our game has just begun

Photo: Cities: Skylines by Colossal Order

What’s agile, has a remarkable growth rate, is global by nature and characterised e.g. by mean-looking birds, clashing clan warriors and that writer dude looking for his missing wife in a Twin Peaks-like environment? Answer – the Finnish game industry, a very special part of Finnish knowhow, which turns 20 this year.

FIRST 
THERE WAS
NOTHING

Then there were games. The first-known Finnish commercial computer game was chess, developed in 1979. The first globally distributed commercial Finnish game was a space-based shoot’em-up launched in 1986. However, the real advent of our game industry as we currently know it happened in 1995. That was the year in which our oldest, still-existing game companies were founded.

It is true that Finland is cold and dark for most of the year. So what is there to do other than sit in front of a computer? Some folks figured out long ago that the answer is ‘not much’. They started to develop pieces of software called demos to showcase their skills. Demos soon started coming together from all over the country and abroad, and the foundations of the still lively Assembly event were created.

THERE IS PROBABLY 
SOMETHING IN THE 
WATER

And then there was Nokia, to which our success in the game industry owes a great deal. They had the required phone coverage, international talent and even their own gaming device experiments. In addition, a visible trait of the Finnish game industry is camaraderie. It’s true, companies really help each other out over here. Finland has a public funding basis which enables risk sharing and private investment in the game business. All of this has also brought major global players such as EA, Ubisoft and Unity to Finland, to benefit from our knowhow.

Angry birds Photo: 2015 Rovio Entertainment Ltd. All rights reserved.

A LOT 
HAS HAPPENED 
IN 20 YEARS

Max Payne introduced a new game mechanics called “bullet-time”, which made gunfights look really cool. Like ballet with combat. We got retro rally-cars and award-winning demolition-derby trucks. Angry Birds rose and Supercell became big, or the biggest. Recently, the classic “city builder” genre received a new champion from Finland. Today we have so far the biggest entertainment product in Finland’s history from Remedy, the creator of that writer dude Alan Wake and Max Payne. Their latest title Quantum Break combines action game with tv-series style narrative in a completely new way. And did you know that Finnish Umbra’s technology keeps the world’s biggest titles such as Destiny, Call of Duty: Ghosts, the Witcher 3, Batman: Arkham Knight and more running smoothly?

In 2014 the 20-year-old history of our game industry was put between covers in both Finnish and English. The story of the sector in Finland is almost, but not quite, about entertainment only. We also have world-class success stories in learning solutions. Maths, business management simulation, tools in the cloud to make learning more interesting. You name it. The Finnish game industry is very active and willing to help anyone who’s interested in games on Facebook’s Play Finland group. You are invited and most welcome to join us.

The last five years have seen the Finnish game industry breaking the two-billion-euro turnover barrier, with over 290 game companies established. Among these we’ve seen interesting new starts from seasoned industry veterans such as Seriously, Next Games, Small Giant Games, PlayRaven and many more. Game so definitely not over!

OTHER FAMOUS
FINNISH
GAME COMPANIES

Frozenbyte has sold over eight million games of which seven million are their platformer series Trine. They’re a special company with coverage of mobile, PC and both last and new generation consoles.   

Fingersoft is an independent mobile game developer phenomenon. Their debut Hill Climb Racing has been downloaded way more than 100 million times and Hill Climb Racing 2 is coming.

Housemarque has over 20 year experience from console and PC games. They are still in very tight shape and working on new titles.

Cornfox & Bros brought your childhood adventure game memories first to mobile. Their debut Oceanhorn was very liked and sold well and sequel is on its way. Now it’s on your PC too.

Think you can handle your motorcycle well? RedLynx will crush your delusions cruelly, but with maximum entertainment. 

Mindfield Games. What’s really sexy? Creating game for Oculus Rift virtual lenses is. These fellows put you on a colony on Mars to solve a mystery concerning nothing less than “are we really alone in the universe”.