A lot of countries across the globe have seen a huge growth in their game development sectors over the last few years, and one of these countries is Finland. This small country has a population of just five million and there are only 240 game studios, but they still had a turnover of €2.2 billion in 2018. This article shall look at Finland’s game development scene and perhaps, by the end you might even consider making a move to Finland to further your career in development or game design.
The Biggest Names in Finland’s Gaming Industry
A huge part of the country’s gaming growth can be attributed to the success that mobile giants, like Supercell, who developed the extremely popular Clash of Clans game and now make billions every year. Rovio, those who developed the fun, addictive, and much-loved Angry Birds, and the likes of Housemarque, Seriously Entertainment, and Remedy Entertainment are some other huge Finnish gaming names.
Over the previous five years, there have been many big international software developers move to Helsinki, and some of these names include the likes of Huuuuge Games, Ubisoft, Epic Games, Electronic Arts, and Zynga. However, it is not just the big companies that are setting up shop in Finland – there are many small companies that want a bite of the pie being offered.
At the time this article was written, the biggest boom in Finland is coming from the development of mobile games and online casino games – with most of the population enjoying mobile gambling, it is going to remain this way for some time to come.
The Finns Love a Bit of Gambling
According to Netticasinosuomi.info, a Finnish online casino news website, Finns are well known for their passion for gambling. This can be seen from the fact that Veikkaus, the country’s only gambling operator, turned over around €13 in 2019. You can find the games that they have created at Casino Helsinki, which is the country’s biggest land-based casino as well at many different online casinos. At the time of writing, Veikkaus has around 2 million customers, which is a staggering 45% of Finland’s adult population. Veikkaus is owned by the government, and any profits that are made is spent to help the country.
Any Finnish company can get help from their government, meaning Finnish gaming studios can get grants and support for technology and product development. We did say any, but this is not really the case since the project needs to be seen as an innovative one. This support is extremely important for new gaming companies as developing a game takes a lot of time and resources.
The grant program is known as Tekes and it has given money to over 100 game studios since it came into being in 1996. It is estimated that the program hands out around €140 million technology companies in Finland every year, and the Finnish government do not ask for a share of any profits that are accumulated. The government gets its taxes back when the company becomes successful.
An Increase in Foreign Employees
According to reports, the percentage of foreign employees in Finland’s gaming industry was just 18% in 2016, but this has increased to 30% by the end of 2020. This increase is really significant because it highlights just how attractive Finland has become for all those in the gaming world.
However, the lack of availability of experienced local professionals is a bit of a challenge for the industry. Education schemes that help to teach youngsters skills in game development are quite new in Finland, and the gaming sector is growing so rapidly that it is hard to keep up. Thus, most gaming positions, especially the big-paying ones, are usually filled with people from abroad.
Oleg Paliy, who is the CEO at Games Factory Talents as well as being the man who started Finnish Games Career Day, states that Finland needs to get their gaming talent from abroad because there are just 3,500 Finns in the gaming industry, while hundreds of vacancies are popping up all of the time.
Although universities across Finland have started offering game designing programs, they have not been able to keep up with the pace at what the industry is moving. This boom came about after the successful business that the likes of Supercell and Rovio have had – these companies have influenced others to try their hand in the gaming industry.
To give you a good idea as to Supercell’s success, they became a company thanks to a €3 million grant from Tekes. When they first started out, there were just six employees, but nowadays they pay more taxes every year than the Tekes program gives out. It really is no exaggeration to say that the future is bright for Finnish game developers.
Does Finland Have High Taxes?
This question is regularly asked by game developers before they decide to take their business to Finland. While it is actually true that Finland has high taxes, benefits like free higher education, affordable childcare, and great health services help make up for this.
A yearly income of €55,000 in Finland is enough to stick you into the wealthy category and you will not end up with many money issues. On the other hand, in places like America, a year wage of $55,000 does not stretch too far if you have kids and need to save for childcare and their future education.
Moving to a foreign country is a huge step, and the government of Finland are aware of this. Therefore, they hold regular programs where foreign technological workers are invited to spend three months in Finland to see if it is a move that they want to make permanent. This program gives successful applicants official documents, childcare and school, accommodation, remote working chances, and helps with permanent residency.
New and Exciting Challenges Ahead
So, as is clear from the above, Finland is one of those countries with a gaming and casino scene that is growing all of the time. However, there is a lack of trained game developers due to the huge demand, which means there are a lot of great opportunities for professional game developers from around the world. Therefore, if you are on the lookout for work and want an exciting and new challenge in the gaming sector, then Finland is a country that will be able to provide you with what you are searching for.