Young Game Developers and Their Net Worth

Young game developers are living a dream in the 21st century. Once considered a waste of time is now a cognitive development resource most researchers recommend the children to indulge in.

Just a couple of decades ago, kids into gaming were an example of how they are wasting time and will not get anywhere in life. However, 2021 is when more and more teenagers and young adults are turning towards the world of gaming to make a living out of it. The Top 10 rich and famous gaming entrepreneurs to set an example for these young and aspiring game developers include Palmer Lucky, Brian Wong, Marcus Perrson, Kellee Santiago, and Thomas Oliviera.

Video games especially streaming online games, are gaining momentum. Thanks to the pandemic lockdown that many new people have found the online streaming game as an escape from isolation. There has been a tsunami of gamers creating a new elite class of rich gamers. That said, this article will give you a brief insight into who the youngest game developers in the world are and what is their net worth.


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5 Young Game Developers with Fortune

The gaming development industry is worth billions of dollars now. Therefore, some of the young game developers have made it big and are worth a fortune. Here is all you need to know about the top 5 game developers who made their fortune at quite a young age. Most of them own their own companies employing young gaming entrepreneurs.

Let us find out how their passion for games development landed them amongst the elite of the world.

1.      Palmer Luckey

This guy is an inspiration to millions of game developers around the world. You may not know his name, but you will definitely know what he created – Oculus Rift. Yes, he is the founder of the world-famous Oculus VR that he sold to Facebook for $2 billion. Palmer is a millionaire, and his last estimated worth was $700 million by Forbes magazine in 2016.

Luckey comes from Long Beach, California, and was home-schooled by his mother. Before his passion for gaming, he took sailing lessons as well. He is an intense aficionado for engineering and electronics and took community college courses during his academic years. His journey to success started when he attended courses at California State University. During this time, he also served and wrote online editorials for several student-run newspapers on the university campus.

During his childhood and as a teenager, Luckey loved to experiment with complex electronic concepts such as Tesla coils, rainguns, and lasers. He also built a PC gaming rig that was worth tens of thousands of dollars. This thing required an elaborate six monitor screen setup.

It was his desire to experience an immersive computer-generated gaming world that led to his obsession for creating virtual reality (VR). It required rigorous work, and in the effort of creating VR technology, he built a wide range of private collections of more than 50 head-mounted displays. However, this was in the 1990s when he was only 16.

You would not believe it, but in order to build his first VR headset, Luckey had to earn a minimum of $36,000. For this, he used to fix and resell damaged iPhones and work as a part-time groundskeeper, computer repair technician, and sailing coach.

Fast forward 2009, and he co-founded the ModRetro Forums that he shared with his friend. The idea was to create an online community for the purpose of portabilization. This is basically a hobby that involves turning hardware devices into self-contained yet portable gaming units. These included PCs as well as gaming consoles. Palmer Luckey did not shy away from mixing old and new technology to make things work.

2.      Brian Wong

Brian Wong is the founder of Kiip. He made his share of fortune by developing this mobile advertising network for gamers. Wong thought of creating Kiip after seeing passengers on a flight playing games on iPads. These games had screens bombarded with advertisements completely ignore by the players.

Wong thought of the concept of advertising at a point when gamers are most likely to buy. These included level-up pop screens instead of selecting from menus. Kiip allows companies to advertise via tangible rewards. Brian Wong became a millionaire merely at 19 years of age and is worth around $15 million.

3.      Markus Persson

Markus Alexej Persson is a Swedish game developer. He is also known by his alias Notch.  Persson has designed various video games and programmed them as well. If his name does not come to your mind, then you may know him by the game he developed. Yes, he is the one who developed the sandbox game Minecraft. Additionally, he also founded the video gaming company in 2009 known as Mojang.

His principal game development venture with Mojang was creating Minecraft. The game gained him worldwide game since its demo in 2009. You will see a massive following of Minecraft fans wherever in the world you are. He retained his ownership of the Minecraft video game till its launch and later sold it to Microsoft for $2.5 billion.

Persson is currently worth over $1.7 billion and has established himself as a brand and epitome of what a game developer can achieve if genuinely passionate about the niche.

Persson has won multiple awards and established solid relationships within the game development industry.

4.      Thomas Oliviera

He is also known as FaZe Temperrr. The guy is one of the most well-known gaming personalities of the 21st century. Thomas Oliviera is also the owner of the most famous Call of Duty (COD) sniping clan called the FaZe.

The FaZe started its journey with a group of highly skilled COD: Modern Warfare 2 game players. They posted videos of their trick shots directly on YouTube. As Black Op2 came out, the clan expanded its reach and created a competitive scene under the leadership of legendary Oliviera. Oliviera is not precisely a developer but nothing short of a genius, so we decided to add him to this list. He is currently worth $1.2 million.

5.      Kellee Santiago

Santiago started her first game development venture under the banner of thatgamecompany in 2006. He graduated with a Master’s degree in “Interactive Media Programming” and, upon graduation, jumped straight into the gaming development battleground by establishing the company.

Her first contract was with a giant you know as Sony Computer Entertainment, and she developed three games for the PlayStation (PS) network. She did not believe in just being the president of the company and loved to be the product of the game development studio.

Despite her job’s fancy title in the company, Santiago actively participated in the design and development phase of the games. She ensured that to give her input to develop some of the best games the company has produced to date.  

Some of the well-known titles Kellee Santiago’s game development company has produced include Cloud, Flower, Flow, and Journey. Although her exact net worth is unknown, she is still amongst the richest game developers who made their fortune at a very young age.

Several other names come to mind when it comes to young game developers. However, most of these developers love to work with giant companies on a contractual basis or as full-time employees. So, have you ever thought about becoming a game developer? It is definitely worth exploring if you can really make a career out of your passion for gaming.


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