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The Growth in Norwegian Game Studios

by Dylan Moran on 11/09/17 09:47:00 am

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


The regulated Norwegian Gaming Market is strong and dominated now by two state-owned companies, Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto, which have a very large part of the market in monopoly including gambling and horse racing respectively. The Norwegian Gaming Authority also has the authority to supervise illegal pyramid games in Norway to increase the revenue.

We assumed in 2014 that World Ventures is one of the illegal pyramid games and has also been settled in one verdict from Oslo District Court in 2016. The company has stopped their business in Norway due to some serious reasons. The verdict is appealed and is therefore not enforceable yet to proceed now. 

This main question was the starting point for an event at Arendalsuka this fall, organized by Game Hub Scandinavia, Interreg ØKS, and Flexible Education Norway.

The Norwegian gaming industry has achieved a lot more than the targets. According to Torbjørn Urfjell, Director of the Norwegian Film and TV Producers’ Association, we have much to be proud of in the Norwegian gaming industry because of the best working.

The director of the entrepreneurial division of Innovation Norway, Pål T. Naess, has also shared his knowledge about the field to train the maximum people. Innovation Norway is responsible for the distribution of much of the funding that goes into games, including the programmed “Spill Ut I Verden”. New on the job, he’s shown his interest in the Norwegian gaming industry, and it’s potential for growth.

State Secretary Dilek Ayhan looks that the game developers are highly qualified and skilled. She shared different measures for the promotion of the video game industry. One of these is the scheme “SKaTTEFunn”, which is not popular with everyone. The scheme is also able in providing the tax relief for companies engaged in research and development. Some developers also offer free spins no deposit games which allow gamers to spin for free without making actual deposits.

The gaming industry in Norway has emerged with the tremendous results, including winning numerous prizes at the indie scene at GDC in San Francisco this spring. We’ve also enjoyed the arrival of our first Norwegian game publisher, Snow Canon Games, with offices in Norway and Palo Alto. Thus, the Norwegian gaming industry is now represented as the value chain, although the market for Norwegian games is very wide with a large number of people.

Boom in Developer Numbers

The main reason for the big revelation is just how many New Norwegian developers have entered the market to show their abilities. Almost more than 60 companies have been formed the past three years, and that is out of a total of just 140 companies in the whole sector.

However, this is the fact that almost all of the newly established companies are more indie-inspired, basing themselves on smaller but effective teams, producing smaller, often more experimental titles for PC and mobile platforms, rather than traditional gaming consoles.

 The Growth in Norwegian Game Studios 1990-2015

This, however, is not just a reflection of what's in fashion right now and what will be the demand in the coming future. It’s also a reflection of the current state of the Norwegian games industry, where there are very few established companies to show up the new talent entering the business.

"When Funcom moved much of its production to Montreal, it left some experienced talent in Norway who then started newly established companies," Stang explains.

This change can be seen in the choice of platform. 35 games were released last year by Norwegian developers - 27 of these games were available on mobile platforms.

Revenue Trailing

While things are obviously happening in the Norwegian games industry creatively, there are also other factors that suggest that the one major problem for the developers in Norway is to monetize their products properly.

The Norwegian games industry consists of 565 people that results that each employee generating a turnover of about $74,000.

This gets Norway far below its local competition because it’s $170,000 per employee in Denmark, $288,000 per employee in Sweden and a massive $648,000 per employee in Finland.

Investor Risk and Reward

The report also clearly points out the biggest threats to the continued growth of the Norwegian games industry as is the case in Denmark, the biggest issue is the lack of investors in the industry.

The report points out how the investors themselves, the financial system, and the public authorities, are all ready for the more traditional investments in oil or real estate industries.

Part of the gaming industry is the best achievement that’s the result of the Norwegian Film Institute, which distributes funding for the industry to get better results and has allowed games such as Among the Sleep to get a head start to get more development. In November 2014, nine games received $1.1 million Norwegian Kroner as its revenue.

All this activity has been proved useful and creates more developers to go full-time with full abilities. According to a new report from the Norwegian Producers Association, 60 new companies were created alongside 127 new jobs between 2012 and 2014 and it is a great achievement.

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