David John Braben, OBE (born 2 January 1964), is a British game
developer, game designer, founder and
plc, co-creator of the
series, space trading computer games,
first published in 1984. He is also a co-founder of and works as a
trustee for the
Raspberry Pi Foundation
Raspberry Pi Foundation
which in 2012 launched a
low-cost computer for education.
1 Personal life
2.1 Game development
6 External links
Buckhurst Hill County High School in
Essex. He studied Natural Sciences at Jesus College, Cambridge,
specialising in Electrical Science in his final year. In May 1993 he
married Katharin Dickinson in Cambridge. His current wife is Wendy
Irvin-Braben and he has two sons.
In 2008, Braben was an investor and non-exec director of Phonetic
Arts, a speech generation company led by Paul Taylor. Phonetic Arts
was acquired by Google in 2010, for an undisclosed sum.
In May 2011, Braben announced a new prototype computer intended to
stimulate the teaching of basic computer science in schools. Called
Raspberry Pi, the computer is mounted in a package the same size as a
credit card, and has a USB port on one end with a HDMI monitor socket
on the other, and provides an ARM processor running Linux for an
estimated price of about £15 for a configured system, cheap enough to
give to a child to do whatever he or she wants with it. The
Raspberry Pi Foundation, a charity whose aim is to "promote the study
of computer science and related topics, especially at school level,
and to put the fun back into learning computing."
Braben has been called "one of the most influential computer game
programmers of all time", based on his early game development with the
Elite series in the 1980s. Next Generation listed him in their "75
Most Important People in the Games Industry of 1995", chiefly due to
the original Elite.
Elite was developed in conjunction with programmer Ian Bell while both
were undergraduate students at
Elite was first
released in September 1984 and is known as the first game to have 3D
hidden line removal. In 1987, Braben published
Zarch for the Acorn
Archimedes, ported in 1989 as Virus for the Atari ST, Commodore Amiga
After Zarch, Braben went on to develop the sequel to Elite, Frontier,
published in 1993 and founded
Frontier Developments, a games
development company whose first project was a version of "Frontier"
for the CD32. Braben is still the
CEO and majority shareholder of the
company, whose projects since 2000 have included Dog's Life,
Kinectimals, RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, LostWinds, Planet Coaster, Elite:
Dangerous, Jurassic World Evolution, Kinect Disneyland Adventures, Zoo
Tycoon, Coaster Crazy and games based on the Wallace & Gromit
As of 2006, Braben was working on an ambitious next-generation game
called The Outsider, being developed by
Frontier Developments. As said
in an interview, he was planning to start working on
Elite 4 –
as a space
MMORPG game – as soon as The Outsider went gold. Braben
said explicitly that this title was of a special value to him. The
Outsider was abandoned due to removal of publisher support and was
In 2012, Braben explained in an interview with developer website
Gamasutra his opinion that the sale of secondhand games negatively
affects development of new titles, also holding the price of games in
general much higher than they would otherwise be. However, later
in 2014 he acknowledged: “Piracy goes hand in hand with sales. If a
game is pirated a lot it will be bought a lot. People want a connected
experience, so with pirated games we still have a route in to get them
to upgrade to real version. And even if someone’s version is
pirated, they might evangelise and their mates will buy the real
On 6 November 2012, Braben's
Frontier Developments announced a new
Elite sequel called Elite: Dangerous on the
site. Elite: Dangerous achieved its funding goal, and listed as
one of the most funded
Kickstarter campaigns. The game was
released on 16 December 2014, and by April 2015 had sold over 500,000
copies. As of August 2017, the game has sold over 2.75 million
On 5 September 2005, Braben received the Development Legend Award at
the Develop Industry Excellence Awards in Cambridge.
In 2012, Braben was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of
In 2013, Braben was co-award winner of Tech Personality of the Year at
the UK Tech Awards 2013.
Braben was appointed
Officer of the Order of the British Empire
Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)
2014 Birthday Honours
2014 Birthday Honours for services to the UK computer and video
In January 2015, he received the 2015 Pioneer, Game Developers Choice
Award (GDCA), for his work on the
Raspberry Pi and for working more
than 30 years as a game developer.
On 12 March 2015, Braben was awarded the BAFTA Academy Fellowship
Award in video gaming at the 11th British Academy Games Awards.
Braben is the recipient of three honorary doctorates from Abertay
University (2013), The Open University (2014) and York
University (15 July 2015).
Designer & programmer
Programmer (original 3D shape display code)
Designer, writer & programmer
Frontier: First Encounters
Director & writer
Director & designer
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Soaked!
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Wild!
Thrillville: Off the Rails
LostWinds 2: Winter of the Melodias
Kinect Star Wars
Chairman & Founder
Tales From Deep Space
CEO & Founder
CEO & Founder
^ What is Raspberry Pi?, Telegraph, 29 February 2012
^ Demand for Raspberry Pi, the British £22 computer, crashes website,
Guardian, 29 February 2012
^ Parkin, Simon (8 February 2017). "The life of Pi". New Statesman.
Retrieved 31 October 2017. Braben, who attended Buckhurst Hill County
High, a grammar school in Chigwell, Essex, was a natural programmer,
talented at maths and physics.
^ "David Braben". The Centre for Computing History. Retrieved 7 May
^ "Pre-fabricated homes certainly ain't what they used to be". Daily
Mail Online. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
Frontier Dev PLC: Director Dealings". FE Investegate. Retrieved 28
^ David John Braben. "David Braben: Executive Profile & Biography
– Businessweek". Investing.businessweek.com. Retrieved 23 June
^ "Google Acquires Phonetic Arts To Make Robo-Voices Sound Human".
TechCrunch. 3 December 2010. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
^ Rory Cellan-Jones, "A 15 pound computer to inspire young
programmers", BBC News, 5 May 2011
Raspberry Pi Foundation
Raspberry Pi Foundation website". Raspberrypi.org. 13 June 2014.
Retrieved 23 June 2014.
^ Rebecca Burn-Callander (15 January 2014). "The godfather of video
games looks to a new Frontier". The Telegraph.
^ "75 Power Players". Next Generation.
Imagine Media (11): 50.
^ "Virus". Atari Mania. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
^ "Coaster Crazy: Build, ride and crash any roller coaster you can
think of. For iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch".
Coastercrazy.frontier.co.uk. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
^ Q&A: David Braben—from
Elite to today, GameSpot, 22 November
^ Cox, Caleb (20 March 2012). "Braben sticks knife into secondhand
games market". Reg Hardware. The Register. Retrieved 13 April
^ TechDirt (4 February 2014). "David Braben, Once Angry At Used Games,
Now A New Business Model Embracer".
Rory Cellan-Jones (6 November 2012). "
Elite classic video games
remake seeking backers". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
^ Kickstarter. "Kickstarter, most funded". Archived from the original
on 18 May 2015.
Cambridge News (28 April 2015). "Frontier's
Elite Dangerous earnings
Cambridge Index". Archived from the original on 5 July
^ Phillips, Tom (15 August 2017). "
Planet Coaster soars past one
million sales". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved 15 August
^ "David Braben". MobyGames. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
^ "IET members among new Academy Fellows". The IET. 25 July 2012.
Retrieved 8 May 2015.
^ "UK Tech Awards 2017 :: 2013". UK tech awards. 2013. Retrieved
10 December 2017.
^ "No. 60895".
The London Gazette
The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 June 2014.
^ "Queen's birthday honours list 2014: OBE". The Guardian. 13 June
^ "2015 Game Developers Choice Awards Honoring Veteran Brenda Romero
With Ambassador Award,
David Braben With Pioneer
Award". PR newswire. 27 January 2015.
^ Nutt, Christian (March 12, 2015). "BAFTA Awards honor Destiny,
Monument Valley, and David Braben". Gamasutra. UBM plc. Retrieved 13
David Braben Receives Honorary Degree From Abertay". The
Scottish Games Network. 2 December 2013. Retrieved 10 December
Frontier Developments PLC (FDEV.L) People". Reuters. Retrieved 10
^ "University of York honours 11 for their contribution to society".
University of York. 14 July 2015. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to David Braben.
David Braben's twitter profile
The Guardian article Masters of Their Universe (2003)
Frontier: First Encounters
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