The expertise in Finland’s game industry is hard to beat. Ideas and innovations are based on a robust game culture and large hobbyist domain. It’s as if the secure and stable business environment in Finland is made for a gaming industry that in general has long development processes and needs a networked economy. Innovation and technology skills in Finland are varied, especially in the mobile and PC + Console gaming arenas. The vivid demo scene is sure to bring a lot of new game innovations into the markets every year as well. All this is bringing more and more top talents and companies into the Finnish gaming community.
“There has been an increase in the international inquiries concerning the Finnish gaming industry,” says Mr. Arto Käyhkö, director, customer delivery & operations at Greater Helsinki Promotions. “We’ve received inquiries from companies in China, Israel and Korea, showing interest in mapping the partnering and acquisition possibilities within the Finnish gaming ecosystem. The message seems to be that gaming is perceived as an interesting R&D ecosystem and as a way for multinational corporations to boost their game offering through working with Finnish developer studios”, Mr. Käyhkö states.
Success stories from Finland
Several international success stories have their roots in Finland. Remedy Entertainment’s Max Payne I & II and Alan Wake; Bugbear Entertainment’s FlatOut series, Sulake’s Habbo Hotel (MMO-world), Housemarque’s Super Stardust HD; Secret Exit – ZenBound (Best iPhone game 2009) and Digital Chocolate / Sumea to name a few. Digital Chocolate has been twice (2007 and 2008) voted as the Best mobile game developer in the Game Development Confrence.
One good example of the Finnish forwards looking gaming ecosystem is the case of Futuremark Games Studio and their first PC game called Shattered Horizon, launched on November 2009. Instead of a massive marketing budget, Futuremark Games studio used a community based approach to developt and market the game. They started to grow a Shattered Horizon community in the social media right from the very beginning and especially in the beta phase, relied strongly on the player community feedback.The new layers of the game are developed together with selected community members.
“Shattered Horizon was primarily self-funded and self-published, so we knew we couldn’t compete with the big studios if we tried to develop and market our game in the same way. Instead of aiming for mass-market awareness, we embraced our niche status, we developed our small studio’s first game positioning and focused all of our marketing efforts into PR and community awareness” says James Gallagher, marketing planner at Futuremark Game Studio.
“From the moment we announced Shattered Horizon, we started growing and nurturing communities in our forums, on Facebook and on Twitter. We created places where people who were interested in the game could gather and share their enthusiasm. It is no understatement to say that the positive experience of growing online communities and encouraging our team to join in has completely changed the way Futuremark thinks about marketing and product development. There is simply no smarter way to run a business than by talking to your customers every day. As a result, we have seen huge benefits for no other cost than the time we put in.”