Strengths and Challenges

Strenghts

Forbidden Studios - Among the Trolls

- Finland’s secure and stable society and successful COVID-19 counter measures are seen as a good environment/basis for developing games now and in the future. In addition to decent salaries, many public services including day care, education and health care are free or low-cost.  

- Business Finland’s (formerly known as Tekes) financial support is well appreciated among the Finnish game developers, especially by the early-stage start-ups.

- Access to international risk funding: Despite the pandemic, the availability of private funding has been good and in 2019–2020 Finnish Game studios have received over €100 million in private funding.

- Home of one of the leading mobile games hubs globally: Finland was seen as the place to be when it comes to mobile game development.

- €1 million studios across the country: The individual success stories of game companies in local game clusters (outside of the Capital Region) have been a big encouragement to other developers in the same area. One leading studio can elevate the whole ecosystem to a higher stage in its respective area.

- Strong gaming culture and active game developer communities: Active game developer communities have always been a distinctive feature of the Finnish Game Industry ecosystem and their importance is well recognized.

Challenges

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- Fragmentation of the industry: The dichotomy between big successful game developers and small indies is a growing risk for the Finnish Game Industry ecosystem. It is very important to take care of the next generation of game developers and make sure that they are well integrated into the industry.

- Consolidating ecosystem: During the last two years both the number of new start-ups and the number of new game releases have decreased.

- Access to international talent: The global games industry senior talent shortage was a challenge already before the pandemic. Due to travel restrictions and the limitations to online interviews only set by COVID-19 pandemic, the recruitment of leading industry talents has become even more difficult and is currently seriously slowing down the growth of the games industry companies. Lack of marketing expertise and marketing professionals in particular is hindering the growth of Finnish companies.

- Education of local talent: The young generation, graduates from game education, seem to ease the need for employees, but juniors require more mentoring and support from the company they are working with. To utilize the full potential of new junior game developers, there should better structures and practises for education and guidance within companies. Furthermore, cooperation between the game companies and educational institutions should be strengthened.

- Increasing market uncertainty: Constant regulatory changes and increased tensions between technology giants (Apple, Google, Facebook, Epic etc.) are a headache for many game developers, and developers’ opportunities to influence them are scarce. In particular, Finnish game developers were alarmed by the skirmish between Apple and Epic that had escalated speculations of the possible banning of Unreal Engine at the time of the interviews. At the same time Unity has had problems providing promised updates on schedule. Choosing a game engine is a long-term relationship for the developer and trust and predictability are a necessity. Even though there is a lot of uncertainty about the future, disruptions have always been seen also as an opportunity.

- Looming economic downturn after the pandemic: A significant drop in purchasing power in the main market areas would be a challenge for the game industry as well.

- Access to local risk capital: As COVID-19 has made access to international funding more challenging, many game developers have contacted local private investors. Unfortunately, private funding in Finland is seen to favour mostly mobile game developers and big AAA PC & Console developers, while PC and smaller console developers with smaller productions are neglected.