Battlefield biggest Swedish export hit since ABBA
Published: 29 May 2012
Battlefield, Minecraft and Just Cause are three of the world's most popular computer games. But few players know that their favorite games have been developed by a number of high-tech firms in Stockholm, all within walking distance from one another.
Screen shot from Battlefield 3 Close Quarters. Photo: EA Digital Illusions CE
Södermalm, a district in the Swedish capital of Stockholm, has become one of the world's most important hubs for computer game development, attracting talent from across the globe.
Per Strömbäck, a spokesperson for the trade organization Swedish Games Industry (Dataspelsbranschen), says that Sweden is one of maybe 10 nations in the world producing games for a global audience.
"Battlefield is the biggest Swedish export success since ABBA," he tells The Swedish Wire.
Swedish games — big business
Swedish export of games amounted to SEK 1,500 million (USD 225 million) last year. Almost two-thirds of that derives from the gaming cluster at Södermalm, according to Swedish Games Industry.
|Per Strömbäck, spokesperson for Swedish Games Industry.|
Photo: Swedish Games Industry
"In total, over 100 million people have played these titles," Strömbäck says, adding that most players are from Europe and North America, with South America and the Middle East on the rise.
Everything indicates continued success for the Swedish games industry, the organization points out.
Swedish developers have proven to be in the forefront of the gaming field when it comes to adapting their game experiences to different platforms. In addition to the successful big name titles, a new wave of games is being developed for cell phones, Facebook and download.
For two decades it has been predicted that digital distribution of games would overtake traditional boxed sales, and now it looks like that shift is happening. Online sales of Swedish games increased by 30 to 40 percent in 2011, according to Swedish Games Industry.
Three top games and developers from Stockholm:
- Battlefield. Developed by EA Digital Illusions CE. Over 50 million units sold in various editions since 2003. Largest Swedish cultural export since ABBA in dollars and cents. Classic multiplayer war action.
- Minecraft. Developed by Markus "Notch" Persson and his company Mojang. A global gaming phenomenon with millions of players. Revenues of SEK 500 million. Creative and innovative; a kind of virtual Lego that lets users create fantastic worlds.
- Just Cause. Developed by Avalanche Studios. Comic book action. The player is an American agent making a coup in a banana republic. Exaggerated effects combined with subtle social criticism. Renowned for its huge maps, the largest in the gaming world, which the player can freely explore.
This feature has been published by the Swedish Institute.