High-profile figures in the technology world including gaming veteran Ian Livingstone, digital champion Martha Lane Fox and Imagination Technologies chief Hossein Yassaie are to receive honours
Technology leaders including Eidos Interactive co-founder Ian Livingstone, dot-com entrepreneur and government digital champion Martha Lane Fox and Imagination Technologies chief executive Hossein Yassaie have been featured in the New Year Honours List.
Livingstone and Lane Fox are to receive CBEs, while Iran-born Yassaie is to be knighted for “services to technology and innovation”.
Livingstone, best known as the co-author of the Fighting Fantasy role-playing books, co-founder of Games Workshop and president and chief executive of videogames maker Eidos Interactive, was born in Cheshire and became involved with gaming in the 1970s, co-founding Games Workshop in 1975.
In 1981 he co-wrote The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, the first book in the Fighting Fantasy series, which allowed readers to find their way through multiple possible storylines by making choices or rolling dice. Livingstone has continued to write Fighting Fantasy books since, including Blood of the Zombies, published earlier this year to mark the 30th anniversary of the series.
He helped create Eidos Interactive in 1990, which went on to become widely known for the Tomb Raider and Deus Ex games, amongst others. Square Enix, a Japanese video-games maker, took over Eidos in 2009, making Livingstone Life President.
Livingstone has also championed better IT education in schools, authoring a report on the subject earlier this year that helped inspire UK Education Secretary Michael Gove to order more computer programming in England’s ICT education system.
Livingstone has argued that children should be taught to create technology rather than simply using it, saying that the current situation is comparable to teaching children to read but not write.
“If we get (children) to code that’s brilliant – it’s not just about writing games,” he told the BBC. “It’s fighting cybercrime, and about creating the next jet propulsion engine.”
Sir Hossein came to the UK from Iran in 1976 and studied at Birmingham University, working on microprocessor technology in Bristol and joining Imagination Technologies in 1992. He became the company’s chief executive in 1998.
Since then Imagination has grown to become a FTSE 250 company and its PowerVR graphics processing unit has come to be widely licensed by manufacturers in the booming mobile device industry.
The technology is found in mobile devices from Apple, Samsung, Sony and LG, amongst others, reportedly shipping in a total of more than one billion products, including 300 million in the past year alone.
Sir Hossein told the BBC that while UK ICT companies are less well-known than those from the US, South Korea or Japan, British firms such as Imagination or ARM supply much of the underlying technology that makes those products work.
“Certainly in underlying technologies I think the UK is the leading country in terms of providing intellectual property and technology for a lot of the new things that are happening around us,” he said.
Lane Fox came to public notice during the 1990s Internet boom as co-founder of Lastminute.com, remaining its managing director through the dot-com crash until 2003. She later became patron to several charities before being appointed as Labour’s champion of digital inclusion in 2009.
She remained on board as the coalition government’s UK digital champion and helped launch gov.uk, a portal that aims to make it easier to access government services online. She is recognised for voluntary services to the UK Digital Economy and to charity.
“Spreading digital skills is vital for the UK and I am delighted that our work has led to the creation of both the government digital service within the Cabinet Office and the charity Go On UK,” she told the BBC.
Others on the list include Ofcom telecoms advisor David Cleevely (CBE), networking engineer Sir David Payne (Knighthood) and Digital UK chairman Barry Cox (CBE).
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