Regional Game Industry Profile Sweden & Stockholm
The Swedish game industry has been growing rapidly during the recent years. It has developed from a hobby for enthusiasts into a global industry with cultural and economic significance over just a few decades. Game development is a growth industry with over half of the Swedish companies established after 2010. The total revenue of the Swedish game companies increased to EUR 2.29 billion during 2019, which is an increase by 23 % compared to 2018. Most companies are profitable and the sector reports total profits for the eleventh year in a row.
|Incubators with full focus on games||7|
|Technical incubators that could in principle harbour game start-ups||30+|
|Revenue||2019: 2,3 bn €, 2018: 1,87 bn €, 2017: 1,40 bn €, 2016: 1,325 bn €, 2015: 1,233 bn €, 2014: 988 m € (source: Swedish Game Developer Index 2017-2018)|
Key figures for Swedish Game industry
Currently there are 442 active game companies in Sweden and about half of them (222) are incorporated in the greater Stockholm region. The Greater Stockholm Region is a partnership of 56 municipalities across eight counties in East Middle Sweden. The focus of the partnership is to attract foreign direct investments and international talents to the region. About half of the companies are start-ups founded within the last five years. The numbers on employees are high in absolute terms. Out of about 5500 employees (working in Sweden), 3500 of them work for companies in the greater Stockholm region, indicating that usually only smaller companies are located outside of the capital. In fact, 13 of the 16 companies with more than 50 employees are all based in Stockholm. So, on average game enterprises in the greater Stockholm region employ 19 people while for the whole of Sweden, the mean value is 14.
The number of employees also increases every year at a steady pace. Between 2016 and 2018 the number has increased a bit over 50 % from 4291 employees in year 2016 to 8578 employees in 2019. However, the latest number includes all employees actively working for Swedish gaming companies. Among others, Embracer group (earlier THQ)’s Merger & Acquisition activities outside Sweden has contributed to this dramatic increase during the past two years. Another aspect to take into consideration in these figures is that it is based on full time positions at limited companies, so the actual number of people working in the games industry is much higher if you include everyone working as freelancers, consultants, part time workers and employees at companies with other types of business forms. Considering these freelancers would increase the number by 5-15 % to around 8500 people working in the game industry in Sweden.
Unique competitive edges
One of the strengths of the Swedish game industry is a broad range of the focus of the companies in terms of platforms. There are global leading companies creating games on all major platforms such as mobile (King, Rovio Stockholm …), PC and console (DICE, Avalanche Studios …) and VR games (Resolution Games, Fast Travel Games). Swedish game developers are quick to adapt to new technologies, such as VR and AR, and have a solid ground working with different business models. In Stockholm alone there are six game companies with an annual revenue over 100 m EUR and a majority of the game companies in Sweden are profitable.
There are only 10 m people living in Sweden so there is a relatively small domestic market in Sweden, therefore the Swedish game developers make games directly for the global market. There is a good ecosystem in Sweden to foster new game developers. Some of the world’s best game development schools are located in Sweden. Notably, Sweden has the highest number of incubators that fully focus on games within the Baltic Sea region. There are eight in the whole of Sweden and two of them are based in the Stockholm region called Sting Game and East Games. These early incubators partly explain the high number of start-ups founded in recent years (Swedish Game Developer Index 2020). There are also events for independent game developers, which contribute to the creativity of the Swedish game developers (e.g. No More Sweden, Stugan, and Castle Game Jam).
Companies in the greater Stockholm region