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Culture trumps strategy: Why Neogames looks beyond Excel to define Finland's success

KooPee Hiltunen is number crunching
Culture trumps strategy: Why Neogames looks beyond Excel to define Finland's success

I have spent the last couple of days with Excel sheets and numbers.

The reason for this is that we (Neogames) are conducting a study about the Finnish game industry. We're covering how was 2014? And what does the future look like?

Working for the Finnish game industry, this kind of pottering around with numbers is very rewarding.

All the numeric indicators show that we are doing pretty well.

The number of people working in the Finnish game industry is now four time larger (2,500 compared to 600) than ten years ago in 2005 when we published the first Finnish Game Industry study.

The number of companies has grown from approximately 50 to 260, and turnover multiplied too.

In 2005, it was €40 million. Now it is more than €1 billion. Indeed, the only question is, how much (or how many times) over €1 billion it is.

So, it seems that as an industry, we are meeting our mark and achieving all the goals with flying colours.

Future shock

Toying with numbers is very intriguing but I have learned something during my years in this industry and other digital industries.

Today's numbers are good for making a score card but lousy for predicting the future or, to be exact, what is relevant for the future success.

How a spreadsheet of Finnish mobile companies might look
How a spreadsheet of Finnish mobile companies might look

Today's numbers are like coordinates. They tell you where you stand but they don't tell where to go and how.

During my frantic Excel session some of my Facebook friends posted news about Finnish Game Jam which is part of Global Game Jam.

Global Game Jam - like so many game-related activities - have gained popularity in Finland.

The first Finnish Game Jam was organized already in 2010 and in 2013 a group of Finnish activists established Finnish Game Jam Association.

“Today's numbers are like coordinates. They tell you where you stand but they don't tell where to go and how.”
KooPee Hiltunen

This year the Finnish Game Jam has grown to be quite big: 15 sites all over the country, almost 700 jammers and 80 organizers.

Compared to the population, Finland is one of the biggest, if not the biggest Global Game Jammer.

Future proof

And this gives me more faith in the future than any of the numbers in my Excel sheets.

The Finnish game industry started from this kind of activity - hobbyists creating games without any economic pressure and people doing the things they like to do.

It's my firm belief that the hobbyists and the people mentoring them are one of the keys to future success.

So as fascinated as I am by (my precious) figures about the Finnish game industry, I try to keep in mind that Excel sheets don´t develop games. People do.

When looking at numbers, just remember that numbers are best for the score cards.

KooPee Hiltunen is the director of Neogames Finland Association.

Neogames Finland Association is a member-based non-profit game industry organization.

Neogames' mission is to accelerate, coordinate, and support the development of the Finnish game cluster.