Record breaking interest in the fast-growing games industry
Last week, two game conferences were arranged in Skövde, DONNA DAY and Sweden Game Conference. Over 1200 people with an interest in the games industry and the future of the industry came together for four days. Roundtables and panel discussions were interspersed with inspirational lectures and pitches for investors and publishers. In parallel, Sweden's first game research council met – and record figures showed the growth of the games industry in the region.
The Swedish Game Industry's statistics presented at the Sweden Game Conference showed that the games industry is growing at an incredible pace. In Västra Götaland, the development between 2020 and 2021 was as follows:
Number of companies: 120 (2020: 99)
Employees: 863 of which women 168 ie 19.5% (2020: 506 of which women 94 ie 18.5%)
Turnover: SEK 2,474 million (2020: SEK 1654 million)
Profit: SEK 1,078 million (2020: SEK 825 million)
Largest company: Coffee Stain Studios
In the report, Skövde stood out with a doubling of the number of women between 2020 and 2021. Above all, it is smaller companies that drive this development forward.
The games industry estimates that Sweden needs 41,000 game developers by 2031. 4,500 of them need to work in Västra Götaland.
"The regional hubs are a foundation for game development throughout the country and important success factors are education, public support and local community. Like all industries, long-term thinking is what creates growth. The games industry is stable, but not incorruptible”, says Johanna Nylander, Head of Analysis at the Swedish Games Industry.
An engine for the emergence of the games industry in Västra Götaland has been the close collaboration between business, academia and the public sector, and the work to build the platform Sweden Game Arena, which is located both in Skövde and Gothenburg.
– We have been working to support the games industry for 20 years in the Västra Götaland region and these investments and efforts are bearing fruit with more and more game companies and recurring game successes. We repeatedly get confirmation that part of the success is our ecosystem around game development, with close collaboration between business, academia, region Västra Götaland and the municipalities. In addition, we have invested in building a strong community with the game industry's industrial network that brings together game enthusiasts and game players. It is unique in Sweden, says Kenneth Johansson, Vice President at Science Park Skövde, who runs Sweden Game Arena.
Meetings to strengthen – and change – the games industry
The game week in Skövde began with DONNA DAY, a two-day conference focused on equality and diversity in the games industry. The conference was attended by a record number of women, trans and non-binary who came from all over the country to discuss how the industry should mature. Here, game developers, representatives from a number of game companies such as Embracer Group, EA Dice, and Kinda Brave Publishing met, and role models who were invited as inspirational speakers, such as Sigurlína Ingvarsdóttir (investor, advisor, board member and active in Behold Ventures) and Anna Norrevik (Development Director at EA Dice).
"The games industry is maturing and it is a matter of survival that it is becoming more equal. We must start to attract greater diversity, and then it is extremely important that those who want to make a career in the industry get to meet the game companies and listen to role models who have succeeded”, says Jenny Brusk, founder of the DONNA network and project manager for DONNA DAY.
The game week ended with Sweden Game Conference, which attracted almost 1000 visitors. For two days, game enthusiasts, the business community, decision-makers, academia and participants from the innovation system and politics met to discuss how the games industry can be strengthened. On site were, among others, representatives from RISE, the Swedish Games Industry, Vinnova, nine universities and participants from some of Sweden's largest game companies, such as Starbreeze Studios, Massive Entertainment, Iron Gate Studio and Coffee Stain Studios.
Sweden's first game research council
During the conference, Sweden's first game research council also met. There are nine higher education institutions that have joined forces with RISE to work with the games industry's need for research, and how the game educations can match the needs and expectations of the labor market and game incubators.
"The games industry is growing rapidly and research and education are crucial going forward. Therefore, we are now starting the Game Research Council, which in an organized way will work for the development of Swedish game research”, says Per Backlund, Professor of Information Technology at the University of Skövde, and one of the initiators to the Game Research Council.
The Academy is represented by the University of Skövde, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Uppsala University/Campus Gotland, Södertörn University, Luleå University of Technology, University of Gothenburg/Chalmers, Stockholm University, Blekinge Institute of Technology and Malmö University.