Case Study: The Finnish Game Industry Ecosystem
Finland is lucky enough to have 13 years’ worth of reports about the local game industry and its development, thanks to Neogames Finland1Neogames Finland: https://www.neogames.fi/en/. So, we had plenty of information to dig through.
A Success Story
Finland has one of the most successful game industries in the world. It has a good reputation and steady government support. Games are seen as an attractive career opportunity by many, and several schools and universities around the country offer game related education. Thanks to certain historical factors, the industry also has a somewhat unique, open and caring culture, and knowledge sharing between companies is not rare. Plenty of companies are founded yearly, even though the biggest boom, caused by the initial success of Supercell2Supercell: https://supercell.com/en/ and Rovio3Rovio: https://www.rovio.com/, seems to have passed.
However, we have three main challenges. A lack of senior talent is slowing down the growth of successful companies. At the same time, fresh graduates find it hard to find their first trainee and junior positions in the industry. Some entrepreneur-spirited people solve this issue by founding their own companies. We also have a vibrant indie- and jam scene that regularly spawns new studios, but companies founded by non-senior developers often struggle.
The Case for an Incubator
Of these three challenges, the last one is most relevant for an incubator. A closer look at those studios reveals that most of them are professionals in game development. Unfortunately, few know enough about games as a business, about running a company, defining a target audience and branding a game and other subjects essential specifically for an entrepreneur.
Knowing the industry also led us to a unique opportunity: our game industry is very open and ready to share. Thus, a game incubation programme in Helsinki can more than most rely on the support of the community, volunteer work and mentoring relationships.