The project “Baltic Game Industry - Empowering a Booster for Regional Development” (BGI) is a three-year project within the European regional development programme Interreg for the Baltic Sea Region (BSR).
22 partners from Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden are jointly developing practical solutions to strengthen the digital games industry. The BGZ Berliner Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit mbH (www.bgz-berlin.de) acts as lead partner.
BGI aims at fostering innovation power and the emergence of a powerful game business scene around the Baltic Sea, strengthening internationalisation and cooperation across stakeholders and countries, and finally making the region a game business hotspot with a joint branding. The core element is the installation of durable game incubation structures, programmes and schemes that effectively support the emergence and viability of game start-ups.
BGI comprises three components - improvement of framework conditions, incubation capacity building and enlarging business opportunities for the game industry beyond entertainment.
The project will result in
- improvements in regulations, strategies and schemes, which guide the business support for start-ups in the eight countries, with a Good Practice catalogue on favourable framework and policies for game business development
- functional game incubators providing consulting and mentoring support to game start-ups, with model schemes and manuals/guidelines for game incubation programming and financing, mentoring and international cooperation for game business development
- increased business power of and business opportunities for the BSR game scene, with a functional VR application for therapeutic use, a VR Health Reference Model and recommendations for VR apps in other industries
The Baltic Game Industry Action Plan
Action Area 1: Funding
• Creating a platform for private and public investors to meet game start-ups:
One way to be more hands on with increasing the amount of investments into game companies is to create a matchmaking event where investors, who are interested in investing into game companies, meet game companies who are searching funding. So, the goal is to establish a matchmaking event that happens 1-2 times per year. Each time there will be potential game investors and start-ups and during speed meetings they will meet each other. The event is called Game Investor Session and the pilot was organized in September 2018 in conjunction with the “Invest in Games” conference. The second event was carried out in April 2019.
• Investigate the possibility of building up a potential “competence pool “ or single of point of contact where public organisations have access to when they need to evaluate gaming-related cases.
• Appoint an access point for the games industry in public organizations that financially support start-ups (and can potentially support a game start-up as well:
In Sweden there are no public funding that is fully dedicated to games. A game start-up can potentially get funding from a public organisation, but it has to compete with start-ups from other verticals, which puts a games start-up in a difficult position. Comparing to a tech start-up, a game start-up is a bit specific and without having a deeper understanding of games it is difficult to assess it. Therefore, we are going to try appointing an access point with a bit of knowledge of games and the games industry which will hopefully contribute to increasing the chances for a game start-up to get public funding.
• Identify what financial support is available for what stage in gaming companies. Discuss with established game investors to learn how much and on what basis they invest. E.g. Motivational psychology, IPs, target groups etc.
Action Area 2: Marketing & Talent attraction
• Create Swedish Game Industry infographics slide deck that can be used for promoting the Swedish game industry and when talking to investors, talents and other relevant stakeholders
We are going to creating and publish a short and visual pitch deck about the Swedish games industry that can be used when talking to public organizations (during Action Area 1 activities), investors, talents etc. The info deck will include important data and stats about the Swedish games industry. There will probably be two versions, one for talking to investors and one that can be used in a talent attraction context.
• Initiate and support Sweden Game Jam
Game jams are a great way to strengthen the gaming community and boost creativity. New teams and later companies often spawn after a game jam. We would like to initiate an annual game jam in the Stockholm region. This is something that we are not going to be running ourselves (as it is a bit outside a focus area of Invest Stockholm) but rather we are going to try to get the ball rolling and find partners who can be in charge of running this.
Action Area 3: Knowledge Sharing
Educating investors on how to invest in games:
• Publishing an article with tips from experienced game investors:
We have interviewed a few investors who have experience with investing in games and we are summarizing their answers into an article. The article is going to help people, who don’t have experience with games, to understand a little bit what is important to think about when looking at a game company from an investor perspective.
• Organizing educational workshops for investors:
• Checklist on how to invest in games
• “Invest in games” workshops/seminars
We are going to gather investors who don’t have experience with investing in games and are going to give them an introduction into the games industry and explain what challenges game companies are typically facing and what is the important to know when investing in a game company. An idea is also to take these investors on a tour around Stockholm game companies to meet representatives from experienced game investors and different game studios to learn about the games industry directly from them.Project website