Oulu Game Industry Overview

An overview of the game industry present in the Oulu Region, Finland.

Foreword

This article is based on the research did for the Oulu Game Capital (OGC)- EU Project that will be available to download in the near future. Till then, here is a sneak peak of the report.

We have build this report as it felt important to follow up on the 2018 study, in order to share more light on the Game Industry in the Oulu region to provide good source material to help local entities continue to support the industry in the most efficient way possible as well as for investors and companies wishing to relocate their activities / outsource them.

 

Industry Overview

 

At the time of writing this report, the Oulu Game Industry has  24 active studios including 4 service providers. 72.2% of the studios focus on Mobile,  16.7% on PC, 5.6% on VR and 5.6% on Other platforms. 

In 2019, the game industry is estimated to have generated 24.9 Mil € and is projecting an income of 30mil for 2020. The industry was formed by 181 professionals in 2019 and its positive projection is to grow to 228 professionals by the end of 2020. 

 

Financial state

While the majority of the companies in the region are still under 50k/year with a couple on the edge of survival, we have noticed an increase in the 500k-1M and 1-2M zone. Signs that the industry has been maturing as here are now more stable companies.

Employees/Company

Looking at the number of employees per company, it is safe to say that the industry is heavily built by small studios. Sign that the region has a good support system that encourages the establishment of new start-ups. 

43.5% of the active studios have 1  to 5 employees, 30.4% 6 to 10, 21.7% 11-20 and 4.3% 60+

Professionals

Although the number of active companies is stagnant, Oulu Game Industry employs more people every year, Fingersoft taking the lead but new players are catching up.

The number of industry professionals has grown steadily, based on our research, on average by 28.79% each year for the last 4 years, slowing down a bit in recent years but still keeping strong above the 20% threshold. 

It is difficult to project with any accuracy the real demand for new workers because of the competitive nature of the industry. Interviews however suggest that the Oulu Game Industry is looking to keep on rising with an optimistic projection of 25.9% increase compared to 2019.

Roles in the industry

The Oulu region is strong in regards to Artists and Programmers but lacks in other areas. According to the interviews, the biggest need at the moment in terms of employees seems to be Business Developers and Marketing/UA specialists and dedicated Game designers. 

There is a balanced overview from the interviews but in reality, the majority of the Business are coming from up to 3 companies with the rest struggling with different hats. 

The relationship between employees that are involved directly in development and employees involved in supporting activities, seems to be at an overall 65%-35% Development – Support ratio based on the interview questions.

Interns

 83.4 % of the Interviewed companies said they take interns and the rest 16.7 said they are currently not taking interns but will take at some point in the future. 

 

Future Plans

The situation is better than it used to be in 2018 and the future seems to be optimistic. There are currently few companies in the region that are also focusing on expanding to new markets, platforms or technologies.

The industry is surviving quite well, the only question is whether it will slow down or at what rate it will continue to grow.

Studios are planning to continue developing their processes and teams so that they can continue to release new titles in the near future. In regards to new technologies,  studios are keeping a keen eye on XR, Stadia – cloud gaming in general.

Ecosystem

We have a healthy ecosystem which consists of an open and willing to help community, a good government and private collaboration and an excellent educational model that keeps the industry growing.

 

Oulu Region is a rough diamond.

The region has potential to compete at an international level as an attractive zone for talent and new companies.  Oulu has a high quality of life, a high skill-level workforce due to the overall quality of education. On top of this, our local Business organisation (Business Oulu) has and still is involved in supporting the game industry thus access to public funds is made easier.