths of Crete. While attending the University of Chicago, Jones met Seropian and the two formed a partnership to publish Minotaur.

Satoru Iwata
# 17
Satoru Iwata

1959 - 2015 (56 years)

#20628 person's overall influence

was a Japanese businessman, video game programmer, video game designer, and producer. He was the fourth president and chief executive officer of Nintendo. He was a major contributor in broadening the appeal of video games by focusing on novel and entertaining games rather than top-of-the-line hardware.

Karl Roelofs
# 18
Karl Roelofs

1964 - Present (56 years)

#362288 person's overall influence

Karl Roelofs is an American video game developer known for creating the MacVenture game Shadowgate. He is a co-founder of the video game development company Zojoi, LLC with Dave Marsh.

Bill Gates
# 19
Bill Gates

1955 - Present (65 years)

#81 person's overall influence

William Henry Gates III is an American business magnate, software developer, and philanthropist. He is best known as the co-founder of Microsoft Corporation. During his career at Microsoft, Gates held the positions of chairman, chief executive officer , president and chief software architect, while also being the largest individual shareholder until May 2014. He is one of the best-known entrepreneurs and pioneers of the microcomputer revolution of the 1970s and 1980s.

Jonathan Blow
# 20
Jonathan Blow

1971 - Present (49 years)

#161951 person's overall influence

Jonathan David Blow is an American video game designer and programmer, who is best known as the creator of the independent video games Braid and The Witness , both of which were released to critical acclaim.

Hironobu Sakaguchi
# 21
Hironobu Sakaguchi

1962 - Present (58 years)

#183505 person's overall influence

is a Japanese video game designer, director, producer, writer, and film director. He is best known as creator of the Final Fantasy series, having conceived the original concept for the first title Final Fantasy and also having directed several later entries in the franchise, and has had a long career in gaming with over 100 million units of video games sold worldwide. He left Square Enix and founded the studio Mistwalker in 2004.

John Carmack
# 22
John Carmack

1970 - Present (50 years)

#49606 person's overall influence

John D. Carmack II is an American computer programmer, video game developer and engineer. He co-founded the video game company id Software and was the lead programmer of its games Commander Keen, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake, and their sequels. Carmack made innovations in 3D computer graphics, such as his Carmack's Reverse algorithm for shadow volumes. In 2013, he resigned from id to work full-time at Oculus VR, where he served as CTO and later Consulting CTO in 2019.

Nolan Bushnell
# 23
Nolan Bushnell

1943 - Present (77 years)

#4228 person's overall influence

Nolan Kay Bushnell is an American businessman and electrical engineer. He established Atari, Inc. and the Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theatre chain. Bushnell has been inducted into the Video Game Hall of Fame and the Consumer Electronics Association Hall of Fame, received the BAFTA Fellowship and the Nations Restaurant News "Innovator of the Year" award, and was named one of Newsweeks "50 Men Who Changed America." Bushnell has started more than twenty companies and is one of the founding fathers of the video game industry. He is on the board of Anti-Aging Games. In 2012 he founded an educati...

Greg Wohlwend
# 24
Greg Wohlwend
#293971 person's overall influence

Greg Wohlwend is an American independent video game developer and artist whose games include Threes! and Ridiculous Fishing. He originally formed Intuition Games with Iowa State University classmate Mike Boxleiter in 2007 where they worked on Dinowaurs and other small Adobe Flash games. Trained as an artist, Wohlwend worked mainly on the visual assets. As Mikengreg, they released Solipskier , whose success let the two take a more experimental approach with Gasketball, which did not fare as well. At the same time, Wohlwend collaborated with Asher Vollmer to make Puzzlejuice, and with Adam Salts

Ron Gilbert
# 25
Ron Gilbert

1964 - Present (56 years)

#95718 person's overall influence

Ron Gilbert is an American video-game designer, programmer, and producer. His games are generally focused on interactive storytelling, and he is arguably best known for his work on several LucasArts adventure games, including Maniac Mansion and the first two Monkey Island games.

Steve Russell
# 26
Steve Russell

1937 - Present (83 years)

#35622 person's overall influence

Stephen Russell is an American computer scientist most famous for creating Spacewar!, one of the earliest video games.

David Braben
# 27
David Braben

1964 - Present (56 years)

#81219 person's overall influence

David John Braben is a British video game developer and designer, founder and CEO of Frontier Developments, co-creator of the Elite series of space trading video games, first published in 1984. He is also a co-founder of and works as a trustee for the Raspberry Pi Foundation which in 2012 launched a low-cost computer for education.

Christopher Poole
# 28
Christopher Poole

1988 - Present (32 years)

#49863 person's overall influence

Christopher Poole , known online as moot, is an American Internet entrepreneur. He is best known for founding the anonymous English-language imageboard 4chan in October 2003, as well as serving as the site's head administrator for more than 11 years before stepping down in January 2015. In 2016, he began working for Google.

Jeff Minter
# 29
Jeff Minter

1962 - Present (58 years)

#59022 person's overall influence

Jeff Minter is an independent English video game designer and programmer who often goes by the name Yak. He is the founder of software house Llamasoft and has created dozens of games during his career, which began in 1981 with games for the Sinclair ZX80. Minter's games are often arcade style shoot 'em ups which contain titular or in-game references demonstrating his fondness of ruminants . Many of his programs also feature something of a psychedelic element, as in some of the earliest "light synthesizer" programs including Trip-a-Tron.

Brian Fargo
# 30
Brian Fargo

1962 - Present (58 years)

#129076 person's overall influence

Frank Brian Fargo is an American video game designer, producer, programmer and executive, and founder of Interplay Entertainment, inXile Entertainment and Robot Cache.

Steve Ballmer
# 31
Steve Ballmer

1956 - Present (64 years)

#2564 person's overall influence

Steven Anthony Ballmer is an American businessman and investor who served as the chief executive officer of Microsoft for fourteen years from 2000 to 2014. Ballmer is the current owner of the Los Angeles Clippers of the National Basketball Association . As of July 2020, Forbes estimates his personal wealth at US$71.4 billion, ranking him the 11th richest person in the world.

Tetsuya Mizuguchi
# 32
Tetsuya Mizuguchi

1965 - Present (55 years)

#159223 person's overall influence

is a Japanese video game designer, producer, and businessman. Along with ex-Sega developers he is the one of the co-founders of the video game development firm Q Entertainment. He formerly worked for Sega as a producer in their Sega AM3 'arcade machines' team, developing games like Sega Rally Championship and Sega Touring Car Championship, before moving on to become the head of Sega's United Game Artists division, the team responsible for Rez and Space Channel 5. Mizuguchi is known for creating video games that incorporate an emphasis on interactive sound design, evidenced by Rez, Lumines, and...

Neil Druckmann
# 33
Neil Druckmann

1978 - Present (42 years)

#51884 person's overall influence

Neil Druckmann is an Israeli-American writer, creative director, and programmer, and Vice President of Naughty Dog, known for his work on the video games The Last of Us, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, and The Last of Us Part II . He was born and raised until the age of 10 in Israel, where his experiences with entertainment would later influence his storytelling techniques. He studied computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, before searching for work in the video game industry.

Edward Snowden
# 34
Edward Snowden

1983 - Present (37 years)

#119 person's overall influence

# 35
Dona Bailey

1955 - Present (65 years)

#46630 person's overall influence

Dona Bailey is an American video game programmer and educator who, along with Ed Logg in 1981, created Atari's arcade video game Centipede.

Bruce Straley
# 36
Bruce Straley

1978 - Present (42 years)

#85224 person's overall influence

Bruce Straley is an American game director, artist, and designer. He previously worked for the video game developer Naughty Dog, known for his work in the video games The Last of Us and Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. Straley's first video game work was as an artist at Western Technologies Inc, where he worked on two titles. Following this, he worked as a designer on titles for different companies, prior to his employment at Crystal Dynamics, where he worked as a designer on Gex: Enter the Gecko and Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko.

Jon Hall
# 37
Jon Hall

1950 - Present (70 years)

#13343 person's overall influence

Jon "maddog" Hall is the Board Chair for the Linux Professional Institute.

Keiji Inafune
# 38
Keiji Inafune

1965 - Present (55 years)

#146804 person's overall influence

is a Japanese video game producer, illustrator and businessman. Starting his career at Capcom in the late 1980s, his job was as an artist and illustrator. The first two games he worked on were the original Street Fighter and Mega Man in 1987. He was then an illustrator and artist of the Mega Man series during the NES and Super NES era. For Mega Man X, he created and designed the character Zero.

Hideo Kojima
# 39
Hideo Kojima

1963 - Present (57 years)

#28163 person's overall influence

is a Japanese video game designer.

# 40
Mark Overmars

1958 - Present (62 years)

#96724 person's overall influence

Markus Hendrik Overmars is a Dutch computer scientist and teacher of game programming known for his game development application Game Maker. Game Maker lets people create computer games using a drag-and-drop interface. He is the former head of the Center for Geometry, Imaging, and Virtual Environments at Utrecht University, in the Netherlands. This research center concentrates on computational geometry and its application in areas like computer graphics, robotics, geographic information systems, imaging, multimedia, virtual environments, and games.

# 41
Arjan Brussee

1972 - Present (48 years)

#357501 person's overall influence

Arjan Brussee is a Dutch video game programmer and entrepreneur, the main coder behind both Jazz Jackrabbit games, co-founder of Guerrilla Games and recently the co-founder of Boss Key Productions. At Guerrilla he worked on the Killzone series as a development director and part of the management team. He is often credited with being the first successful Dutch game developer, sometimes mentioned as "the godfather of Dutch game development". On 23 February 2012 Brussee announced that he was leaving Guerilla and would be joining the EA Games studio Visceral Games as an executive producer working...

Yoshinori Ono
# 42
Yoshinori Ono
#151706 person's overall influence

is a Japanese video game producer and former sound producer and composer for Capcom. He has acted as producer on the Street Fighter franchise since 1998.

# 43
Masahiro Sakurai

1970 - Present (50 years)

#115645 person's overall influence

is a Japanese video game director and game designer best known as the creator of the Kirby and Super Smash Bros. series. Apart from his work on those series, he also led the design of Meteos in 2005 and directed Kid Icarus: Uprising in 2012. Formerly an employee of HAL Laboratory, he founded Sora Ltd. in 2005, a company he still leads. He is also an author of a weekly column for Famitsu magazine, and has done voice acting work in some of his games.

Steve Wozniak
# 44
Steve Wozniak

1950 - Present (70 years)

#1576 person's overall influence

Stephen Gary Wozniak , also known by his nickname "Woz", is an American electronics engineer, programmer, philanthropist, and technology entrepreneur. In 1976, he co-founded Apple Inc., which later became the world's largest information technology company by revenue and the largest company in the world by market capitalization. Through their work at Apple in the 1970s and 1980s, he and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs are widely recognized as two prominent pioneers of the personal computer revolution.

Tim Berners-Lee
# 45
Tim Berners-Lee

1955 - Present (65 years)

#408 person's overall influence

Tim Berners-Lee (also called “TimBL” or “TBL”) is a Professorial Fellow of Computer Science at the University of Oxford and a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Berners-Lee is best known for inventing a markup language, the Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) that has (of course) become the basis for Web pages. In a very real sense, Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web! And more. In 2016, Berners-Lee received the prestigious Turing Award for “for inventing the World Wide Web, the first web browser, and the fundamental protocols and algorithms allowing the Web to sc...

Eric S. Raymond
# 46
Eric S. Raymond

1957 - Present (63 years)

#3589 person's overall influence

Eric Steven Raymond , often referred to as ESR, is an American software developer, open-source software advocate, and author of the 1997 essay and 1999 book The Cathedral and the Bazaar. He wrote a guidebook for the Roguelike game NetHack. In the 1990s, he edited and updated the Jargon File, currently in print as The New Hacker's Dictionary.

# 47
Cas Cremers

1974 - Present (46 years)

#422894 person's overall influence

Casimier Joseph Franciscus "Cas" Cremers is a computer scientist and a faculty member at the CISPA Helmholtz Center for Information Security in Saarbruecken, Germany.

Sid Meier
# 48
Sid Meier

1954 - Present (66 years)

#72653 person's overall influence

Sidney K. Meier is a Canadian-American programmer, designer, and producer of several strategy video games and simulation video games, including the Civilization series. Meier co-founded MicroProse in 1982 with Bill Stealey and is the Director of Creative Development of Firaxis Games, which he co-founded with Jeff Briggs and Brian Reynolds in 1996. For his contributions to the video game industry, Meier was inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame.

# 49
Dino Dini

1965 - Present (55 years)

#369226 person's overall influence

Dino Dini is a British video game developer and creator of the Kick Off series of football games. He was a lecturer at the NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands, teaching game programming.

# 50
Geoff Crammond
#114634 person's overall influence

Geoff Crammond is a computer game designer and programmer who specialises in motor racing games. A former defence industry systems engineer, he claims to have had little interest in motor racing before programming his first racing game back in 1984, but he holds a physics degree, which may explain the realism of some of his programming. As a consequence of that project he became a big fan of Formula One motor racing. At the end of the 80s, this interest, plus the ever improving capabilities of home computers, inspired him to specialise in programming Formula One racing simulations.