Finland is, in many ways, the spiritual home of the mobile gaming industry, and the country still enjoys a thriving scene, being the home of mobile gaming hitmakers such as Rovio and Supercell, as well as recently garnering the attention of the likes of Netflix. This was highlighted at tonight's 2023 Finnish Game Awards.
“Tonight we honour the incredible games and talented individuals who have inspired us with their creativity and pushed the boundaries of what is possible in the gaming world, from the stunning visuals and immersive gameplay of blockbuster titles to the smaller indie games that capture our hearts,” said online host Jeemu Hiilinen.
Metacore CEO and co-founder Mika Tammenkoski acted as the event’s keynote speaker, reflecting on the industry’s turbulent year.
“I would love to start by saying it’s been a great year for the games industry, but I know that isn’t entirely true,” said Tammenkoski. “In many ways it’s actually been a really tough year. Some studios have been closed down, others have gone to layoffs, funding is coarse, overall market has declined, and global events have had an effect on the wellbeing of people.
“There’s a lot of pessimism about the future of the industry, especially mobile. At GDC a month a go, most of the people I met had very grim outlooks. There was even talk about a mobile winter out there.”
An ageing industry?
“All this talk about the golden years being over is premature. The Finnish game industry has grown so quickly over the last ten years that we sometimes forget that games are an extremely young industry,” Tammenkoski continued.
To reiterate his point, Tammenkoski pointed to both cinema and television, both of which continue to revolutionise and evolve.
“Fifty years, is that a long time or not compared to 130? I don’t think so. Were the first fifty years of movies or TV the golden years of movie or TV? No, of course not. In games, we’re only getting started.
“The fact is that this is only the tip of the iceberg: the global games industry is going to be even bigger. We already have a lot to celebrate about games in Finland. Today, over 2 billion people across the world have played Finnish games. Games have grown to be Finland’s biggest cultural export, as well as a major pull factor for global talent relocating all the way to Helsinki to be able to make games, but the industry still has a lot of growing up to do.
“Someone is going to find the next growth phase, regardless of what we believe here in Finland. The question is: do we want to be the ones who push the industry forward, define what the future of games looks like, or are we going to sit back and let others define it for us?”
Closing his keynote, Tammenkoski identified three key factors the Finnish industry should keep in mind in order to maximise growth: taking care of existing talent, finding new ways to onboard younger talent, and new ways to open gaming up to new skillsets.
“These three areas need to be tackled by the industry together. They’re complex themes that probably won’t be solved tonight, definitely not tomorrow morning, but hopefully they’re on every game company’s agenda in the months and years to come.
In March, Metacore's smash hit Merge Mansion made its debut in China.