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A history: How Finland changed the direction of mobile gaming

A history: How Finland changed the direction of mobile gaming

"I've been trying to look at [the Finnish mobile industry] through the eyes of someone who perhaps wasn't in the industry at the time, and who is able to take a step back and look at things in a different way," opened PocketGamer.biz's George Osborn, speaking at Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki 2014.

Indeed, during his talk, which takes a look back at the history of the Finnish mobile games industry, Osborn admitted he wanted to break new ground.

He wanted to shed some more light on a scene that has been around for longer than some mobile gamers have existed, but this time, he aimed to offer a fresh perspective, untainted by nostalgia.

Founding fathers

Of course, even when you're trying to go in a different direction, you might still end up at a familiar starting point, and when it comes to Finnish mobile gaming, there's one name that's always going to get brought up.

You see, trying to talk about the dawn of the Finnish mobile scene without mentioning Nokia is an impossible task, but that fact only serves as a monument to the firm's success. After all, without Nokia, it's hard to believe mobile gaming would be where it is today.

"Throughout my research, there was one thing that really stood out to me, and there was one company that really made a big, intelligent, strong difference to the industry, and, as you can see, that company is Nokia," offered Osborn.

A clique but a good one: the Nokia N-Gage

"Although Nokia aren't influential throughout the whole phase [of mobile gaming] they were one of the companies that provided the important, pivotal investment, and they basically proved that the idea of mobile gaming could work on a global scale.

"They gave developers in Finland both the idea that mobile gaming could succeed, and the backing to make sure that could happen."

Mobile mentality

While Nokia undoubtedly got the ball rolling, it was the Finnish developers who ensured it continued to gather momentum.

Some people might have frowned at the mere mention of mobile gaming, but the Finnish demo scene, which was, and still is, full of innovation, enthusiasm, and solidarity, ensured that mobile gaming would become impossible to ignore.

"Nokia realised that gaming could be something very important to them, they realised it could be something they could build off," explained Osborn.

"The Finnish scene was particularly well suited to take advantage of that, because it was a hub for talent: talent who were perfectly suited to creating these fantastic mobile experiences.

"The Finnish demo scene encouraged people to go out and eek the most out of their devices. [It encouraged them] to go and do something really cool with a PC, or go and show that they could make a game using a pocket calculator.

"It's that kind of mentality that helped to forge this industry." 

You can see all the video presentations from Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki 2014 here.

Pocket Gamer Connects is the biggest mobile games show in Europe, which brings together the best speakers and delegates from across the industry and from all over the world.

To-date, Pocket Gamer Connects has been held in London and Helsinki, and the show will be heading back to the UK in January 2015.

To find out more about the latest show, head on over to www.pgconnects.com.

What do you call someone who has an unhealthy obsession with video games and Sean Bean? That'd be a 'Chris Kerr'. Chris is one of those deluded souls who actually believes that one day Sean Bean will survive a movie. Poor guy.

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