Quicksilva in 1981, Rod Cousens is amongst the founding fathers of the today's video...">

Rod Cousens

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Founding publisher Quicksilva in 1981, Rod Cousens is amongst the founding fathers of the today's video game industry. At Quicksilva's helm, Cousens devised a Global Distribution Network for its product line, which began with the Sinclair ZX81/Timex 1000 through to the Sinclair Spectrum, Amstrad and Commodore VIC-20 home computers.

He also coordinated an alliance with US publisher Acclaim Entertainment, Inc. to fulfil their UK distribution. Led and owned by Cousens, Quicksilva became the fastest growing company in its field before Cousens negotiated its sale to Argus Press, division of British Electric Traction Group (BET), in 1984.

In the same year, Cousens set up Electric Dreams, a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision, to develop and publish local content. The UK operation eclipsed the financial performance of its parent company and in 1985 Cousens was appointed UK Managing Director of Activision and later Vice President International.

During this period in his career, Cousens established a development presence 'Software Studios' within Activision, from which eighty percent of European revenues were derived and the profile of Activision as a leading publisher was established.

During the technology transitions in the late eighties from Spectrum through to Nintendo's first console, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Cousens recognised the benefits of exploiting product catalogue during the demise of a technology format. He sustained significant revenues on various formats such as Atari for a significant period beyond their decline.

The technology evolution encompassed the shift from the 8-bit Sinclair Spectrum and Commodore VIC-20 through to the 16-bit Atari ST and Commodore Amiga while addressing the emergence of the PC for entertainment software and participating in the attempt at an industry standard by the Japanese vendors, MSX and the resurrection of consoles through the NES. The recognition of software 'Assets' was apparent to Cousens as he maximized catalogue exploitation through sustaining revenues on redundant formats such as Atari consoles up to ten years before it's demise.

Cousens has masterminded several industry fund-raising activities, which began with 'Soft Aid' for the Ethiopian Famine Appeal in 1985, which, as a consequence, introduced the concept of game compilations to the industry. He has also participated in the establishment of industry bodies including: The Guild of Software Houses (GOSH); Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) and the European Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA). He continues his charity work with his involvement in Entertainment Software Charity (ESC).

Rod Cousens joined Acclaim in March 1991 with responsibility for the UK market and distributed territories. He was appointed President of Acclaim Europe in 1993, President and COO of Acclaim International in 1995. In 2003 he was appointed Global President and COO for Acclaim Entertainment, Inc.

Following Acclaim's collapse in September 2004, Cousens was appointed CEO to Britsoft giant Codemasters in May 2005.

Cousens has achieved global recognition and has been honoured by the industry with awards, which include the following: Computer Arena 1990 Individual Award for Excellence - Personality of the Decade 1980 - 1990; Indin 1989 Industry Achievement Award; Computer and Video Games Golden Joystick Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Software Industry 1984 - 1985; Computer Trade Association Person of the Year 1983.

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