In a new report, Game Habitat has mapped the game development industry in Sweden’s two southernmost regions, Skåne and Blekinge. The result portraits the people making up the regional industry and illustrate their opinions. It also demonstrates the combined impact of the regional industry, with a record-high revenue and employee growth. The industry has been growing fast and show no signs of slowing down.
– We estimate that the industry in the region will continue to grow at a similar pace in the coming years, several new studios are being established and many big games are in development. The regional industry really is booming, says Peter Lübeck, CEO of Game Habitat.
The figures in the report are based on an employee survey and data retrieved from the regional game development companies’ publicly available annual reports for 2021. The survey and data collection was conducted June to September 2022. It’s the first time Game Habitat has conducted a region-wide game developer employee survey. Actually, it’s the first time something similar has been done in Sweden at all. One overarching theme in the survey is that employees in the region in general are very happy with their jobs and to be living and working in the region.
– Many move here because of work, but apart from work, the quality of life here is an important reason why they choose to stay. The survey also shows that the employees appreciate the regional industry more than the industry in general, says Peter Lübeck, CEO of Game Habitat.
Data from the regional companies’ annual reports show there were 120 game development companies in the region (18 % increase from 2020) with a total of 1 515 employees (21 % increase from 2020), of which 21 % are women (10 % increase from 2020). In the region, the companies had a revenue of SEK 2,5 billion (25 % increase from 2020) and made a profit of SEK 268 million (55 % decrease from the record year 2020).
The industry is young, 69 of the companies in the region were founded in the last five years and only three before the turn of the century. In five years, since 2017, the number of companies and employees and the revenue has almost doubled. Since 2011, the number of employees has grown by 15 % and the revenue by 30 % on average per year.
The regional games industry continues to grow fast in terms of revenue and employees while remaining highly profitable. Studios in the region develop games for all platforms, PC, consoles, mobile, VR/AR, and in all genres. There’s also a number of publishers and service providers present.
The survey, which was extended to game developers in the region, reveals a generally experienced and well-educated yet young workforce, though dominantly male. The regional industry is also strikingly international, with employees of 66 nationalities being represented.
The survey also found that the game developers are very fond of the game development industry in general but that they’re even more fond of the regional industry. A third of the respondents strongly agreed, and another half agreed, accounting for a total of 82 %, that the regional industry is great to work in. Compared to 69 % of the respondents strongly agreeing or agreeing with the statement that the industry in general is great to work in.
The games I get to work on, personal development, work-life balance and personal well-being, colleagues, and the town where the studio is located rank highest among the respondents when asked why they chose their current job. The main reasons game developers remain in the region, according to the survey, are the job, the quality of life here, partner and/or family and friends. In the survey, workload and poor work-life balance stands out as the industry’s biggest challenges.
A quarter of the respondents say they’d like to start their own studio one day. Another 43 % may be interested, and 8 % have already started their own studio. The entrepreneurial drive in the regional industry is strong.
Malmö stands out as the main city in the region’s game development industry, being home to 70 studios and 95 % of all the region’s game developers. Seven of Sweden’s ten largest game development companies have offices in Malmö. Measured in employees, Malmö alone is bigger than the neighboring Nordic countries Denmark’s, Norway’s, and Iceland’s entire respective game development industries.