The new generation gives premonitions of what is to come
With its premiere last year, the Gamedev program is the latest game development program started at the high school and the northernmost, north of Uppsala. This year's batch of 1s, which is the youngest class of students at Boden Game Camp, shows good signs of what the future of the gaming industry may look like.
"An even distribution between girls and boys and a greater diversification than that. The students have applied for the education from Stockholm in the south to Kiruna in the north to study here in Boden", says Thomas Nilsson, assistant principal at Björknäsgymnasiet.
In the classroom located in Verkstan at Boden Business Park, the students sit in the middle of the companies and next to the YH training programs that specialize in games. Even so, there are no shy students in the classroom. During the lesson, everyone plays a piece of music of their own choosing from a soundtrack. They take turns listening to each other's music, laughing together and then guessing and analyzing what the different pieces say and how they are experienced. A knowledge that will then become important for putting together gaming experiences.
Despite the fact that the sophomores' day doesn't start until after lunch, Leo and Isak sit in place and file their own ideas for the coming school year. The group, which is actually three, will start a UF company a year earlier to be able to continue with the game project they have 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 have had 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 Program gives us students the chance and resources to create and run businesses", says Isak Dalberg.
There will be 300 students, 7 programs and 15 companies at Boden Game Camp during the fall of 2022 this year. A big development since 2017 when the work was started and where the numbers stood 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 given the task of 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 which business establishments you could create. We realized early on the importance of training for an industry establishment. The gaming industry as a whole has for years, and even today, called for competence and that's where we had to start to also attract the companies here."
"Today it looks completely different. The training that is in place has today become a lever for the ecosystem out here. Now we are established with a fantastic talent factory, especially young considering that the gaming industry in Boden is no older than five years. The next step is to attract seniors who will take this to the next level."
The future goals are clear and distinct. In 2025, the aim is for 700 students, 15 courses, 500 workers in games and an even gender distribution and diversification, as clearly as 50/50. A goal that requires work. In 2021, the Computer Games Industry showed a clear statistic in its annual report Game Developer Index, where every fifth position working in games was held by a woman.
"The latter goal has been the most difficult, but now we see a change clearly and clearly 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 has not been obvious before and is not obvious today in many parts of the world", says Emil Sandberg, business developer at Boden Business Park.
The Boden Game Camp is an integral part of the Boden Business Park, where they have invested in 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 right from the start. It's a door opener that has shown a big difference when you get to start early. Only that is an advantage that cannot be obtained anywhere else today. To train in a three-year high school education and then in the same house specialize in a YH education at Futuregames and be a ready, specialized game developer with a five-year education at the age of 21, that is completely unique. The future for these will be extremely bright."