Markus "Notch" Persson, game developer

For a guy who shuns publicity, Markus Persson has been getting lots of it. The 32-year-old Swede developed an underground hit, called Minecraft, which has swept through the ranks of gamers like wildfire in late summer. Players do two things: build and explore. Think Lego bricks but virtual. Sounds simplistic, but the game's rudimentary charms have millions of players in its thrall. A survey of players who frequent's site for game news and reviews voted Persson as the person of the year, edging out the president of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata, and developers of a slew of this year's blockbuster titles, including Pokemon Black and White, Uncharted 3 and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Not that Minecraft has done poorly in the sales department -- it's sold 4 million copies as of November without so much as a krona spent on advertising. Doing the math, that converts to more than $73 million in revenue. Not bad for a game that was initially created by one Persson and is now supported by a tiny team of a dozen or so developers in Stockholm. Persson and his tiny company, Mojang, have embarked on another, unannounced title for the new year. Chances are, if you haven't already heard of his games, you probably will in 2012. -- Alex Pham
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