5 Jun 2020

The gaming industry is exploding in northern Sweden!

2019 was a record year for the gaming industry in Norr- and Västerbotten. The number of employees has doubled and the number of companies has increased by almost 30%. Today there are about 400 professional game developers operating in 70 companies and the growth rate is still high despite Corona.

The reasons for the rapid expansion in the north are several.

- In 2019, the number of start-ups was at the same high level as 2018. In addition, several new issues were carried out in the more established studios, public as well as private. We also got several studio establishments of companies already operating in other regions, says Lars Lindblom Arctic Game Lab.

In February, Arctic Game Lab conducted the annual follow-up among the gaming companies in the region (Umeå, Skellefteå, Piteå, Luleå and Boden) and the figures are really positive. Since the establishment of Arctic Game Lab in 2015, the gaming industry has expanded from five studios in Umeå with around 60 employees to today's figures with companies in all five municipalities within Arctic Game Lab.

We also have companies in other industries that have now started developing games to supplement their existing business. It is the overall effect that has given us this explosive development.



The survey also shows that finding the right competences is a major challenge. Therefore, Arctic Game Lab has worked intensively to establish game-related educations in the region. This fall, several new gaming educations will start in the region, which is a welcome addition and crucial for a growing industry.

- The goal is at least 1000 gaming students in Norr- and Västerbotten. In order for these students to build their careers in the north, Arctic Game Lab is working hard to connect students with companies. We create different types of meeting places and internships, says Magnus Johansson, Arctic Game Lab, who worked with the new educations here.



The survey was done before the Corona crisis struck, therefore a follow-up was also done to see how the Corona virus changed the situation. The result has been positive. The gaming industry is an industry that has been relatively little affected since the companies had a slight advantage because they were already adapted to work digitally. A large majority do not feel that corona affected the business at all. A smaller number experience a negative effect, mainly in the form of delays in different types of negotiations. Most companies feel that Corona has had a positive impact on the company, often in the form of increased sales of games or in the form of increased willingness to invest.



It is also important to see that the gaming industry in the north is attractive to developers from other countries. The proportion of foreign-born persons has doubled from 7% to 14% and several studios have changed company language to English during the year.

Increasing diversity in the gaming industry is extremely important and something that the project is constantly working on. As important is that the companies have managed to even out the gender equality.

- Today, every fifth developer is a woman. It is a figure that is far too low. Given that in 2016, only one in ten was female. So this is still a proof that the equality work has given some results, says Therese Mossberg, communicator at Arctic Game Lab.