As we gear up for PGC Helsinki 2023, what better time for a refresher in what’s new in the home of mobile gaming?
Thanks to the presence of major companies such as Rovio - creators of Angry Birds - and Supercell - the home of the Clash franchise - PLUS Nokia's long mobile hardware legacy, Finland has a good claim to being THE success centre for mobile gaming.
Here's the latest news from the region so that when the time comes to network and chat at PGC Helsinki 2023, you can be confident you're up to speed with the latest.
The company aims to break free of what it calls “industry stagnation and platform boundaries”, reimagining gaming experiences and drawing inspiration from “legendary games that once shaped the future”.
To this end, the company’s core team of five industry veterans is focusing on real-time competitive games with strategic management aspects and solid core gameplay, with the backing of Supercell - one of the world’s most successful mobile game makers.
"Our mission is crystal clear, and we're wholeheartedly driven by it, building something we genuinely love is what fuels our passion, and we can't wait to share that enthusiasm with the gaming community," said Future Run CEO Riku Rakkola.
Possibly the biggest news of the year for the country’s mobile gaming scene is that home-grown Finnish success story Rovio will now be joining the Sega family.
Acquired in April of this year the studio will provide both its catalogue of characters and mobile game expertise to the Japanese video gaming giant.
For the moment, the industry can be confident that Rovio will remain a firmly Finnish studio, with no current plans to move their employees, headquarters or offices elsewhere. But given that the studio has been independent for so long, some may be wondering if the age of Finland standing apart from the traditional gaming giants is coming to an end…and with it mobile gaming being its own unique and unusual beast.
The announcement that the hard-right Finnish government was proposing new laws that would see any immigrant worker going without work for more than three months would be deported was met with harsh criticism from many industries. Naturally this included mobile gaming, as many felt it would dissuade potential foreign professionals from coming to the country and leave currently residing professionals fearing for their futures.
It wasn’t just individual companies or professionals commenting either. Neogames, the industry trade body for gaming in Finland weighed in and offered a stark rebuke to the government, saying, “Instead of helping to retain these top taxpayers in Finland after the layoffs, the new government plans to push them to search for new jobs in countries that offer greater administrative stability and security for themselves and their families.”
Meanwhile CEO and co-founder of Supercell Ilkka Paananen branded the move as being "catastrophic for Finland's reputation."
One thing you should know about Finnish megastar Supercell is that they’re hugely successful in spite of, or more accurately because of, their penchant for axing games mere months after soft-launch.
The most recent example of this is Floodrush, which saw the guillotine fall late in August and Supercell have previously explained that if their games don’t show the potential to be another unicorn ($1bn+ earner) then their team's talent and time would be better employed elsewhere. It's brave and ballsy but it works.
It's worth noting that Merge Mansion creators Metacore recently made headlines when they purchased the rights to former canned Supercell title, Everdale earlier this year. It might not have made the cut for Supercell but the game has found a welcome home elsewhere.
Finally, if you’re (somehow) unfamiliar with the massive success of games like Clash of Clans and Angry Birds, we’ve covered both these titles in our Mobile Masterworks series. We give you the run-down on these games, the reason for their success, the story of their development and more.
So if you want to get an idea of how two companies can take credit for turbo-boosting a single development market, there’s no better place to start than there!
Has all this Finland talk whetted your appetite for Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki?
Check out the event's website here to get your tickets and find out what's on, what's where, where to stay and everything you need to know.
See you at the show!