State of the Industry

Nolla Games - Noita

The stabilization and maturing process of the game industry that started already in 2017 and 2018 and has been covered in a previous study, continued in 2019 and 2020. The turnover remained stable, and 2020 was the sixth consecutive year when the Finnish Game Industry surpassed the €2 Billion mark.

Perhaps the biggest news of 2019 and 2020 was Israel-based Playtika’s acquisition of mobile game developer Seriously Digital Entertainment in August 2019.  All in all, Finnish game developer companies received over €100 million worth of investments in 2019–2020. The financial success of the industry is also reflected in the number of companies with a turnover of more than €1 million. In 2020, there were 46 studios across Finland in that category (34 in 2018). 2019 saw the first occurrence of 4 studios with an annual turnover of more than €100 million.

The decline in the number of studios continued in 2019–2020. At the end of 2020, there were around 200 active studios (220 at the end of 2018). This is partly due to intensified competition in global markets, but also due to cuts in Finnish regional support for game developer studios, with those cuts hitting early-stage start-ups and start-up companies the hardest. COVID-19 is also likely to hinder the launch of new companies.

Official game play trailer of Seriously Digital Entertainment’s Best Fiends

Although the number of studios is now smaller, the Finnish Game Industry employs more people (3 600) than it did at the end of 2018 (3 200). In the next couple of years, Finnish game studios expect to open 400–1000 new positions. The share of non-Finnish employees has remained almost the same as it was in our previous study (2018: 27 %, 2020: 28 %), and the slow increase can be attributed to restrictions caused by COVID-19 and general issues with recruiting and immigration processes. The number of women working in the industry is 22 %, and it has grown 2 percentage points since 2018.

In 2019–2020, all Finnish game studios combined published a little under 100 games per year. The number is smaller than it was in the mid-2010s, but there seems to be an observable divide between studios. Some studios are clearly striving for a brisk publishing pace, while others, mainly the larger studios, work in a game as service model and concentrate on developing their existing games rather than on launching new ones. It remains to be seen if the hyper casual, fast publishing pace model will challenge the game as service model in the future. Also notable in 2019 and 2020 were the launches of some very successful and critically acclaimed indie titles such as Baba is You, Noita and Space Haven.

Diversity, equality and inclusivity have been one of the hot topics in the Finnish Game Industry over the past two years. All these have already been present in the industry before, but industry organizations and companies are committed to continue developing the Finnish Game Industry as the best working environment in the world in order to have the best people making the best games also in the future.