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Could Norway Be the Next Unlikely Game Development Hotbed?

Among the Sleep

Video game development in Scandinavia has been seen as a booming industry for a number of years now – after all, two of the world’s biggest gaming franchises, Angry Birds and Minecraft, were created in Finland and Sweden, respectively.

Not only that, but the primary studio of DICE, the creators of some of the best-known series on the planet in Battlefield, Mirror’s Edge and Star Wars: Battlefront, is based in the Swedish capital, Stockholm. But what about Sweden’s neighbour, Norway? While the country may not be as prominent as its Scandi relatives in the gaming industry, all the evidence suggests that it may soon become a gaming hotbed of its own.

Although we not be seeing many triple-A blockbusters come out of Norway anytime soon, the country has already produced a slew of critically acclaimed indie titles – including arguably two of the best in recent years. Charming 2D puzzle-platformer Teslagrad, developed by the Norwegian studio Rain Games, received rave reviews upon its cross-platform release back in 2013; the title went on to be ported to multiple systems including the PS4 and Xbox One, and even drew the attention of gaming giants Square Enix, who assisted in getting the title published in Japan.

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Elsewhere, the Oslo-based Funcom is set to release the hotly anticipated open-world survival title Conan Exiles in 2018, with the early access version of the title shifting almost half a million copies on Steam to date. And it would be remiss not to mention Killbrite Studio’s Among the Sleep, the widely praised horror title released in 2015 that raised $248,358 on Kickstarter, as well as over $100,000 from the Norsk Film Institutt (Norwegian Film Institute).

2016 saw the creation of the first Norwegian video games publisher, Snow Canon Games, and the country has been praised for its welcoming, collaborative game development scene. Norway’s gaming dev success isn’t only limited to conventional video games, either; the country has a burgeoning iGaming scene, evident in the fact that a number of online casino operators are now doing business in the country. As explained in this guide about casino online in Norway, the country’s gaming legislation provides advantages to the state-regulated Norsk Tipping, but it does not prevent foreign, EU-licensed companies from offering their services to players in the country.

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For instance, Scandinavian iGaming companies Mr Green and Vera John both offer personalised experiences and sign-up offers to Norwegian customers, while iconic slot games such as Jackpot 6000 and Mega Joker – two titles previously found exclusively in land-based Norway casinos – are offered by a wide number of online operators. Additionally, online poker is thriving in the region following the first legal staging of the Norwegian Poker Championship within the country in 2015.

With the gaming industry – in its many forms – experiencing something of an explosion in Norway in recent years, it could be a matter of time before the country produces the next title to rival the ubiquity of Minecraft and Angry Birds.

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