Last week, the Finnish American Chamber of Commerce in New York (FACC-NY) hosted an event with two of the most exciting new Finnish mobile gaming companies, Next Games and Huuuge Games. In addition to having an early glimpse of the companies’ new games, the audience heard insights on mobile game marketing, licensing and creation of companion games.
Finnish mobile gaming industry rose to international fame in 2010 when Rovio’s Angry Birds game reached more than two billion downloads. Two years later in 2012, Supercell came into the spotlight when the company launched “Clash of Clans” and “Hay Day”, both of which are still in the global Top 10 list of top-grossing mobile games. These success stories paved way to other smaller companies in the field, and helped the industry build both domestic and foreign investment partnerships. In 2014, the Finnish mobile gaming industry employed over 2,500 people and had a total turnover of nearly one billion euros.
Since the first success stories, Finnish mobile gaming companies have broadened their potential customer base by creating innovative partnerships with American media companies. Recent partnerships take cooperation to an entirely new level with Next Games securing substantial investments from both Lionsgate and AMC, and Huuuge Games building a partnership with Univision, the largest Spanish-language TV channel in the US.
“The New Wave of Finnish Mobile Gaming” event took place on March 23 at Bryant Park WeWork, and was a natural sequel to earlier start-up events hosted by the Consulate General of Finland in New York.
The event attracted notable U.S. industry presence from Lionsgate and Univision as well as NBC, HBO, Zelnic Media, and Kik, offering them an opportunity to map out potential licensing partners. The media interest was substantial as well, with media outlets such as CNN and Huffington Post conducting in-depth interviews with the companies, Bloomberg publishing a review of Finnish mobile gaming based on the event, and Finnish commercial daily Kauppalehti and MTV TV channel both covering the event.
After the welcoming words of Mr. Toni Toikka, the VP of FACC-NY, the program started with a presentation by Teemu Huuhtanen, the CEO of Next Games. The audience received an early glimpse of Next Games’ soon to be released highly ambitious strategy game “Compass Point: West”. In addition, Next Games is also about to launch an exclusive “Walking Dead” game in the near future for the AMC’s blockbuster TV series that reaches nearly 15 million viewers.
Peter Levin, President of Interactive Ventures and Games at Lionsgate, discussed why this major movie studio is partnering with Next Games. Having visited Finland on several occasions he knows the Finnish gaming knowhow well, and is certain that their recent investment into a Finnish gaming company will not be the last one. Lionsgate will continue to actively follow recent developments in the Finnish mobile gaming industry, an environment Levin described as very dynamic and transparent; “It is easy to work with Finnish people” was his message to the audience.
Oulu based Huuuge Games showcased a casino game that was launched recently with Univision Communications to accompany their incredibly popular Nuestra Belleza Latina (Our Latin Beauty) TV- show. Nuestra Belleza Latina has typically nearly three million viewers and was the second most viewed show of the night on Superbowl Sunday. Anton Gauffin, Founder and CEO at Huuuge Games, showed a short presentation of the game and described the overwhelmingly positive reception of their game.
Rick Ehrman, from the Univision side did not want to speculate on the success yet, but admitted that so far the partnership had yielded very positive results. The casino companion game for Nuestra Belleza Latina is the first mobile game that Univision has invested in. According to Ehrman the Finnish mobile gaming technology is well ahead of competitors.
All speakers seemed to agree that transatlantic partnerships between the U.S media companies and Finnish mobile game companies can be expected to grow in the future. The main organizer of the event, Mr. Tero Kuittinen of Magid Associates further highlighted the importance of the new type of collaboration between entertainment industry and app vendors as partnerships are win-win situations for both parties; through the partnerships Finnish mobile gaming companies can reach out to millions of new potential players while media companies get into the fast growing mobile business and engage their viewers more tightly to their TV-series.
Interest towards Finnish mobile gaming companies is increasing rapidly in the United States. Furthermore, recent success stories combined with the well-functioning and mutually beneficial transatlantic partnerships between American media companies and Finnish game developers are expected to attract new North American capital to the Finnish mobile gaming industry in the near future.