Record number of entrants for Nordic Game funding

Excess of studios both encouraging and worrying for investment body

A record 136 studios are in the running for the current round of Nordic Game funding, bringing the total number of entrants so far this year to 228. Only around six of the contenders for the current round can expect to be awarded any of the DKK 3 million (£353,530 / €402,281) funding.

The situation, whilst pleasing as evidence of the fecundity of the Nordic development community, also has judges concerned over how many entrants will be turned away empty-handed. Erik Robertson, head of the program, wondered if the scheme will continue to cope with the demand - a prospect made all the more sour by the successes which the scheme has begun to produce.

"The number of projects has increased by 50 per cent from the last round, which brings the total for 2010 to a unbelievable record of 228," Robertson told press. "This staggering figure, about four times what we planned for, proves that the Nordic games industry is still very much expanding, but also that it is impossible for the funding scheme to meet the constantly growing demand.

"We are now beginning to see that the support system is not only in great demand all over the Nordic countries, but also that it does what it's supposed to. Our experts select high-quality games at an early stage, ones that go on to be successes both with the critics and in terms of sales."

Recently, the program's most famous graduate has been Limbo, which was met with exceptional critical acclaim by the press earlier this year. Limbo was produced by Danish developer PlayDead and received Nordic Game funding in 2008.

"The Nordic Game Program was invaluable to the creation of Limbo. The early support was instrumental in realising one of the hardest steps: a working prototype," said PlayDead producer Mads Wibroe.

"In the harsh climate of games development, the Nordic Game Program is a rare source of support. Indeed, a diverse, creative game-development scene depends upon exactly this kind of committed support - only we need much, much more of it."

Over DKK 60.7 million (£7.15m €8.14m) has been applied for this year alone, but only DKK 3 million (£353,530 / €402,281) remains to share between the winners. 38 Danish developers applied, 41 were from Finland, 11 from Iceland, 17 from Norway and 29 from Swedish game developers.

Winners will be selected by jury and announced on November 4.

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Latest comments (4)

Soeren Lund Producer, Io Interactive11 years ago
Playing devil's advocate here to get the discussion going:

While the program allows for firebrands to take the initial step towards realizing their creative dreams I can't help worrying about the lack of a sustainable industry as the result of the program.

Government money need to be invested for the benefit of the society. I fail to see how society benefits from auteurs getting handouts to do "art" without thinking about making a sustainable business.

While I applaud people whose goal is not to create profit and jobs I would appreciate them keeping away from my tax money so the ones who want to create growth have a better chance of getting seed funding.

While I think it's a good idea with government stimulating small businesses I can't bit help think that the Nordic Game Program is the wrong way.

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Jonatan Crafoord Indie Developer, Really Interactive AB11 years ago
Soren, while I do agree with the principles of your comment, I'll play along and disagree in this specific case. :-p

The games industry in the nordic region is growing again after last year's setbacks. Awarding funding to promising projects that also carry some recognizable cultural traits could be a way of strengthening the industry here, draw attention to the region and stimulate further growth. As seen with Limbo, the money is not just awarded randomly to people who want to make art, but indeed to companies that have an ability to also make profit and growth as a result. I believe that in terms of tax cost and future tax profits from game development, the program has the potential to be successful long-term.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jonatan Crafoord on 20th October 2010 7:15am

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Ryan Duffin Animator 11 years ago

The idea of subsidizing the arts is always a controversial one since the benefits aren't tangible or easy caluclated on a spreadsheet. For example, what is the value of bringing global attention onto the Nordic development scene? Regardless, I think you have the wrong impression of what Nordic Game is about.

There is an application process and I'm quite sure the criteria is not simply how artsy fartsy a game plan is; it's more "would this make a good game?" and good games have potential to sell. Funding any creative project is always a risk but Nordic Game strikes me more as assistance in small business formation than a liberal arts subsidy.
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Soeren Lund Producer, Io Interactive11 years ago
I am aware of the process that games have to go through in the program and I know there are some good people evaluating the submitted projects. In fact I have friends who are part of the evaluation board. I also have some friends who have sent an application to Nordic Game and I wish them all the luck and really hope that they will be part of the lucky few that will get considered.

What I'm questioning is the auteurs who are only considering their game and not how to turn their IP into a viable business. It's the business part which is valuable to the society as it creates economic growth, jobs and all those serious words that politicians like to talk about.

Limbo was a success _despite_ the fact. Their unique art style, one-shot gameplay and hit-and-miss puzzles could easily have been a failure. Luckily it wasn't. There is no doubt the Limbo guys are skilled, dedicated developers and I admire what they've done but how many of the 228 applicants can honestly say that they have what it takes to create a viable business?
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