Dude who founded AGDQ in his mom's basement 13 years ago is moving on after raising $41 million for charity

AGDQ 2020.
(Image credit: Games Done Quick)

The founder and managing director of Games Done Quick (GDQ), Mike Uyama, has announced that he'll be stepping down from the role and "taking a break" after the 2023 Awesome Games Done Quick Online event. The current GDQ operations director, Matt Merkle, will take over the role.

The first Games Done Quick event took place in 2010, and was broadcast from the basement of Uyama's mother's house. Over the 13 years since, the organisation has raised more than $41 million for charities including the Prevent Cancer Foundation and Médecins Sans Frontières.

The various Games Done Quick events have attracted attention over the years for showcasing some remarkable feats of speedrunning, and the unusual and sometimes bizarre approaches that speedrunners take to everything from Half-Life to Minecraft. A particularly memorable event last year was the debut of a custom Zelda build, which really was magnificent.

"Since I started Games Done Quick, I’ve seen it grow from a small volunteer effort to the thriving organization that it is today," said Uyama. "I would not have been able to do it without the help of Matt Merkle and the growth of GDQ would not have been possible without the help of the speedrunning community, which has grown both in size and diversity over the years. I’m not sure where I’ll go next, but one thing I am sure about is that I will take a break and a vacation before diving headfirst into my next adventure."

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Awesome Games Done Quick Online 2023, which broadcasts over January 8-15 on the organisation's Twitch channel, will be Uyama's final event, with the proceeds going to the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

"I feel incredibly honored to be entrusted with the future of GDQ by Uyama, and will do everything I can to build upon the foundation he has built for the organization since its inception," said Merkle. "It’s incredible to see how much we’ve grown, transitioning from a group of friends in a basement to a company with over 50 staff members, raising millions of dollars for charity! I look forward to working with the speedrunning community and our staff going forward, and I hope to lead GDQ to new fundraising records!"

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."