The Pacific Council, the Consulate General of Finland in Los Angeles, and World Affairs recently hosted a discussion about the global video game phenomenon featuring Teemu Huuhtanen of Next Games, Andrew Stalbow of Seriously Digital Entertainment, and Peter Levin of Griffin Gaming Partners, and moderated by Zsuzsa James of the Consulate General of Finland in Los Angeles.
Here are key takeaways from the discussion:
- James pointed out that global game revenue is double the revenue of film, music, TV, and publishing combined, at $160 billion. About 57 percent of game development is in the United States. Finland invests public funding into gaming and attracts outside investment. “Groceries, home entertainment, and household supplies are the only sectors with net positive right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.
- Huuhtanen agreed that Finland s a hotbed for mobile game development, and that LA is the hotbed for creating content. “If you can ‘make it’ in Helsinki or LA, you can make it anywhere and your game will become a global hit,” Huuhtanen said.
- “LA attracts a lot of talent,” Stalbow said. “It is the epicenter for creativity. There is also an incredible amount of capital in LA. It takes a lot of money to start a gaming company.”
- Levin argued that tech much be constantly improved or it risked becoming obsolete within months. “It’s a Darwinian environment,” he said. “The nature of the marketplace is extremely competitive, and COVID-19 has forced the innovation turnaround to be even faster.”
- Huuhtanen said that Finland is unique because the gaming industry has support from the government. If a startup raises $200,000, the government will match it. “There is a huge culture of collaboration in Finland, and a lot of trust.”
- Levin pointed out that networks are being stressed for the first time ever because of so many millions of users due to the stay-at-home orders. For example, Italy had to ask teens to stop playing Fortnite during the afternoons so that systems could be prioritized for healthcare and wouldn’t crash.
- Huuhtanen said the economy will hit a recession soon and people won’t have the same amount of disposable income to spend on games, so there will likely be an increase in people using the free-to-play model.
- Levin said it’s important for companies to address geographies and demographics that aren’t being served. For example, women spend more on mobile games than men do.
Watch the full conversation below:
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Pacific Council.