Computer game development an important market for Kronoberg’s investors
Mission: Invest in Gaming
Setting: Teleborgs Slott
Sole target: Conquer wisdom
Main characters: Visionaries, Developers, Designers, Investors, Dragons of Know-how
With the task of taking Teleborg Castle, the forces had landed in Småland’s green forests. In the air, there was a sense of expectation and perhaps some uncertainty. The fog lay tightly over the castle garden when the first rays of the morning sun were sown through the clouds. The hours went by and when the big castle tour struck 12 strokes, the planned attack occurred. The sun’s rays brightened strongly and created sharp shadows on the ground. The forces quickly pulled out of the woods, quickly jumped up the castle staircase and stormed into the hall of the castle …
The first thing they met was a happy and anticipated Sebastian Bocaciu, project manager for the event. With a smile and steady handshake, the troops were welcomed into the beautiful lounges. The strengths we are talking about are the participants of the Invest in Gaming event organized by us at the business incubator together with Almi Invest on Thursday, April 20.
Gaming is an incredibly large industry in Sweden. The computer games industry shows figures that turnover was SEK 12 billion in total in 2015. Swedish developing companies have succeeded in the international market, which is also reflected in the figures.
With that as a background, the event at Teleborgs Castle on April 20 was much sought by both game developers and investors in Kronoberg County. Questions that appeared among the participants were including what is required to succeed in a game.
The answers were not always that simple, but there was a clear agreement that the gaming development industry (gaming) differs significantly from the other IT industry. Within gaming lies a common underlying passion, a glow, and power of the developers. Its purpose is to get the outlet for creativity and innovation and entertainment in the form of games which is the way it is. The end product is very strongly linked to the experienced feelings of the user. So regarding the question what makes a product successful, and the answer is: It’s fun!
Both Johanna Nylander from the Computer Game Industry, Sebastian Badylak from Coffee Stain Studios and Mattias Nygren from The Station told us about the importance of understanding how gaming differs from the traditional IT industry. Behind the successful games in the development team, there are several competencies in addition to the actual code builders. Here you often meet graphic artists and animators, such as in an iterative development process with end customers creating entertainment. Games are an applied pleasure.
Another comparison with IT companies who manufacture software is that success can be achieved faster thanks to the number of employees can be held down. Comparing with, for example, Spotify, the IT product requires many employees and more they become, more users the service has. That problem does not exist in a game development company.
The fact that there is a strong driving force behind gaming entrepreneurs is the proof of recent years’ successes. This is also witnessed by the speakers during the event. They tell us about how they lived on a limited income, ate noodles and spent the night at friends to spend all their time on the development of games.
This driving force together with business knowledge can clearly bring even more success. During the afternoon at Teleborg Castle, several lessons and insights could be made to show how important it is for investors with gaming knowledge to meet the developers early. This allows investors to complete the development team with the knowledge about business models.
Managing without external capital can also be a model to achieve success. When Jaana Nykänen, CEO of Divine Robot, told about their company’s trip, the audience could see how success can also be achieved through hard work for several years. Jaana told us at the beginning how they engaged in Divine Robot in the evenings and weekends while had ordinary jobs. During the 7 years since the start, the time has also been spent on parental leave. But the hard work has also produced incredibly good returns and now Divine Robot faces an exciting major investment.
However, there is a big threat to game development in Sweden. It is the big lack of good programmers.
But to develop programmers and create meetings between graphics, developers, animators and talented entrepreneurs is a solution to how Sweden can move forward and maintain its internationally strong position. In some places in Sweden, there are gaming hubs and game incubators. It was clear that several such initiatives are needed in Sweden after the afternoon at Teleborg Castle.
Then it’s good to have something to be inspired by. A very good and successful example is Stugan.com. Jana Palm is responsible for this game accelerator in Falun who built a concept where game developers from all over the world who look for an intense summer out in the woods in northern Sweden. There they develop games themselves or together and they meet famous mentors from the gaming industry.
Invest in Gaming was arranged by us at the business incubator in collaboration with Almi Invest and with financial resources from the EU. We could thus highlight a large sector of the Swedish industry that needs more investments. In the afternoon we got in touch with both game developers and investors, which we could tie them together for possible collaborations in the future.
We are very confident about the future of the Swedish gaming industry.
Picture: the montage of Battlefield (Dice), Sanctum 2 (Coffee Stain), Nightmares (Tarsier Studios), Cotbot (Divine Robot), Tyranny (Paradox interactive).