Boden Business Park

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New generation foreshadows what’s to come

This year’s batch of first-year students, the youngest class studying at Boden Game Camp, show good signs of what the future of the gaming industry may look like.

Launched last year, the Gamedev programme is the latest game development programme to be launched at the high school and the northernmost, north of Uppsala. This year’s batch of first-year students, the youngest class studying at Boden Game Camp, show good signs of what the future of the gaming industry may look like.

– An even split between girls and boys and more diversification than that. Students have applied for the programme from Stockholm in the south to Kiruna in the north to study here in Boden,” says Thomas Nilsson, deputy headmaster at Björknäsgymnasiet.

In the classroom located in the Workshop at Boden Business Park, the students sit in the middle of the companies and next to the YH courses specialising in games. Nevertheless, there are no shy students in the classroom. During the lesson, everyone plays a piece of music of their choice from a soundtrack. They take turns listening to each other’s music, laughing together and then guessing and analysing what the different pieces say and how they are perceived. A knowledge that will then be important for putting together gaming experiences.

Although the day of the twos doesn’t start until after lunch, Leo and Isak are on the spot, working on their own ideas for the coming school year. The group, which is actually three, will start a UF company a year early to continue the game project it has been working on since first grade. The trio consists of students Leo Stoltz, Isak Dalberg and Max Hjertberg.

– Our game company Miracle Bread Productions was created for fun on the way to ICA. Ever since then, we’ve received a lot of support from the school, friends, family, fans and all the studios sitting out here at Boden Game Camp. It’s really nice that the GameDev programme gives us students the chance and the resources to create and run businesses,” says Isak Dalberg.

There will be 300 students, 7 programmes and 15 companies at Boden Game Camp in the autumn of 2022 this year. This is a big development since 2017, when the work started and the numbers were at zero.

– It was just a matter of starting on a blank piece of paper,” says Mattias Bergqvist, founder of Boden Game Camp and CEO of Northify, which was tasked with building a gaming industry.

– From the start, we went out into the world and looked at similar ventures, it’s easy to immediately start looking at what business start-ups you could get. We realised early on the importance of training for establishing a business. The gaming industry as a whole has been crying out for expertise for years, and even today, and that’s where we had to start to attract companies here as well.

– Today it looks completely different. The trainings that are in place today have become a lever for the ecosystem out here. Now we are established with a fantastic talent factory, especially young people, considering that the gaming industry in Boden is not older than five years. The next step is to attract seniors to take this to the next level.

The future objectives are clear and unambiguous. By 2025, the aim is to have 700 students, 15 training courses, 500 people working in gaming and an even gender balance and diversity, as clear as 50/50. A goal that requires work. In 2021, the annual Game Developer Index report of the computer games industry showed a clear statistic, where one in five positions working in games was held by a woman.

– The latter goal has been the most difficult, but now we see a clear change in the younger generation. “It will give an incredible amount to the Swedish gaming industry when this happens and that we can be at the forefront. It hasn’t been a given in the past and it’s not a given today in many parts of the world,” says Emil Sandberg, business developer at Boden Business Park.

Boden Game Camp is an integral part of Boden Business Park, which has focused on games to retain and attract young digital talent in Boden.

– We are happy that we can work with young talents thanks to Björknäsgymnasiet, which creates the opportunity to invest from the start. It’s a door opener that has shown a big difference when you get an early start. That alone is a head start that you can’t get anywhere else today. To train at a three-year secondary school and then in the same house specialise in a YH training at Futuregames and be a ready, specialised game developer with a five-year education at the age of 21, that’s quite unique. The future for these will be extremely bright.


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