On a trip to see the activity around Google’s datacenter in Hamnina last April, I hung out with Markus Råmark who was then involved with the regional development agency Cursor. As we drove around Kotka to check out Playa, the local game industry space, we talked about the Finnish gaming industry as a whole, and the need for there to be a game publisher in Finland. For as much as we focus on games here in Finland, it is a bit odd there isn’t a solid publisher that can help with the marketing and promotion know-how that turns a finished game into a hit.
Today it’s easy to self publish games, you can just throw it up in the app store. But the logic with getting behind a publisher is that developers are experts of creating an amazing game experience, but may not have the knowledge to be experts at the marketing, PR, and analytics that make up a successful launch and long-term success.
Since that conversation, Rovio has taken on more of that role, with their Rovio Stars publishing program. But there’s still a decent supply of developers that could use more of a boost. That’s the logic behind Playground publishing, who calls themselves a “second generation” publisher by being more flexible with developers when it comes to IP and co-publishing models.
Playground is a joint venture with MTI ltd, a Japanese publisher, and started their Finnish operations only in June. They have offices around Europe, but their focus is to find 3-5 games from Finland in the next year. “We focus more on quality not quantity. Every game matters. We publish less, but we focus more on the titles. We’re aiming for about 12 games per year, or about one a month,” says Råmark.
They’re running a “best game ever” challenge for game companies registered in Finland, which might be interesting for some of you. The winner will be hooked up with a minimum of €50,000 for production and marketing, as well as help with distribution, testing, and a few other benefits. The deadline is the 1st of September.