Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Dutch game industry

Yesterday I wrote a posting about serious games and especially about serious games in the health care sector. The same day I received the Dutch magazine TVM, which publishes about multimedia, and saw that it had a special about the games industry. The special with only one ad contained three articles:
- Dutch game industry grows up; too many games courses in The Netherlands to insure students of a job;
- Serious gaming cries for multimedia content; real life situations as videogame;
- “Sometimes it is fully integrated”; ads in games should be a natural part of it.

The article about the Dutch gaming industry, written by Stijn van Hulsbeek, is not very optimistic about the Dutch gaming industry. It reads: “The Dutch gaming industry as a sector does not have much continuity. It is difficult to build a stable market with a professional infrastructure and a flexible local employment market for game specialists. The Netherlands has a mature internet industry, but hardly a grown game industry. The core of the game industry exists of 20 to 30 professional studios at the max. In the periphery there are game distributors, game magazine and some companies involved in in-game advertising, game marketing and advergaming”.

An industry with 20 to 30 game companies with couple of hundreds of professionals is not exactly a mature industry. The players in the Dutch game industry know that they can not take up real big games. They know that they have to specialise in online games, online 3D games, mobile telephone games, casual games, serious games and advanced gaming and simulation. So it is not all doom for the future. Besides the players in this industry are organising themselves and have their association as well as their national Games Day event. There is also a professionalisation going on. The serious games sector has received a grant of 10 million euro for Game research for Training and Entertainment (GATE). Participants in this research project, the University Utrecht, TNO, HKU, ICTREgie, TU Delft, Thales, Netherlands Broadbandland and Waag have set up the Center for Advanced Gaming and Simulation (AGE), while the first professors serious gaming hold their inaugural orations.

For the first time I saw an inventory of the Dutch game industry. As the author indicated, it is not a mature industry sector, so it is a tentative inventory. Nineteen companies are listed. I copy the list, which was put together by Stijn van Hulsbeek.

Dutch game companies:
- BumbleBeast
- Coded Illusions
- Davilex Games
- Engine Software
- Game Entertainment Europe
- Grendel Games.com
- Guerilla Games
- Karma Studios
- Khaeon Games
- Little Chicken Game Company
- Overloaded
- Playlogic Games
- Streamline Studios
- Submarine
- Triumph Studios
- Two Tribes
- Woedend Games
- Zylom

Source: TVM 19/2/April 2007

Blog Posting Number: 734

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2 comments:

hoong said...

This has been on my mind for quite a number of years: why some cultures or nations are more interested in games and some are not?

For example, I think the Dutch are not the gaming kind of nations, but China, S.Korea, Japan, US are. IS it because these nations live in 'fantacy world', educational background, openess of the society, social echelon ?? and a few others that slip my mind at the moment.

And it would be interesting to cross-research into if there is any connection between gaming industry and the online social networking environment.

Arjan Olsder said...

The Dutch gaming industry is a bit bigger then the list provided. For example I don't see some of the mobile developers on there like CodeGlue and Lunagames. At the same time, Overloaded is on there, but recently stopped internal development (like a lot of other smaller developers).

Blaming the schools

I have been speaking to a lot of teachers about the number of students that are trying to get a career in gaming and I have been displaying my worries for over 2 years now. Every year 100+ students will leave school and how many jobs are available? With the number of internships that need placement being 3X as high, not much! This all has to do with the schooling system. Every school is setting up a gaming related course as it is a very easy way to attract highly motivated students. Remember, schools get money for every student that finishes the course with success, not for every student that can make a living after it.

Other markets do work

In several other markets, it is possible to make money in the gaming industry. Take for example Germany where there is a small language barrier that opens up the market for local productions. A lot of developers can live purely from the German market.

Our Market

So why can't we? Simple, we Dutch are all raised to speak and read English. English is cool and Dutch is not. That is why we don't really have a market here. Any Dutch game developer has to compete against the world.