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Forbes’ 30 Under 30 for 2018 honors Ashly Burch, Markiplier and other gaming stars

Developers, YouTubers, executives all making an impact

Official Streamy Awards Nominee Reception At YouTube Space LA - Markiplier
Mark “Markiplier” Fishbach attends the Streamy Awards nominee reception at YouTube Space LA on Oct. 1, 2016, in Los Angeles.
Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images
Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Forbes’ annual list of under-30 luminaries in a wide variety of fields is out, and the gaming list — like the others — includes a number of familiar faces alongside rising stars.

The people-you-may-be-familiar with group is led by YouTube star Mark “Markiplier” Fishbach, 28. His channel of Let’s Plays, reaction videos, charity livestreams and more has racked up more than 8 billion views since its debut in 2012, and ranks among the top 35 YouTube channels with over 18.7 million subscribers.

Then there’s writer and voice actress Ashly Burch, 27, who has compiled an impressive resume with high-profile roles in games such as Life is Strange and Horizon Zero Dawn. Burch, who won an Emmy this year as a story writer on Adventure Time, was also one of the faces of the past year’s video game voice actors strike. Other names on this year’s list include Toby Fox, 26, the creator of 2015 indie sensation Undertale, and esports athlete Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg, 21, a League of Legends star for Team SoloMid.

Forbes also highlighted a number of key figures at well-known companies, people who may not have as much name recognition but nonetheless play important roles in the gaming industry:

  • Stanislav Vishnevsky, 29, co-founder and chief technology officer at gaming-oriented chat service Discord
  • James Boehm, 21, co-founder of the Microsoft-owned livestreaming service Mixer
  • Blake Rochkind, 29, agent at United Talent Agency representing indie developers such as Sam Barlow (Her Story), Dean Hall (DayZ), Asher Vollmer (Threes!)
  • Erik Martin, 24, senior education program manager at Unity Technologies and formerly a policy adviser in the Obama White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy

In case you’re wondering who put together this list, Forbes’ picks were vetted by a panel of three judges: Shawn Layden, president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment America; Ralf Reichert, CEO of the Electronic Sports League; and Kim Swift, design director at EA Motive Studios (and a 30 Under 30 honoree herself in 2013).

You can see the full list of gaming luminaries on Forbes’ website. In all, the company’s 30 Under 30 list features 600 individuals across 20 fields.

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