Nordic Game Program
Computer games are fast becoming a favourite among a new generation of media consumers in the Nordic countries. The mission of the Nordic Game Program is to ensure access to quality Nordic computer games for children and young people.
The Nordic computer and video games market is now the sixth or seventh largest in the world; per capita sales are tied with Japan, and approaching UK and US consumption levels. Meanwhile, the Nordic game developers are recognised as a global force, having built a net-export industry clearly in the world’s top ten in terms of size and sales.
Despite this success, Nordic games still account for less than one percent of the titles on sale in the region, and less than five percent of the titles have some Nordic aspect, such as language, production, control, or intellectual property (IP) origin.
Why is it so difficult to develop Nordic games?
There is not one specific reason behind this incongruity; several factors have to be considered, including:
Only a few games can recoup their investments solely from Nordic sales; the individual national markets in the Nordic region are fairly small and each country has its own language
The road from game developer to consumer is long; a game goes through many evaluation and confirmation stages, and most often it is a publisher with an international focus who decides which projects are funded and produced
Rising development costs make it increasingly difficult to attract funding for game projects perceived as risky. These include games with new, creative concepts and game play, games that lack US or Japanese brand or licensing tie-ins, and projects with origins and production outside the US and Japan
International publishers have historically acquired the most successful independent Nordic development teams (those whom have surmounted the obstacles described above) thus moving decision-making out of the region
The different stops a game have to make from idea to consumer: (1) development of concept and prototype, ”U” in the figure at left, (2) production, ”P”, and (3) several phases of marketing, promotion and distribution, ”M”.
Activities of the Nordic Game Program
To help secure a broad availability of quality Nordic computer games in the future, the Program has a range of activities:
Market data to game developers and title and release data to the consumers is at the heart of a functional marketplace. The launch of www.nordicgame.net, an online games directory providing information about game companies and organisations in the Nordic region, marks the first step towards this. NordicGame.net will eventually include employment and internship information, a marketplace and an event calendar.
Visit NordicGame.net here
Removing obstacles in the information flow between the Nordic developers and the end-users in the Nordic countries will enable more informed development investment and buying decisions.
A significant part of the budget of the Nordic Game Program (eventually two thirds of available funds) goes towards direct development support.
Funding selected projects that meet carefully structured criteria is expected to increase the number of titles available that are desirable from political, cultural, and commercial viewpoints.
By supporting innovative Nordic creative projects, new Nordic copyrights are being generated and new Nordic games are being created for Nordic consumers. Spread over two application rounds in 2009, the Development Support Expert Group will award the 6 million Danish crowns (MDKK) to new game projects. The official grant ceremony for this year's first round is held on 19 May at the Nordic Game 2009 conference in Malmö, Sweden.
More about development support
The Nordic Game conference and global industry events
Only a healthy, exporting Nordic game industry can provide quality Nordic computer games for children and young people. The Nordic Game Program is the driving force behind the strong Nordic presence at the world’s most important games industry events, such as GDC in San Francisco, GC Leipzig and Lyon Game Connection. At the same time, a strong effort has been put into developing the Nordic Game conference, held annually in Malmö, Sweden. Featuring over 100 speakers and more than 1200 participants in 2008 - game developers, publishers, distributors, retailers, academics and accredited media from the entire Nordic region and around the globe - the Nordic Game conference has become one of the largest industry events in Europe today.
Go to the Nordic Game website
The building of an effective Nordic localisation system will lower costs of creating and distributing Nordic-language computer games; this project currently under development.
Direct, digital distribution plays an important part in lowering game production costs and shortening the road from developer to market. By launching an online distribution platform for Nordic games, established and new Nordic game developers have obtained an important new tool for reaching Nordic consumers. In the future, the distribution site may function as both a Nordic and global distribution channel.
By decision of the Nordic Ministers for Culture, representing Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, the Nordic Game Program was launched on 1 January 2006. The Program is planned to run until 2012, and all funds come from the Nordic Council of Ministers.
Six million Danish crowns (MDKK) were invested in 2006 to establish the program. The budget for 2009 is 10 MDKK.
Download the Nordic Game Program Fact Sheet here
Download the full plan for Nordic Game Program here
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The Nordic cooperation
Nordic cooperation is one of the world’s most extensive forms of regional collaboration, involving Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and three autonomous areas: the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Åland.
Nordic cooperation has firm traditions in politics, the economy, and culture. It plays an important role in European and international collaboration, and aims at creating a strong Nordic community in a strong Europe.
Nordic cooperation seeks to safeguard Nordic and regional interests and principles in the global community. Common Nordic values help the region solidify its position as one of the world’s most innovative and competitive.