Get 15% off Your Ticket to White Nights Moscow

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There is just under a month left before White Nights Moscow, which means it's time to start planning your trip! On October 10-11, 2017 the conference will gather leading game industry professionals in Congress Park at the Radisson Royal Hotel in Moscow. Over 1,300 attendees are expected.

The show will feature three lecture tracks and a big Developer Exhibition with over 100 talented teams from all over the world presenting their games to game industry gurus. Every team participating in the showcase will receive an exclusive, free mini-booth.

For more info on the Developer Exhibition visit: http://wnconf.com/en#exhibition

The conference program will feature presentations by representatives of Obsidian Entertainment, Playrix, BlackStorm Labs, King,  Nevosoft, Playtika, Google, Social Quantum, Appodeal, Pixonic, MyTona, Amazon, Unity, AppsFlyer, Facebook, Wargaming, Epic Games, Game Insight and other leading companies.

There will be a separate block in the program devoted to esports and blockchain in games.

 

Developers will also get a chance to win trophies and great prizes in the Indie Game Cup international tournament. To participate please apply before September 22. Please note that you must to be present at the event if you wish to take part in the contest.

Ticket prices kick off at EUR 150. Use promo code IGDA-Finland to receive a 15% discount when registering here: http://wnconf.com/en#registration.

Attendees requiring Russian visas can learn more information here: http://wnconf.com/#visa

PG Connects: Free Bus and Discounted Conference Tickets

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If you work in the mobile, PC or VR/AR games industry, Pocket Gamer Connects is the place to be this September. Taking place September 19-20 in Wanha Satama, Helsinki, it will deliver talks and panels, an expo area, free meeting system, massive party, indie pitch sessions and loads more. Celebrating its fourth year in Helsinki, PG Connects has become a popular fixture in the industry calendar.

This year the event has expanded into VR and PC, so it's three conferences in one. For more info on the conference visit:

IGDA Finland and Pocket Gamer want everyone to have a chance to take part in this event, so to make everything more accessible and convenient for our friends outside the Helsinki area we are organizing bus rides from hubs all around the country. The buses, provided by Pocket Gamer, are completely free of charge - you just need to register in this form and turn up. The deadline for register for bus is September 11th, so don't wait, sign up now. 

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/free-bus-ride-to-pgc-xrc-pc-connects-helsinki-2017-tickets-37088922967

A bus ticket doesn’t guarantee entry to the event - you’ll need a conference pass for that. As the event is so close, full price tickets recently rose in price. But fear not! The PGC Team wants to see IGDA members there, so they’re offering a 30% discount on this price to all IGDA members. Simply go to this exclusive URL and book your place now:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pocket-gamer-connects-helsinki-2017-tickets-31316271812?discount=IGDA_FINN17

They are also still accepting sign-ups for the Big Indie Pitch, VR Indie Pitch and PC Indie Pitch, so if you have a game project you’d like to showcase to expert judges, get in touch!

Get 20% Off Northern Game Summit

The Northern Game Summit (NGS) is an annual game conference and networking event held in Kajaani, Finland on October 5-6, 2017.

Kajaani is located 550 kilometres north from the capital of Finland, Helsinki. The Northern Game Summit doesn’t brag about its size, but rather on its easy-going and intimate environment where participants really have direct access to all the 500+ attendees. The event has three parts, the Business Mixer (a pre-party on the evening of October 4th), the Bonus Stage Party, and the NGS 2017 itself, which has six different tracks: Design, Production, Art, Audio, Business, and Technology.

The Northern Game Summit has attracted great speakers from all around the world including industry veteran John Romero, voice actor Adam Harrington (famous from Tales from Monkey Island and Wolf Among Us), Chris Evans from Blizzard Entertainment, Patrick Rose a Business and Product Analyst at Bandai Namco, Entertainment Europe, Eevi Korhonen a Game Designer at Remedy Entertainment and Timo Heinäpurola a Senior Engineer at Reforged Studios. A complete list of speakers is available on the conference website here: https://goo.gl/PBm7Td

This year’s panel discussion is about game psychology and how does games and gaming have an influence on the human mind. This will definitely be an interesting conversation and a worthy closure for the NGS 2017.

The Business Mixer is the NGS pre-party and game developers and others can mix’n’match there on October 4th before the conference. The Bonus Stage Party is an official conference party on October 5th that will have great people, Marioke, food, open bar and a small number of exhibitors.

IGDA participants can buy any ticket with 20% discount. Use promocode NGS-IGDA2017 to get it.

The event has been sold out in the previous years, so get your tickets ASAP: https://goo.gl/oFqx7s

Get a 30% Discount to 4C: St. Petersburg

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The 4C conference, co-organized by Wargaming and West Game Development Forum, will welcome speakers from leading companies such as Epic Games, Ubisoft, Supercell, Electronic Arts, Arkane Studios, and many others to foresee the future of the game industry.

The event will take place on September 22–23, at the Park Inn Pribaltiyskaya Hotel, in St. Petersburg, Russia. More than 80 industry professionals from the U.S., Canada, Australia, Europe, and CIS countries will share their expertise in developing, publishing, and marketing games. The roster of speakers will include representatives from Ubisoft (Sergei Titarenko, Development Director), Epic Games (Ben Lewis-Evans, UX Researcher), Arkane Studios (Eric Beyhl, Lead Environment Artist), IO Interactive (Maurizio De Pascale, Technical Director), and other big-name industry players.

4С: St. Petersburg will see, amongst others, a lecture by Glen Gathard of Pinewood Studios, who recorded Foley for the game Total War: Rome II, as well as, movies Guardians of the Galaxy and Edge of Tomorrow, and dialogue for Avengers: Age of Ultron, Skyfall, and Prometheus. Ralph Palmer, who worked as an animator at Disney on An American Tail, Pocahontas, and Tarzan, as well as the 3D versions of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, will speak about character creation.

The disciplines for 4C’s thematic tracks have been announced. The guests of the conference will be able to attend presentations and panels dedicated to 11 areas of game development and publishing:

  • Art
  • Audio
  • Business, data & marketing
  • Foreseeing the future
  • Game design
  • Mobile
  • New media
  • Production & leadership
  • QA
  • Technology
  • UX

Learn more about 4C: St. Petersburg and purchase tickets on the official website: http://www.conf4c.com

IGDA Finland Members qualify for a 30% discount. Use promo code 4CIGDA when buying your tickets. 

 

GameCamps Riga 2017

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GameCamps is inviting developers, artists, sound designers to Riga to participate in a 48-hour hackathon from Sept 29 - Oct 1. Teams will build a working game prototype and pitch it to a distinguished jury of game industry veterans. The best teams will earn the possibility of getting up to 10000 Euros in financing along with business mentoring on how to run an international game company.
Game Developers based in Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Sweden, may be eligible for FREE travel, accommodation, food and feedback. 

The registration is open until 15th September, so sign up now!
Registration: 
https://www.b2match.eu/gamecampsriga2017

Game Camps is an initiative to strengthen cross-border ties between the Baltic Sea countries’ game industries. It’s express goal is to help establish at least 10 cross-border game companies over the next three years, working with no less than 240 aspiring game developers from Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Sweden. Game Camps is co-financed by the EU INTERREG Central Baltic program.

All in all, four Game Camps will be held – one in each participating country – and the grand final is in 2019 in Silicon Valley, California, where the best of the best will pitch to a group of investors and fight to secure funding for their game. The first event took place in Tallinn, Estonia, from April 4 - 6. In total more than 60 participants, nine teams were organized, three winner teams were selected. Future events are planned in Kotka, Finland and Visby, Sweden. 

For more information visit: http://www.gamecamps.eu

 

4C Conference in Kyiv: Call for Speakers

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The 4C Conference will take place in Kyiv 23th–24th of September and is now calling for speakers. The deadline is 23th of August.

4C’s motto is: Create. Craft. Communicate. Collaborate.

4C: Kyiv is a conference for those who drive change, not just adjust to it. Listed among participants and speakers are world leading video game specialists and experts. Our goal with this event is to create a meeting place for the most innovative and aspiring developers from across the globe. We won’t be talking about the state of the industry today — we’ll be discussing what the industry will be like in 5 or even 10 years.

The event is sponsored by Wargaming, an award-winning online game developer and publisher, and one of the leaders in the free-to-play MMO market. They’re best known for the mega-hit game World of Tanks.

Additional information: 4C Kyiv_Call_For_Speakers (PDF) & http://conf4c.com/

Pocket Gamer Connects: Helsinki 2016

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2 Days, 8 Tracks, 100+ Speakers, 500 Companies, 1,000 Delegates, Endless Networking: PG Connects Helsinki is just around the corner!

The Mid-Term tickets to PGC Helsinki 2016 are still available and there´s a special 20 % discount to IGDA members. Go grab yours at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pocket-gamer-connects-helsinki-2016-tickets-20978722925?discount=PGC-IGDA

Pocket Gamer Connects is the conference series that reaches the heart of the mobile gaming industry. Curated by the teams responsible for the world’s leading mobile gaming site, it’s the essential event for anyone wanting to meet, hear, and learn from the leading figures from every corner of the mobile games industry.

Over 6,700 people have so far attended Pocket Gamer Connects conferences and have loved the unique access to the biggest names in the sector, the brilliant networking opportunities, and sharply honed content on show.

Who’s Attending?

Speakers and delegates from all the key industry players including:

  • Supercell, King, DeNA, TenCent, Gamevil, KakaoTalk, CJ E&M, Chukong, Disney, Wargaming, Kabam, Frogmind, Nordeus, Creative, Mag Interactive, NTT Docomo, Ubisoft, Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Gameloft, Sega, Capcom, Mag Interactive, G5 Grand Cru, iDreamSky, Unity, Wooga, Fingersoft and many, many more.
  • Hundreds of the hottest indie developers sharing their games in our Very Big Indie Pitch, Indie track, and I ? Indie Showcase zone.
  • Learn from over 100 amazing speakers across dedicated tracks.
  • Networking made easy via a dedicated meeting system.
  • Party and evening fringe events.

Additional information: http://www.pgconnects.com/helsinki/

Ropecon <3 IGDA

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Many professionals in the field of gaming have begun their careers through role-playing games. Ropecon wishes to honor that connection with this year's CrossGames programmer track, which explores the common ground between digital and physical role-playing games.

What game mechanics do they share? How about combining physical and digital games? The panelists and lecturers share their development and storytelling tips. The presenters include familiar names such as Karoliina Korppoo, Tuomas Pirinen, Touko Tahkokallio and Guest of Honour, Ross Watson.

The event is a great opportunity to network, find new ideas and tools from the realm of physical games or to simply enjoy yourself! This year we've focused on making the event even more welcoming to families, so you can bring them as well!

Find out more at ropecon.fi

When: 29th to 31st of July
Where: Messukeskus, Helsinki
How much: 35e / 3 days or 25e/15e / day (discounts available to children and elderly)

Come join us! We <3 IGDA!

En kestä Ropecon ilman IGDA Beers (Can’t handle Ropecon without IGDA Beers)

It is the summer holiday season, but if you're missing those good ol' IGDA evenings, we got one for you!

Let’s meet up for developer beers on Friday! Devs old and new, of role-playing games and digital ones. We have so much to discuss. And so much beer to drink.

We've reserved some seats for you at the Terra Nova bar, which is right next to Messukeskus. You do NOT need a Ropecon ticket to enter, so come in for an evening and chat with us over a beer.

The event starts at 20.00 on Friday 29th. No entrance fee.

We hope to see you there!

Vesa Raudasoja elected to the IGDA Board of Directors

Vesa Raudasoja, a long time active member of IGDA Finland,  has unlocked quite an achievement as he was elected to the IGDA Board of Directors. IGDA Finland warmly congratulates Vesa Raudasoja for his election and wishes him continued success in his future endeavors.

The results of the election came out on Thursday the 3rd of March and new board members will officially begin their terms on 1st of April 2016.

The final results are as follows:

  • Vesa Raudasoja - 473 votes
  • Lucy Morris - 318 votes
  • Melody Schaeffer - 241 votes
  • Cat Wendt - 213 votes

More information on the election and results can be found here: http://www.igda.org/news/278072/2016-IGDA-Board-of-Directors-Election-Results.htm

Vesa Raudasoja nominated for IGDA Board of Directors / Vesa Raudasoja ehdolla IGDA:n hallitukseen

A long time active IGDA Finland member and a Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Vesa Raudasoja has been nominated for International Game Developer's Association's (IGDA) Board of Directors. Raudasoja has been involved with IGDA Finland since the beginning, and is the first Finnish person nominated for the Board. Previously the Board of Directors has mainly consisted of members from North America.

A game developer himself, and having closely followed the growth of Finnish game industry, Raudasoja finds IGDA's role very important for game developer communities and wants to get European and Scandinavian voices heard more in the community.

"I'm sure that many game studios in Finland and internationally have started because of IGDA's activities. Without an organization like this the game industry in Finland, for example, would probably be much smaller. Game developer communities are very important and IGDA has been creating these for years all around the world.”

All full members of IGDA are eligible to vote on the election until the end of February. There are four candidates in total of which two will be elected.

Raudasoja will be saying a few words on his nomination at the February gathering on 9.2.

More information on the election: http://www.igda.org/?page=elections2016

Vesa's Campaign Page: https://www.facebook.com/voteforvesa

IGDA Finlandin pitkäaikainen aktiivi, Lifetime Achievement Awardilla palkittu Vesa Raudasoja on ehdolla International Game Developer's Association (IGDA):n hallitukseen. Raudasoja on ollut mukana IGDA Finlandin toiminnassa sen perustamisesta lähtien ja on ensimmäisenä suomalaisena ehdolla hallitukseen, jonka paikat ovat aiemmin jakautuneet enimmäkseen pohjois-amerikkalaisten toimijoiden kesken.

Raudasoja on itsekin pelinkehittäjä, ja on ollut seuraamassa Suomen peliteollisuuden kasvua pienistä indie-studioista satojen pelialan yritysten maaksi. Hän pitää IGDA:n roolia erittäin tärkeänä peliteollisuudelle, ja haluaa saada yhteisössä kuuluviin erityisesti pohjoismaista ja eurooppalaista ääntä.

“Olen varma, että monikin pelialan yritys niin Suomessa kuin ulkomaillakin on saanut alkunsa IGDA:n ansiosta. Ilman tällaista toimijaa peliteollisuus etenkin Suomessa olisi varmasti pienempi. Yhteisöt ovat erittäin tärkeitä ja IGDA on luonut näitä vuosien ajan ympäri maailman.”

Kaikki IGDA:n täysivaltaiset jäsenet voivat äänestää vaaleissa aina helmikuun loppuun asti. Neljästä nimetystä ehdokkaasta kaksi valitaan hallitukseen.

Raudasoja on paikalla helmikuun tapaamisessa 9.2. ja pitää puheenvuoron ehdokkuudestaan.

More information on the election: http://www.igda.org/?page=elections2016

Vesa's Campaign Page: https://www.facebook.com/voteforvesa

Northern Game Summit 1.-2.10.

This week we’ll see the return of Northern Game Summit, which is held now for the 4th time already. The action takes place in Bio Rex, Kajaani, on 1.-2.10. – only two days from now! The event will feature speakers from Finland and around the world, representing designers, producers, programmers, artists and more. Some of the speakers, like Colossal Order’s Karoliina Korppoo and Housemarque’s Ilari Kuittinen, definitely need no further introductions, but the foreign talent is not to be dismissed either: Hunter Grant (US) is an industry veteran currently working as Lead Cinematics Animator at Blizzard, Marek Rosa (CZ) and his team at Keen Software House are responsible for the hit sandbox game Space Engineers – and this is just the start of the impressive speaker list.

Besides talks, there will be partying, mingling and a game showcase on Thursday evening: the party, titled Bonus Stage, is hosted by Fingersoft and there will be an opportunity for companies and local students to show their games and meet other people in the industry.

Friday will be concluded in a panel discussion, “Everything there is to come”. The panel is hosted by Ste Curran and the panelists are Antti Seppänen, Mehdi Benkirane, Luke Savage and Tuija Lindén.

What makes this year’s event special is the NGS Mixer on Wednesday which is a chance for people in the games and film industries to get together and find opportunities for co-operation. The makers of Rendel, a Finnish action film to be released next year, will be attending. They will also take part in a panel discussion, “Games & Movies, Brothers & Sisters”, which is hosted by Kimmo Kari and other panelists including KP Hiltunen, Niklas Saari and representatives from Apollo Music.

You can get your tickets to the event from the NGS website.

Housemarque 20th Anniversary Celebration

Even though the IGDA season is over, the game industry keeps on partying. Last Wednesday Housemarque celebrated its 20th anniversary, where more than 400 game developers and their friends gathered to congratulate one of the oldest game companies in Finland!

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Housemarque prepared surprises for their guests: Consoles and PCs with studio's games were available for all guests, the various dishes offered were named after studio’s games. The CEO, Ilari Kuittinen welcomed everyone to the anniversary and started a party by showing recap videos of Housemarque games and company history (including the very special, previously unseen ones!). Finnish attendees were excited about the epic appearance of Apulanta (a Finnish rock band which was popular some years ago, as my Finnish friends told me). Marioke was the last surprise Housemarque prepared for the guests: Karaoke as usual, except that all the lyrics had been changed to game-related texts, for example "You are simply Tempest" or "Monkey Target".

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If you didn’t get a chance to visit the celebration, you can check out photos and videos in various social media with the hashtag #hmq20. Also, here is a link to Facebook albums from the event: https://www.facebook.com/Housemarque/photos

Thanks Housemarque for a great evening!

Photos by Sami Välikangas.

Pelialan järjestöt tuomitsevat pelikehittäjiin ja pelaajiin kohdistuvan häirinnän

Suomen pelinkehittäjät ry, IGDA Finland ry ja Neogames Finland ry tuomitsevat kaikenlaisen pelinkehittäjiin ja pelaajiin kohdistuvan häirinnän. Järjestöt ovat järkyttyneitä viimeaikaisista tappouhkauksista ja pelinkehittäjiin sekä pelaajiin kohdistuvasta vainoamisesta. Kansallisten viranomaisten on tehtävä kaikkensa puuttuakseen myös verkkoympäristössä kaikkiin rikoksen tunnusmerkit täyttäviin tekoihin. Suomeen on onnistuttu rakentamaan tiivis pelialan yhteisö ja järjestöt jatkavat työtään sen kehittämiseksi entistäkin moninaisemmaksi, jotta Suomen asema maailman parhaana paikkana kehittää pelejä vahvistuu entisestään. Osana tätä työtä järjestöt ovat sitoutuneet tukemaan kaikin käytettävissä olevin voimavaroinensa mahdollisten hyökkäysten kohteeksi joutuvia jäseniään. Järjestöt pyytävätkin jäseniään raportoimaan heille kaikenlaisesta heihin kohdistuvasta häirinnästä ja vainoamisesta mahdollisia jatkotoimenpiteitä varten.

Miikka Lyytikäinen Puheenjohtaja, Suomen pelinkehittäjät ry.

Jyri Partanen Puheenjohtaja, IGDA Finland ry.

Koopee Hiltunen Johtaja, Neogames Finland ry.


In English:

Finnish games industry associations condemn recent online harassment in global game community

Finnish games industry associations Suomen pelinkehittäjät, IGDA Finland and Neogames Finland, condemn all harassment in the global game community. We are deeply shocked by the recent death threats and harassment towards game developers as well as gamers, and underline that authorities should do all they can to stop this kind of criminal activity in the online environment.

For years we have been building an inclusive industry community in Finland. We continue our work on supporting its growth in an even more plural direction in order to secure that Finland will remain the leading game industry hotspot in the future. Consequently, we are prepared to use all our available resources to support anyone targeted by this kind of attacks in our community. For this reason, we kindly ask all our members to report any kind of harassment to us so that we can provide our help.

Industry Partner Interview with G-Cluster

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IGDA Finland has grown its ranks with new industry partners like Lexia and Amazon Web Services. One of the newcomers is also G-Cluster. We wanted to find out a little bit more about this cloud gaming platform provider and ask how they want to be a part of the Finnish game industry growth.

_MG_0445_dxoV2s Here is our interview with President & Representative Director of G-Cluster, Erik Piehl.

What are the three most important facts that people should know about G-Cluster? 1. Cloud gaming enables users of virtually any connected screen to experience great games. G-cluster is the leading cloud gaming platform provider. 2. Our platform enables telecom and other service operators to provide a cloud gaming channel to their end users. 3. G-cluster is a turnkey provider of cloud gaming: we have technology, licensed content and operations.

What differentiates your product from competitors’? G-cluster is already deployed globally: in Europe with Orange and SFR, in Japan with NTT Plala and Broadmedia and in the U.S. with a not yet disclosed tier-1 partner.

What are your different target groups and how are they different from each other? Our primary target groups are children, the female audience and people who used to be gamers. Our content catalogue has various games targeting these groups, supported typically by different price points.

About 78 % of the 1.2 billion gamers around the world play mobile games (Applift & Newzoo market research: http://www.applift.com/the-global-mobile-games-market.html). How do you think the mobile games market is different from other games markets? The mobile game market is unique in many ways: through app stores it has democratized the publishing ability of developers and thus challenged the role of traditional publishers. Mobile games market has introduced new low price points (even free) that we did not see in the past. For content developers it present new challenges and opportunities in that the audience is much wider and respectively the expected attention span of a game a lot shorter than in other gaming markets.

The cloud gaming market is expected to reach 8 billion by the year 2017. How does G-Cluster feel about this growth? We are already part of the growth of the cloud gaming market. 8 billion by 2017 is a huge and great goal. We see the market changing and picking up interest currently in an unprecedented way.

What made you decide to become an IGDA Finland Industry Partner? We have deals in place with about 40 game publishers worldwide. Since a lot of our DNA is coming from Finland, we want to have closer relationships with Finnish game companies and G-cluster better known in its birth country.

What is going to be the role of G-Cluster in developing and growing the Finnish games industry? We want to contribute to the boom of Finnish game industry by providing a new global distribution channel for games created in Finland. G-cluster desires to have games specifically created for our platform exploiting its unique features such as the support for multiple screens, and thus we believe there are new exciting opportunities for creative game design with us.

For more information check out G-Cluster’s website www.g-cluster.com

Editor: Tuuli Peltonen

Mobile Mixer event & IGDA Finland Networking event with Facebook

Welcome to IGDA Finland November Gathering with Facebook on November 12th!

IGDA Finland November Gathering will be a double treat. The evening will start with Pocket Gamer & IGDA Finland Mobile Mixer sponsored by Applifier, Rovio and Unity and continue as IGDA Finland Gathering sponsored by Facebook.

Agenda

5:30-7:30pm cocktails, food, networking & Mobile Mixer panel

Featured speakers: Oscar Clark • Evangelist • Applifier Oleg Pridiuk • Technical Evangelist • Unity Jussi Immonen • Senior Publishing Manager • Rovio Tiina Zilliacus • CEO • Gajatri Studios More to be announced soon!

Following the Mobile Mixer, IGDA Finland November Gathering with Facebook will mix the industry influences and mobile game superstars. Facebook will talk about the power of the Facebook Platform and sponsor some drinks!

Welcome to connect, relax and learn!

Pocket Gamer & IGDA Finland Mobile Mixer Time: 12.11.2013 at 17:30 Place: Club Adams, Erottaja 15-17, Helsinki Finland Register: EventBrite

IGDA Finland November Gathering with Facebook Time: 12.11.2013 at 19:30 Place: Club Adams, Erottaja 15-17, Helsinki Finland

How our new Industry Partner AWS can help Finnish game studios to grow?

IGDA Finland has recently got fabulous new Studio Affiliates like Frogmind, Kuuasema and Housemarque. Also Amazon Web Services, G-Cluster and Lexia have joined as Industry Partners. Welcome! Amazon Web Services (AWS) has witnessed several game industry success stories. That's why we decided to have a chat with the AWS guys to learn what type of business growth tips they can give to Finnish game studios.

When it comes to cloud computing, there's no bigger name than Amazon Web Services (AWS). Most likely every relevant Facebook and mobile game developer knows and uses / has used AWS. How big AWS actually is?

AWS: We have hundreds of thousands of customers in over 190 countries and among those customers we have a significant number of gaming customers leveraging AWS. Customers like Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Supercell and Sega all take advantage of the flexibility and scalability of AWS technology. For game developers AWS offers a comprehensive set of development tools and services that make it faster and easier for developers to build, deploy, distribute, scale, analyze, and monetize successful games.

Why you decided to become an IGDA Finland's Industry Partner?

AWS: We want to support the Finnish game developer community to help them become more successful in their game development efforts. Leveraging AWS services has helped companies like Supercell, Rovio, and Grand Cru to focus on game development instead of setting up and managing the infrastructure.

More concretely, how can AWS help Finnish game development studios to grow? AWS: Game development is part science and part art. Developers strive to deliver compelling entertaining experiences for users but never really know how successful their game will be until they actually launch it. A big question that a game developer must address is how to prepare for game success or even failure? For a Social Game the number of players can be unpredictable; for some games the number increases rapidly and then drops again. To cope with the rapid growth anticipated with their most popular games Monster World, Diamond Dash and Bubble Island, Wooga turned to Amazon Web Services. With AWS Wooga (link to the case study) could scale easily to meet their peak demands. On the flip side, when the peak was met and the game dropped back to a steady state they were able to scale back the number of servers they were using just as easily and all without the headache of acquiring and managing their own physical infrastructure.

Amazon focuses on five things:

1) Pricing - always looking for ways to drive down costs for customers. When Sega’s Online Operation team was looking for a new home for their public websites, AWS was the obvious answer. Once migration on to AWS was complete, Sega noted a cost reduction in server costs of 50%.

2) Flexibility – Game developers are innovators. They are always looking for new ways to bring compelling entertainment in the form of games to users and as such need the flexibility to stitch together infrastructure as they see fit. Sony’s Naughty Dog Game Studio (link to the case study), maker of the popular Uncharted Series, looked to AWS to support them with Uncharted 3’s online multiplayer features and noted that the ability to have low level access to AWS’ powerful services meant that they are never in a position where there is something they can’t do.

3) Rapid Provisioning – With AWS Auto Scaling game developers know that they can programmatically increase the number of servers they use to meet user demand. This means that they can provision only as much as they need to get started and as the game grows in popularity they can scale to meet demand. In addition, they can scale back down when the demand decreases to a steady state.

4) Focus on the game – AWS enables game developers to focus on what they love, building great games, while AWS handles the undifferentiated heavy lifting of core infrastructure.

5) Rapid Growth and Scale – game developers can be confident that there are always resources available to support the rapid growth when a game becomes a hit. Take for example the Finnish-based game developer, Supercell, that successfully launched Hay Day and Clash of Clans in 2012. Since then Supercell's player base has reached over 8.5 million daily players and to manage their infrastructure they use AWS. The AWS services are important for Supercell to manage the rapid growth of their server usage and keep their players happy.

Amazon has done lots of case studies, including many Finnish game industry super stars: take a look at the Amazon case studies to learn more. Just to highlight some, check out Rovio and Supercell case study.

Join IGDA Finland November 12th Gathering to meet with Amazon guys in person.

Spotlight story: Kotka game development scene

It is time to continue our tour around Finland. This time we will take a closer look on Kotka game development scene. Teemu Saarelainen, the new head chef of Cursor and a key person driving the growth of Kotka game development scene answered a couple of question about the local scene. Kotka game development scene in a nutshell: There are more than 15 companies in the Kotka game scene, ranging from game studios to various service providers (game testing, game music and sound). Most recent addition to our growing community is a game publisher: Playground publishing. The number of indies is naturally growing the fastest and we're seeing new companies being established quite regurarly - most of these stem from the game education in the region. Right now there are 5 new indies in the process of getting their business up and running.

Kotka actually has pretty long history of game development and the first game studio (Nitro Games) was founded in 2007. Game programming education has since then had an important role in creating talent for the companies. There's close, day-to-day cooperation with the local Kymenlaakso University of Applied Sciences and their game studies. Kotka area is also quite fortunate in the sense that the regional development company, Cursor Oy, has been pushing and systematically developing the local games business since the very beginning. Cursor also runs the Play Game Hub, which is the common brand for the Kotka and Lappeenrata game clusters, and LevelUp-spaces that serve as development platforms for new startups.

Image: Kukouri: Tiny Troopers

Nitro Games sure is well known but what else is there? The most recent success stories are definitely Kukouri Entertainment and Skyrock Games, which were both founded in 2011. Kukouri now employs 8 people and brought us Tiny Troopers & Tiny Troopers 2, which have 6,5 million downloads. Skyrock Games also employs roughly 10 people and has recently launched their first title, Gloomy Hollow, through Chillingo. They are currently working on their second (indie) title called Highland Wars, which can already be pre-ordered through Steam.

What are the key factors of the growth of Kotka scene?

The main driver for the development today is naturally the general interest in the games business, but without systematic support from Cursor in the early years and even more so recently, the game development community would probably not exist in Kotka in the first place. Another strength in the region is clearly the education: Kyamk, LUT, EKAMI & KSAO all offer game studies, so we get plenty of new enthusiastic work force. Recently we've also managed to work out a partnership with Google and Aalto University to support the local game dev community and bring their expertise into the area.

When Markus Råmark moved from Cursor to Playground Publishing, Teemu Saarelainen took the lead of local game business development initiatives. What is Cursor and Playa? Cursor aims to build a thriving game cluster in the South-East Finland and we want to create a whole ecosystem around the game development community. Our Playa hub (See also Playa Facebook group) has a strong presence in all of the major game business events throughout the year and we support companies that really want to develop and grow their business. The primary tools for this are the LevelUp-spaces (including hardware & software), Playa Launchpad (business development services) and Venture Gym program (startup accelerator). We're also looking into the possibility of creating funds and attracting venture capital into the region - especially for games. The big goal is a game development cluster which is recognized worldwide and is able to attract both new companies and new people to the area.

Image: Skyrock Games: Gloomy Hollow

After 5 years Kotka will be the leading game development hub in Finland? How to make it last?

In a few years we will have a vibrant game development hub in Kotka which employs over 250 people directly. There will be an even broader range of game studios in the area, but we'll also see more companies that will offer services to the game development community.

To make it last, we need to have quality education, a working startup-scene with good supporting activities, and funding for new games and new companies. Our dev community is a pretty tight bunch, so basically everybody here knows one another - and we're very much looking forward to becoming one of the IGDA local hubs. :)

Peter Molyneux in Helsinki on 19th of June - Free2Play gaming summit

From developers - for developers:IGDA Finland, Neogames, and Supercell have joined forces to launch a new free-to-play gaming summit in Helsinki called Free Your Play.

The one-day event will be held on June 19 and will feature a keynote by Peter Molyneux.

Apply for a ticket.