– When your game is published, that’s when then the real work starts. As games are consumed and played through rapidly, companies need strategies to attract and activate players, fans, and users constantly.
Tip above comes from Heikki Laaninen (2020), head of licensing at Ferly, a Finnish brand building and licensing company specialized in digital products and publishing. Laaninen was the keynote speaker at the very first local Accelerator Meetup organized in collaboration with IGDA Finland Lahti Hub on September 9th in Lahti by the Baltic Explorers project, funded by Central Baltic. Baltic Explorers helps game companies in approaching the biggest game markets in Asia and North America. Laaninen underlined that creating value through IP (intellectual property) is one of the key areas in developing new business around entertainment products, such as games.
– If you’re ready to ideate other business around the actual game product, you’ll be more able to grasp opportunities when they arise.
Laaninen used to work for Rovio, as a licensing and IP expert of Angry Birds products in the Asian markets. According to Laaninen (2020), Rovio, famous for broadening the original Angry Birds brand to include all sorts of products from toys to food, movies, and even theme parks and playgrounds, has been able to expand the lifespan of its original game product through active licensing.
Picture 1. Heikki Laaninen, an IP and licensing expert from a brand development company Ferly spoke at the first Baltic Explorers meetup in Lahti. Image: Julia Lidman 2020.
Cultural knowledge and patience
Getting the game published is a major operation that often requires local publishers and platforms. If one wants to build other business around your game, it’s essential to know people, different cultures and to be able to localize the content depending on the target market. (Laaninen 2020).
– Patience is a virtue, as in Asia things don’t progress quite as quickly as we might be accustomed to. If you want to publish your game for example in China, it might be necessary to get it approved by the local officials first.
In addition to Laaninen, Teemu Saarelainen (XAMK University of Applied Sciences) and Ari Hautaniemi(LAB University of Applied Sciences) from the Baltic Explorers briefly explained how the project would help local companies to develop their abilities to steer towards the biggest game markets in the world. This is done by bringing relevant shareholders, game makers and other industry experts together to jointly create new knowledge capital through an online talent pool but also by providing training and consultation to potential game makers who want to broaden their scope to new market areas (Hautaniemi & Saarelainen 2020).
Laaninen (2020), a recent member of the Board of the Finland–Hong Kong Trade Association, is positive that game companies should target Asian markets, as in his experience, Europeans have a generally good reputation as affiliates.
– Especially us Finns are perceived as neutral, yet interesting actors, and quite often our edutainment content works well in the Asian context.
Ari Hautaniemi works as a development manager at the LAB University of Applied Sciences faculty of Technology. He’s also the LAB project manager of the Baltic Explorers game industry project.
Laaninen, H. 2020. Entering the North American and Asian markets. Presentation at IGDA Finland Lahti Hub & Baltic Explorers Accelerator Meetup September 9th 2020.
Hautaniemi, A. & Saarelainen, T. 2020. Baltic Explorers – Opening Words. Presentation at IGDA Finland Lahti Hub & Baltic Explorers Accelerator Meetup September 9th 2020.
Ferly. 2020. Ferly – An Entertainment Company. [Viitattu 10.9.2020]. Saatavissa: https://ferlyco.com/
IGDA Finland Lahti Hub. 2020. Igda Finland Lahti Hub. [Viitattu 10.9.2020]. Saatavissa: https://www.facebook.com/groups/201490106867013
XAMK. 2020. Baltic Explorers. [Viitattu 10.9.2020]. Saatavissa: https://www.xamk.fi/tutkimus-ja-kehitys/baltic-explorers/