Lots of familiar names on that list
Forbes 30 Under 30 honors European esports talent
Esports has definitely made its mark in the newly released Forbes 30 Under 30 list. The Sports and Games European edition pays homage to the movers and shakers of the competitive world, with nearly half of the honorees coming from the gaming industry this year.
Esports players that made the cut
Many of the names in this year’s edition are active competitive players. Berlin-based G2 Esports received two honoree spots, one for League of Legends player Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski and the other for Rainbow 6 player Niclas “Pengu” Mouritzen.
Twenty-four-year-old Polish native Jankowski, who currently jungles for G2, had a stellar 2019 which included a second place finish at Worlds and an MVP title for his LEC Summer Split performance. Mouritzen, the 22-year-old Danish Rainbow Six Siege star, won Six Invitational in 2018 and 2019 and DreamHack Winter 2018. He also has the highest prize winnings in his esport.
FaZe Clan’s Swedish CS:GO player Olof Kajbjer Gustafsson was also recognized by Forbes. He’s also known for highest total prize earnings in CS:GO as well as winning back-to-back Majors in 2015. Gustafsson, 28, discussed his on Twitter:
Another CS:GO player, Astralis’ own Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz was recognized as well. The Danish AWPer is known for holding MVP nominations more than any single CS:GO player.
A notable esports figure honored by Forbes is retired mid-lane League of Legends pro Enrique “xPeke” Martinez. Formerly of Fnatic fame, Spanish-born Martinez needs almost no introduction as a member of the first League of Legends Championship team. At 27, he is now the owner and founder of League of Legends European Championship team Origen, which he also previously played for.
Why so many esports pros?
As Forbes states, every 30 Under 30 list is “personally vetted by a blue-ribbon panel of experts in their fields.” This year’s esports-heavy list is in part thanks to having two judges from the industry, Johan “N0tail” Sudstein and Carlos “ocelote” Rodriguez.
Sudstein, the co-founder and captain of back-to-back Dota 2 champions OG, and Rodriguez, the co-founder and co-owner of G2 Esports, were both 30 Under 30 honorees in 2019. Perhaps Rodriguez’s involvement helped positively influence the nominations of Jankowski and Mouritzen this year as well.
Why the honor matters
Forbes is one of the world’s most popular outlets covering business and investment, and is most notable for its comprehensive lists. With the esports industry expanding to a $1-billion market as of 2020, it’s no surprise that Forbes’ lists are growing more reflective of the field. The 30 Under 30 list is perfectly suited for esports as well, given the younger ages of players and administrators compared to other industries.
Having more eyes on the value of esports investments via Forbes can’t be a bad thing in the long run, either. With sports currently on hold to accommodate global health concern, we may just see an even more gaming-heavy 30 Under 30 in 2021.
If you would like to the controversial tale of another esports pro, check out our two-part piece on League of Legends pro Forg1ven.