Melanie “meL” Capone and Tarik “tarik” Celik have been named in Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30 Games list as some of the most influential figures in the industry.
UNITED STATES – Forbes has named Melanie “meL” Capone and Tarik “tarik” Celik among its Forbes 30 Under 30 list for 2024 in the Games category.
The roster of notable esports individuals featured on the list extends to Victoria Horsley, who holds the role of Global Competition Manager for VALORANT at Riot Games, Abby Sherlock, an Associate Game Producer at Riot Games, and Nate Schanker, the Co-Founder of M80.
The Forbes 30 Under 30 North America list highlights the achievements of 600 outstanding young entrepreneurs and pioneers spanning 20 different sectors, all contributing to positive change and innovation in the North American region.
This year, according to the press, Forbes evaluated over 11,000 candidates with input from both their team and a panel of independent expert judges to compile these lists showcasing 30 influential young individuals in each category. Evil Geniuses head coach and 2023 VALORANT world champion Christine “potter” Chi was among the Judges for the category.
“Melanie Capone is one of the greatest competitive VALORANT players to grace the game’s professional scene. She is currently the in-game leader of the esports team Version1 [Editor’s note: now Shopify Rebellion], and before that she led Cloud9 White, perhaps the best all-female team in VALORANT history. She’s earned nearly $50,000 and won eight tournaments, dominating the all-female Game Changers circuit.”
“A former professional Counter-Strike player, Tarik Celik won several of the game’s biggest tournaments and is one of its highest-grossing players, with over $750,000 in winnings. He was also founding member of the Counter-Strike Professional Players Association. In 2021 he retired from Counter-Strike and transitioned to streaming VALORANT full-time for esports team Sentinels, where his popularity has skyrocketed to include nearly three million followers on Twitch. His streams of VALORANT events often get more viewers than the official tournaments’ official broadcasts.”
“Victoria Horsley leads all aspects of the global match operations for VALORANT, building the operation from the ground up since its very first international event. The tournaments have achieved over one million concurrent viewers numerous times. As the first woman on VALORANT’s Global Competitive Operations team, she has been a central force in the development of Game Changers, VALORANT’s successful pro circuit for women and underrepresented genders. She is also a professor of three different esports management classes at Northwood University.”
“Abby Sherlock worked in community development for Blizzard Entertainment’s Tespa starting in 2018, and now works in Riot Games’ research and development department. Within the company, she organized the first RAD Genders Women’s Month panel and personally mentors young women who have landed at companies like Wizards of the Coast and 2K. For her Master’s Thesis project, Abby led a team of 20 developers, 86% of whom identified as marginalized genders, to develop the game Skin Deep, a game that explored female relationships and was displayed on the front page of Twitch with IGN. She was also the lead actress in the BAFTA-nominated game Blocks in 2021, and works on camera in broadcasting esports events.”
“In December, Nate Schanker launched esports organization M80, announcing a $3 million seed funding round to accelerate efforts across web3 and the creator economy. The brand has an aggregate reach of 15 million followers across social platforms, and its teams have already achieved competitive success, including a runner-up finish at the Americas VALORANT Challengers Ascension 2023 tournament, another runner-up at the $2 million Gamers8 2023 tournament, and donated $300,000 to charity by winning the international Gamers8 qualifier.”
Cover photo courtesy of Liu YiCun/Riot Games