I just returned to Belgium from Sweden, where I met some fantastic developers and explored what the city of Stockholm has to offer! Best of all, I was able to speak to some local game developers about the Swedish Game Industry. It's quite different from the Australian Industry I came from!
Might and Delight is a phenomenal, small game development studio based out of Stockholm. They've brought to life some innovative and genre-bending experiences. Their Shelter series was a large inspiration for the We of the Woods project I've been casually working on the past few years.
Might and Delight excels at exploring unique art styles across their projects. They also wield a bold design philosophy that twists and reshapes the definition of the genres their games fall into.
I was invited to visit their studio on Stora Essingen, a small island just West of downtown Stockholm. I met with Joel Danielsson, the Studio Manager and Producer. While the team was in flow, the two of us talked over coffee and tea. We spoke about the differences between the Swedish Game Industry and the Australian Game Industry.
Australia's game industry does well in several ways; - Since the industry crash several years ago, the indie scene has grown exponentially.
- Game Jams and Meetups are held monthly.
- Non-developers are often invited to these events. This keeps ideas and innovation fresh!
- The game dev community has openly embraced and supports LGBTQ developers!
Australia's game industry struggles however with the following;
- There just aren't many places game developers can find non-contract employment.
- Many of the top game development schools have struggled with funding in recent years.
- There is little to no government support for the industry.
I can't speak with confidence on the matter, but from our conversation and a bit of additional research Sweden has their own opportunities and challenges. This report, published by the Swedish Games Industry in 2016, outlines some of the biggest boons in the Swedish industry.
- There are several AAA heavy hitters in Sweden (DICE, Massive, King, Avalanche, etc)
- Women comprise an improving ratio of employed game developers.
- Sweden seems to have recovered quite well from the crash they experiences several years ago.
Sweden's challenges seem to be;
- Game Jams and Meetups seem to be infrequent and overly formal.
- Industry veterans are experiencing culture clash against the youngest wave of developers.
- The industry is quite dominated by straight white males - as with most of the industry
While I'm disappointed about the lack of industry meetups, I'm excited to become part of Stockholm's thriving game development scene. Perhaps I can play a foundational role in encouraging meetup and game jam events!