Finnish multimedia company combines games and comics

Founded in Helsinki in 2012, Tunnel Ground is set to expand into the US market in the summer with a new business model based on games and comics. The company is also aiming for the 50-million-player market in the Middle East and North Africa.

Tunnel Ground's Void of Heroes business model is based on a mobile application and a comic published under the same name. By purchasing the printed comic, players can unlock new features, abilities and information that contribute to the plot of the game. Void of Heroes also provides a sales channel for earlier comics published by Cosmic Times, Tunnel Ground's American partner. These comics are delivered to the player's home by Amazon.

The business model is further enhanced by an online marketing application based on social media sharing and QR code technology. The application combines print and digital media in order to provide information on products, gift code campaigns, the nearest retailers and forthcoming events.

To be marketed to millions

Tunnel Ground's partner in the Middle East and North Africa is MBC, a media giant with operations in 19 countries. The company owns the eight most popular TV channels in the region, with a viewer base of 200 million people. MBC mobile game platform will introduce Tunnel Ground's games to 50 million gamers. The company's partners in China and Taiwan include several telephone operators and device manufacturers.

"Funding from Tekes and Finnish investors enabled us to develop a technology platform for sharing games on mobile devices and smart televisions, for example. We also developed our business model in order to establish new partnerships in the comic and game sectors. Technical advances and our new business model enable us to build massive, complex items of content that offer us and our partners the best possible opportunities for making a profit," says CEO Jukka Planman.

"Finding key persons is a challenge for any start-up. It was here that Tekes had the highest input. Without Tekes, our development would have been much more difficult because international competition is fierce. Tekes's Skene – Games Refueled programme enabled us to network with veterans of the gaming industry and build valuable contacts."

Image and video: Tunnel Ground

Kaj Nordgren
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