Q & A with Petri Ahonen- Sweden Game Arena
Sweden Game Arena offers individuals and companies an opportunity to develop through targeted community events as well as visualization and participation in the global games market. Sweden Game Arena is based in Skövde, and also has operations in Gothenburg. In addition to having a close-knit community of professional game developers and aspiring game development students from Sweden’s biggest game development education programs, Sweden Game Arena also organize Sweden Game Conference in Skövde every October for professional and aspiring game developers and startups. Move To Gothenburg spoke to Petri Ahonen, the new Project Manager of Sweden Game Arena, about this exciting organisation and the opportunities for international talent in the region.
Q- Tell us a bit about Sweden Game Arena and what you are trying to accomplish.
A. Sweden Game Arena started in 2014 and the idea behind the project was to provide different opportunities and build a unique ecosystem within game development and business development for game studios. The community has grown to be around 60 companies and the University has 500 students in all disciplines of game development. One of the key factors of the success is the proximity in the ecosystem, students can easily contact game studios, have internship opportunities, create collaborations, career opportunities, start their own game studio, game testing facilities, business coaching and the list goes on and on. Where in the world can you find an ecosystem that covers everything from students to mature companies? Sweden Game Arena also facilitates international events to enable networking and match making for companies within the community.
Q. What are the key opportunities for & challenges facing the Gaming industry?
A. Like any other industry, the gaming industry transforms and develops regarding customers, demands, business models and competition. The game industry growth is 20% year to year. The customer base is also growing and, there are about 3 billion players worldwide, half of whom are female. Sweden Game Arena always strives to share the latest trends to the community, have the most up-to-date network of investors, relevant research in various fields, publishers and mentors.
Q. What are some of the exciting projects that make Skövde/West Sweden an interesting place for international talent?
A. A big trend globally in other industries is to implement gamification which in itself is a wide topic, but the short version is that other industries develop tools that are based in game technology for education, training, change behavior etc. University of Skövde has many international students doing their Master’s in Serious Games, Digital Narration, Games and Cultural Heritage, Games User Experience or the 2-year Master’s program in Game Development.
Within the community there are lot of career opportunities in the game companies and several of them are relevant for international applications and employees.
Sweden Game Arena also collaborates with other game cluster all over Sweden and we are happy to make introductions.
Q. What is the kind of competence that we need in this field at this point of time (meaning what sort of talents should think of Skövde as an interesting place to apply for jobs as there are many opportunities for them)?
A. If you are a programmer, creative game designer, innovative, open minded and open to share knowledge Skövde is the place to be. Sweden Game Arena is also supporting the game community in Gothenburg as well which means that we basically cover the whole Western region in Sweden.
Q. What is your own driving force?
A. My passion is to help entrepreneurs and companies to grow beyond what they knew was possible and build a community of companies that willingly shares knowledge and experiences.