The State of the Finnish Game Industry

Nolla Games - Noita

Next Games \\ Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales

THE PAST TWO YEARS, 2021 and 2022, have been twofold for the Finnish Game Industry. On one hand, there have been a lot of changes creating uncertainty and new challenges, starting from Apple's new privacy policy, which has had a significant influence on mobile games, and ending with the war in Ukraine, which has created significant macroeconomic turbulence.

On the other hand, these years have been a period of growth for the Finnish Game Industry in almost all measurable terms. As a whole, the development of the industry has been positive, despite the challenges.

One of the most notable developments in 2021–2022 was the reversal of the decline in the number of studios that had begun in 2016. By the end of 2022, there were 232 active studios, up from 200 at the end of 2020. This is particularly surprising given that 46 new studios were established during or immediately following the COVID-19 pandemic. Ultimately, it seems that the pandemic did not significantly affect the willingness to create new startups in the Finnish Game Industry.

In 2021–2022, Finnish game developer studios received over €300 million worth of investments, including Metacore's €150 million credit line from Supercell. This is more than during the previous period of 2019–2020 (€100 million) and proves that investors still consider the game industry as a good investment target.

The year 2021 was also the first year the Finnish Game Industry surpassed the €3 billion turnover mark. The total turnover was around €3.2 billion both in 2021 and 2022. This is elaborated on section 'Financial Outlook'.

Nolla Games - Noita

Housemarque \\ Returnal

By the end of 2022, the Finnish Game Industry employed 4,100 people, which is an increase of 500 compared to the end of 2020. This topic is explored in greater depth in the section titled 'Developers & Diversity'.

Perhaps the biggest news of 2021–2022 was the acquisition of Housemarque, the oldest Finnish game studio established in 1995, by the Japanese game giant Sony in 2021. Other notable deals included Playtika's acquisition of 80% of Reworks Studios in a $400 million cash deal with plans to purchase the rest of the company in 2022. In addition, in 2022, Netflix acquired Next Games, a stock market company with an estimated value of $72 million. All in all, seven game developer studio acquisitions were made between 2021 and 2022. While the prices of all the deals are not disclosed, the total value of acquisitions is estimated to be well over €0.5 billion.

Between 2021 and 2022, Finnish game studios published slightly fewer than 50 games per year, which is a decrease compared to the previous period (100 games per year in 2019–2020) and significantly less than during the mid-2010s. This confirms that the games-as-a-service model now dominates the Finnish Game Industry, with studios focusing on developing and improving their existing games rather than launching new ones. The main reasons for this trend are likely the increasing cost of user acquisition, fierce competition, and the longevity of existing successful brands. The rise of hyper-casual games, which was seen as another option in our previous study, did not occur during 2021–2022.