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New Massive Online Gamer highlights the Top 20 Most Influential People in MMOs
The newest issue of Beckett Massive Online Gamer (#25 Jul/Aug 2010) contains the magazine’s annual list of the top 20 most influential people in massively multiplayer online games for 2009. This year, a new face sits atop the list, replacing Blizzard Entertainment’s Rob Pardo, who topped the rankings for two straight years.

John Smedley, president of Sony Online Entertainment, and Laralyn McWilliams, lead designer of Free Realms, co-occupy the #1 spot in this year’s rankings, owing to Free Realms’ highly visible debut and SOE’s overall corporate direction and success. Smedley ranked #3 on last year’s list, and McWilliams made MOG’s list of the 10 Most Influential Women in MMOs in 2009.

Owing to the nation’s explosive growth in the MMO sector, five of the top 20 slots went to Chinese executives. According to article writer Richard Aihoshi, China “became the world’s largest online game market in dollar value last year after taking the lead in number of Internet users in 2008.”

The complete list is:

1. John Smedley and Laralyn McWilliams (Sony Online Entertainment)
2. Huateng Ma (Tencent)
3. Mike Morhaime (Blizzard)
4. John Riccitiello (Electronic Arts)
5. Jack Emmert and John Needham (Cryptic Studios)
6. Tianqaio Chen (Shanda Entertainment)
7. Taek Jin Kim and Yongchan Jee (NCSoft)
8. Jim Crowley (Turbine)
9. Andreas Weidenhaupt (Frogster Online Gaming)
10. James Ohlen (BioWare)
11. Gordon Walton and Rich Vogel (BioWare)
12. Yoichi Wada (Square Enix)
13. Hilmar Petursson and Noah Ward (CCP Games)
14. Min Kim (Nexon America)
15. J. Todd Coleman (KingsIsle Entertainment)
16. William Lei Ding (NetEase)
17. Steve Wadsworth (Disney Interactive Media Group)
18. Sergey Orlovskiy (Nival)
19. Klaas Kersting (Gameforge)
20. Mark Pincus (Zynga)

You can learn more about these top decision-makers, as well as check out our choices for honorable mentions and people to watch in 2010, in the newest issue of Beckett Massive Online Gamer #25, in stores now.

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