Nordic Game Conference: Finland scored well!

Nordic Game conference was held on 14.-15. May in Malmö, Sweden. This was the fifth anniversary with a renewed focus on professional content and an emphasis on the Nordic region’s role as a global innovator, and forth Nordic Game conference for me. All in all IGDA Finland chapter had a strong presence at the conference with two advisory board members: Aki and Lasse, Sonja (coordinator), Teemu (webmaster) as well as our top class volunteers Vesa-Matti and Jenni. The conference has grown strongly from year to year from a small event with only a few hundred participants (it was called Nordic Game Potential back then) to this year's full scale conference together with large career expo, attracting over 1200 attendees. Fifth anniversary was momentous for Finnish game scene because there was record number of visitors from Finland including high number of students. On top of that Finnish developers really scored well at the latest round of Nordic Game Development Program. There were 75 development support applications out of which 19 were from Finland. At the end four out of eight funded projects were Finnish! Congratulations to Frozenbyte (Splot), Housemarque (Rope), Everyplay (Groove) and Kloonigames (Crayon Physics Deluxe)! The next funding round will be in fall 2008, be prepared!

Other possibility to shine in front of a big audience would be to put out an outstanding game during this year and get nominated for the Nordic Game Awards! Last Wednesday the Nordic Game awards were handed out for the second time. Best Nordic game of the year was World in Conflict by Massive Entertainment. Massive defeated Housemarque's Super Stardust HD just slightly, where as Massive got the fortune and the fame, Housemarque got a special mention :).

Nordic Game conference provided quality keynotes focusing on developing software and hardware in parallel for the Rock Band game (congrats to Olli-Matti Rautiainen from Outokumpu Pelitalo who was the lucky winner of a Rock Band set!). The other keynote focused on Lego Star Wars and Indiana Jones titles and dealt with challenges when working with license owners such as Lego and Lucas Arts. Lego Star Wars series has achieved sales of 18 million units to date. Besides big development processes also casual games were well in the view. Panel discussions focused around Freerice type of serious games, poking at the Facebook, Wikipedia as MMO etc. One thing evident though is that non-gamers are here to stay and Nintendo Wii is just the start.