Why is Finland so good at making mobile games?

Finland must be one of the most innovative countries on earth.

Despite the fact that its two largest industries – paper and mobile giant Nokia – were apparently ‘Killed by Apple’ the nation went on to excel in the area created by the same company that ‘killed’ two of its biggest employers.

Finland is the home of Rovio, the mobile app developer behind the legendary Angry Birds, which boasts of an incredible two billion downloads  and the support of British Prime Minster David Cameron, who is said to be a fan of the series.

Angry Birds may be the best-known success of Finland’s mobile gaming industry, yet the recent success of real-time strategy smash Clash of Clans is a testament to the entrepreneurial talent emerging from Helsinki’s mobile gaming scene. Clash of Clans is said to be the  highest-grossing iOS app of all time, netting an incredible $1.2 million dollars a day.

The company behind Clash of Clans is Supercell, Originally an obscure start-up it has now turned into a billion dollar outfit, with Japanese tech giant Softbank paying an incredible $1.5 billion in 2013 for a stake worth 51 per cent. Other smashes produced by the Finnish house include farming game Hay Day and strategic combat title Boom Beach, which appear in the list for the top 10 highest-grossing games for both iOS and Android.

There are a number of theories why Finland is so dominant in the mobile gaming market, with this 2013 article arguing that ‘striking design’ and ‘relentless testing’ are key reasons. Meanwhile the more recent Bloomberg article attributes it to the involvement of Nokia, which was said to have helped the industry in the early days.

While Supercell and Rovio are two heavyweights of the sector, it is likely that further start-ups will emerge from the city of Helsinki – which it is worth noting boasts a population of only 564,000 people.

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