The gaming industry in Sweden, Finland and Denmark creates hundreds of new jobs every year – what can Norway do to achieve the same?

By Ebba Køber, editor-in-chief at FuN and Game Hub Scandinavia project partner

This question was the starting point for an event at Arendalsuka this fall, organized by Game Hub Scandinavia, Interreg ØKS, and Flexible Education Norway.

The Norwegian gaming industry has achieved a lot. According to Torbjørn Urfjell, Director of the Norwegian Film and TV Producers’ Association, we have much to be proud of in the Norwegian gaming industry.

Nevertheless, there is certainly room for improvement. There is little knowledge among decision makers about the games industry. Facts about what the industry is, and what is being produced, provides an opportunity for dialogue. We must tell the story of the progress we have had in the industry. We need to show the investors and other industry players that the gaming industry creates value, says Urfjell.

Great atmosphere at the event "Spill (s)om arbeidsplasser" at Arendalsuka. Here's State Secretary Dilek Ayhan (Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries), Director Torbjørn Urfjell, The Norwegian Film and TV Producers’ Association, Paul T. Naess from Innovation Norway's entrepreneurial department, Jonas Klemmetsen of Game Hub Denmark, etc.

Great atmosphere at the event “Spill (s)om arbeidsplasser” at Arendalsuka. Here’s State Secretary Dilek Ayhan (Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries), Director Torbjørn Urfjell, The Norwegian Film and TV Producers’ Association, Paul T. Naess from Innovation Norway’s entrepreneurial department, Jonas Klemmetsen of Game Hub Denmark, etc.

The director of the entrepreneurial division of Innovation Norway, Pål T. Naess, shared his knowledge about the field. Innovation Norway is responsible for the distribution of much of the funding that goes into games, including the programme “Spill Ut i Verden” (Games Out in the World). New on the job, he was interested in the Norwegian gaming industry, and its potential for growth.

State Secretary Dilek Ayhan (Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries) looks at game developers as highly skilled. She shared different measures that are aimed at the video game industry. One of these is the scheme “SKaTTEFunn”, which is not known to everyone. The scheme can provide tax relief for companies engaged in research and development.

The gaming industry in Norway has shown very good results, including winning numerous prizes at the indie scene at GDC in San Francisco this spring. We have also seen the arrival of our first Norwegian game publisher, Snow Canon Games, with offices in Norway and Palo Alto. Thus, the Norwegian gaming industry is now represented throughout the value chain, although the market for Norwegian games is mainly abroad.

FACTS. The figures for the Norwegian gaming industry are:
565 employees
Nearly 60 percent of employees are between 30 and 39 years
The median company has one employee, in other words, there are many small businesses
Turnover
Total turnover of 329 million NOK.
Almost 200 million NOK in game sales alone
The average company has a turnover of 4.45 million NOK.
Note that 80 companies have not provided sales figures.
The industry is growing
136 companies in 2014
Huge growth in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
60 new companies during the period.
127 employees of the new companies
High competence
Most game developers has higher education
Many are recruited from other gaming companies