Finnish game industry grew into a two billion euro business

Best talent, private investments and Tekes funding and networks have helped Finnish game industry to become a significant industry and an increasingly lucrative investment target.

The turnover of the Finnish game industry has grown from MEUR 40 in 2004 to over EUR 1.8 billion in 2014. Today 260 game companies employ 2.500 persons and the turnover is about to break the EUR 2 billion barrier. Game industry is a remarkable business in Finland as its turnover formed 10 percent of Finland's whole IT industry turnover in 2013.

Tekes is Finland's most important public funder for game industry. During the last 10 years Tekes has funded over 100 game companies with appr. MEUR 70. In 2012 Tekes launched a programme dedicated solely to the Finnish game industry, Skene – Games Refueled. The goal of the programme has been funding of game business development and networking. Skene has funded Finnish game companies with MEUR 30 and companies themselves have invested MEUR 28 into their development projects in Skene.

Good investment for Finland and private money

"In 2012–2015 under Skene's operating time Finnish game companies have raised over MEUR 70 in private investments alone. Tekes funding is a sign of a very potential company to an investor. Furthermore, every euro Tekes has put into game companies has yielded 6 to 24 euros to Finnish tax payers. Tax income already totals to hundred million euros. It is important to know that Tekes funds always only a part of companies' development project costs and only the most promising companies. We expect Finland to get hi-tech jobs and know-how that is difficult to copy and move away," says Skene programme manager Kari Korhonen from Tekes.

During Tekes' Skene programme, global game companies like EA, Ubisoft and Unity have set foothold in Finland. Most Finnish game companies focus on mobile, but PC and consoles are also alive and kicking. For example, Remedy Entertainment launches its Xbox One debut game next April which is to be the most expensive entertainment product in the history of Finland.

Besides networking and investors pitching sessions, projects funded in Skene have covered e.g. development of game engine, development tools and innovative distribution platforms. Skene has funded also development of smart watch games, comic-game combination concept, episode based games and worklife wellness game.

Funding with impact for game business development

Seriously is a Finnish game company with the mobile game Best Fiends that has been downloaded over 15 million times and is available also on Apple smart watch. The game has generated over MEUR 11 revenue and Seriously has raised MEUR 20 in private investments.

"Tekes funding has been instrumental in building out our technology and processes for global growth in mobile publishing. The funding has enabled us to invest into our development process, analytics and tracking, creating a fully integrated tech stack that makes our game development and publishing competitive in a global market. With the funding, we have been able to 'lean forward' with our technology and R&D investments and have been able to scale up at a much faster rate," says Petri Järvilehto, Seriously's Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer.

Järvilehto continues that Tekes plays a very important role in the Finnish game industry, not only for startups, but also for established companies. Given the hyper-fast pace change in the game industry, established companies also need to constantly reinvent and innovate on new platforms and with new business models. Tekes funding also attracts private investments.

Life after Skene

"Skene ends this year, but Tekes will definitely continue game business development funding. Finland is the place to be in game business. We got the best talent and that attracts investors," Kari Korhonen tells.

Korhonen points out that any company considering applying for Tekes funding must keep this in mind: company founded, good business plan, convincing team to execute it and own money.

Download complete version: 10 years of Tekes funding and networks for the Finnish game industry 2004-2014 (pdf)

Image: Seriously

Kaj Nordgren
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