California-based PlayHaven, which helps mobile gaming companies retain, engage and make money out of their players, has started European operations in Helsinki.
The company has appointed former Rovio senior vice president of marketing Ville Heijari to its executive team to build and lead the company’s European operations. As the General Manager of Europe, Heijari will focus on furthering PlayHaven’s footprint internationally and serving the needs of local mobile developers.
It’s no coincidence that PlayHaven is focusing on Helsinki, Heijari told Good News From Finland
— Thanks to the education system, technology know-how and, a culture of design and creativity, and of course a number of incredible success stories, Finland is perceived as a hotspot for mobile gaming in Europe, he says.
The shift in the industry from paid apps to the free-to-play (F2P) market has created new opportunities which Finnish developers are busy exploring
— A number of developers here are weighing their options how to enter the F2P market and follow the footsteps of companies like Rovio and Supercell, says Heijari.
— Right now, we’re not looking to build a big organization in Helsinki but we are looking to help build more chart-topping Finnish success stories in mobile gaming.
Heijari says he is looking into companies which are just under the radar. He’s reluctant to reveal any names for now though it is no secret that a number of Finnish game studios are gearing up to launch new games in the second half of the year.
One goal, says Heijari, is to boost the amount of international venture capital flowing into Finnish start-ups.
— We don’t just think games and games development but sustainable, growing businesses, he says.
— Beyond Nokia, it is not going to be a single company which is the crown jewel of the Finnish economy. Finland has the potential to eventually establish a multi-million billion dollar mobile gaming industry.
Game industry is growing rapidly
The country is already on track. Last year the turnover for game development in Finland was 250 million euros (up from 165 million euros in 2011), and the figure is expected to double this year. About 1800 people are currently employed by the Finnish game industry.
What Heijari sees as critical is to lower the risks of this hit-driven industry where brands come and go, by helping mobile game developers increase their player retention and boost their revenue.
San Francisco-based PlayHaven analyses players and their habits and helps developers learn how to keep them interested and make money out of them.
Last week, the company announced it had acquired the team from Staq.io, a real-time game analytics start up, to accelerate the development of data analysis capabilities whichthat are critical to game developers.
Heijari brings more than ten years of experience in the mobile industry to PlayHaven. As part of Rovio’s management team, he helped grow Angry Birds into the largest mobile gaming franchise.
Article is published in cooperation with Good News from Finland.