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Finland invests EUR 6 million in games

The Finnish Funding Agency for Technology, Tekes, has outlined the extent of its investment in game companies for 2007 at over EUR 6 million, compared to an overall investment by EU countries of EUR 21 million.

The Finnish Funding Agency for Technology, Tekes, has outlined the extent of its investment in game companies for 2007 at over EUR 6 million, compared to an overall investment by EU countries of EUR 21 million.

That equates to a EUR 1.1 investment per capita, with cash going to companies such as the Sulake Corporation, which runs Habbo Hotel.

But while the government is keen to see the games industry bloom, it has identified a skills shortage. While it maintains that there is a good level of training available in the sector, because the country has a population of just 5.3 million, there is only a small market for videogames internally.

As a result most companies, according to a statement from Tekes, still employ fewer than ten people.

The subject of state aids in whatever form has prompted much debate. While countries such as Canada and Singapore offer significant subsidies, allowing companies to offset wage bills by as much as 60 per cent, and many feel that this has created an uneven playing field.

This has led to the formation of a number of studios in Canada, with the latest from Eidos announced just yesterday, while other companies such as EA are moving assets out of the UK - their European headquarters, previously based in Chertsey, is now in Switzerland.

Tiga, the UK's developers' association, has lobbied for greater support for developers from the government, but measures are yet to be announced.

In the meantime the EU has created a Media Plus scheme to specifically target games developers, while Nordic-based companies are eligible to apply for funding from the Nordic Game Program.

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