The Swedish gaming industry is growing steadily, but there is a lack of skills. At Boden Game Camp, students can start their journey towards a future in the new basic industry already in high school.
– It’s great that this opportunity is up here, says Leo Raitaniemi, a Game Design student.
In a few decades, the gaming industry has gone from a hobby for enthusiasts to a worldwide industry with cultural and economic importance. In Sweden, it has emerged as a new kind of basic industry. According to the Computer Games Industry Report Game Developer Index 2022 the Swedish computer game industry’s turnover grew to SEK 27.5 billion in 2021, which is an increase of 19 percent in the Swedish-registered companies. In total, including subsidiaries abroad, the Swedish industry had a turnover of SEK 58.9 billion, an increase of 41%.
At the same time, the industry is crying out for skills. It is difficult to recruit staff in Sweden and an increasing part of Swedish companies’ expansion consists of establishing or acquiring start-ups abroad.
Boden Game Camp in Sävast is a unique ecosystem for the computer games industry in Boden. It attracts students from Sweden and around the world. The Boden Game Camp is an integral part of the Boden Business Park and provides training, internships and game studios in need of skills. If you want to develop your own game idea, you can apply to the Boden Game Camp incubator.
Playing games for as long as he can remember
One of the 300 or so students is Leo Raitaniemi. He grew up in Gällivare and has been playing games for as long as he can remember.
– My parents bought me a Nintendo 64 when it was new. Gaming has been a main interest throughout life.
Leo Raitaniemi previously studied indie game development at Boden Game Camp and worked as a game developer at Wanderword, one of 14 game studios based in Sävast. Now he is studying Game Design, a 2-year higher vocational education program run by Futuregames.
– I like to be creative and the games industry is big on creativity. It’s not just about coming up with games, but also about how they should look. I wanted to stay in Norrbotten, I like it so much up here and see few reasons to move away.
– It’s wonderful that this is up here; we have people from Stockholm and people from Turkey, India and Germany. It’s great to meet people from different cultures.
Mapping other sectors
Other industries also recognize the skills of game developers and are interested in their talent. Hanna Müller, a business developer specializing in the gaming industry at Boden Business Park, has begun mapping other industries in the region to allow students to decide their next step.
She also works to make Boden Game Camp a tolerant place where everyone feels welcome.
– We have students from all over the world who have left their lives at home to study with us in Boden. It is our priority that they feel comfortable and connected, both in their education and in their free time.
– If we manage to create a pleasant place where people feel a sense of belonging, we believe it will reflect the journey they are making. We want to create the conditions for every individual in the Boden Game Camp community to have the best journey and succeed.
Everyone in the Boden Game Camp community is welcome
Hanna Müller says that a major contributing factor to the added value is that a student association is started by the students themselves. It organizes after-school events where everyone in the Boden Game Camp community is welcome.
Leo Raitaniemi, President of the Arctic Student Union, is one of those involved in organizing activities. He organizes weekly game nights and says the initiatives are appreciated by the other students.
– People from big cities are used to the fact that there is always something to do. It’s so peaceful and quiet here and I want to try to help make others feel comfortable here as much as possible. I have my passion for Norrbotten and want to make others see the positive.
Attracting more women
One of Boden Game Camp’s goals is to attract more women. In Sweden, only 22% of people working for a gambling company are women.
– What we can see is that the earlier in age you capture the interest, the earlier you can show that it is an inclusive industry where we need diversity. An example of this is the GameDev high school program where the intake in 2022 was split 50/50,” says Hanna Müller.
– We also organize activities such as the Valkyrie Jam every summer and the Female Meetup, an event we run through our participation in the regional game cluster Arctic Game where Umeå, Skellefteå, Luleå and Boden collaborate. This is to give women and non-binary people their own platform to network and empower each other. Sharing experiences and seeing others succeeding in the industry gives the individual a passion to keep moving forward.
Educations starting at Boden Game Camp in the fall of 2023:
• Game Artist (Higher Vocational Education)
• Game Designer (Higher Vocational Education)
• Game Programmer (Higher Vocational Education)
• QA / Game Tester (Higher Vocational Education)
• Animator and VFX Artist (Higher Vocational Education)
• GameDev Indie (Municipal adult education)
– GameDev program (college preparatory upper secondary education with national admission)