If eSports used to be a mythical word not familiar to anyone just a few years ago, right now it is gaining massive attention. From tournaments that get enormous $20 million dollar prize pools, to multimillion dollar acquisitions, to even the likes of ESPN signing up to $500 million broadcasting deals.
However while most of the market is focused on either PC or console games, one developer from Finland decided to go after eSports on mobile.
Today, Critical Force raised 4 million euros from NHN Entertainment Korea which makes it one of the biggest seed rounds for a Finnish gaming company.
NHN Entertainment Corp is a South Korean game developer and publisher well known for its online/mobile game brand called HANGAME.
Korea is the birth place of eSports and Asia – the dominant region before North America and Europe. eSports could be considered one of the top national sports there, much like soccer is for large parts of the world. The partnership with Korean NHN fosters access to the dominant market region and includes publishing of the developer’s new up-coming title called ‘Critical Ops’ in South Korea, China, Japan, India and Southeast Asia. For NHN Entertainment this is also a strategic investment and the start of it´s full-scale investment plan on global game developers.
“We are super excited to begin cooperation with NHN Entertainment. The funding gives us extra
firepower to extend our talented team of 18 people and take our strategy as a leading mobile eSports company to a new level. We have already been very thrilled with the player community’s reaction to our new title ‘Critical Ops’ and we are looking forward to starting a new era in mobile eSports together with NHN Entertainment.” said Veli-Pekka Piirainen, CEO at Critical Force.
There is a new generation growing up which will probably never own a PC. Mobile and tablet will be the standard way of gaming and Critical Force is on the track to becoming the global market leader of online mobile FPS games with the largest mobile FPS eSports community.
Critical Force is a Finnish game developer founded in 2012. Its first game ‘Critical Strike’, a Free-To-Play (FPS) game, has been downloaded 40 million times globally and its new game ‘Critical Ops’, which is currently in soft-launching stage, has been downloaded over 8 million times up until now. Those 8 million occurred through organic growth which makes the game developer stand out from the market leaders: as a startup they cherish community driven game development and engagement. The players are involved from the very early stage of the game and become part of the community already before the tournaments.
eSports gamers live their hobby and by actively engaging with the game development they identify with the community.
Raising money for a startup needs always persistency and endurance. The speed which with NHN Entertainment proceeded to finalise the investment round is remarkable. The connection was establish only in early spring this year, and their CEO visited Kajaani already in summer for the first time. That already gives a hint on how serious they are.
We are confident that we will see more from the eSports market in the near future, especially in the Nordics which is home to many of the world leading organizations and teams.
If you want to check out Critical Ops, you can get it here.