The boom of Finland's games industry is the result of a cultural disinterest in making money, Supercell CEO Ilkka Paananen told TechCrunch, expaining the growing success of companies like Rovio, Grand Cru and Supercell itself in the country.
While an initial push in games development came from the Finnish government and numerous venture capitalists, the growing local scene has maintained its trajectory because of a focus on quality projects in the face of losing money. According to Paananen, prior to the greenlighting of Clash of Clans and Hay Day, Supercell killed off more projects than it launched in 2012.
For this reason, despite the possibility that the success of games like Angry Birds could result in an influx of developers into the community who hope to make quick money — a shift similar to what was seen in the Silicon Valley community and the rise of Zynga — Paananen states this works against the cultural philosophy of Finland.
"What I like about the local scene is that most people do not work in games because they want to make money. Instead, they want to make great games," said Paananen. "Ironically, I think that is the right approach to take, and will also maximize the financial returns in the longer run."
"I am pretty sure that the small number of people who may join the industry just to make the quick buck will very soon realize how immensely tough industry this is, and they will leave as quickly as they appeared," he added. "The vast majority of the local game developers do not think ‘money first, I do not see this changing. Finns generally do not work for money anyway, so why should that change now that there is a bit more money available?"