Sweden’s growing game industry may be running short of design graduates to hire


You have probably heard of games such as Battlefield, Minecraft, Candy Crush, and Just Cause. If you have not, then we would like to know where you have been living the last few years. According to a report that the Swedish Games Industry company, Dataspelsbranschen, published, 1 in 10 people across the world have played a Swedish game. Sweden has seen a huge boom in game development over the last decade or so – in 2010 there were 106 game studios and in 2020 this figure rose to 442. Over this same time frame, the number of people employed in the gaming sector has quadrupled. This begs the following question: Are there plenty of graduates to fill the positions available?

A Booming Industry

Games that have been developed by Swedish game studios have been popular all over the world, making billions of dollars. In 2019, the Swedish gaming industry raked in a staggering €2.29 billion, and this number is only going to continue to increase. However, if we look at the recruitment issues that some Swedish game studios have had recently, there is a question that needs to be answered and this is, “Has Sweden prepared itself properly to accommodate this rapid growth? In fact, there are a number of companies that have reported that they are understaffed.

Sweden obviously has no issue when it comes to developing games that take the world by storm, but it is clear that the industry in the country is hindered by the size of their population. Having said that, it is mightily impressive just how well Swedish game developers can compete on the international stage against countries that have much larger pools of talent to choose from.

Increasing Discrepancy between Issued Degrees and Industry Growth

One of the main challenges that the gaming industry in Sweden is facing at the moment is the number of competent workers available during this period of huge industry growth. Between the years 2001 and 2011, game developing courses grew from being basically non-existent to being regularly available – there are now 37 game developing programs available at 17 universities across the country, including Uppsala University. However, as mentioned in a report from the ‘EU Interreg ÖresundKattegat-Skagerrak’, since 2013, the number of degrees being issued has been lower than the increase in industry employees needed. This shows that although more people are being educated in the gaming sector, the industry is still being hindered by the lack of access to suitable employees.

A Culture of Gaming

How is it that Sweden has become such a huge player in the gaming industry? Well, according to Per Strömbäck, a spokesperson from Dataspelsbranschen, it is because Sweden now has a culture of gaming. He says that developing games is something that does not take place in a vacuum. It is much broader than that and consists of gamers, DreamHack festivals, eSport events, YouTubers, and so forth.

When it comes to eSports events, Sweden has a number of players that can claim to be some of the best in the world. Additionally, Sweden also happens to be the world’s second biggest eSport market. With regards to YouTube, one of the most famous YouTubers, PewDiePie, hails from Sweden and has close to 100 million subscribers. There are also events for software developers such as Stugan, No More Sweden, and Castle Game Jam that help to improve the creativity of Swedish software developers.

The Main Players

There are a number of large gaming studios within Sweden, but not all the jobs available are with these large studios. It is fair to say that gaming industry in Sweden is bigger than then big gaming names such as King, EA Dice, and Mojang. Nearly half of those who are employed in the gamine sector in Sweden are employed by small or medium-sized companies that operate alongside the big ones. Sweden’s welfare system and public safety net means that it is far less risky for small studios and startups to try and launch games.

Below we are going to take a look at some of the biggest game studios from Sweden:

King Digital Entertainment: They are the world’s leading company when it comes to online and mobile game development. They are most famous for having created the extremely popular game Candy Crush Saga. They have employed more than 1400 people, and were bought by Activision Blizzard for $3.9 billion in February 2016.

Mojan Studios: This is the company that brought you Cobalt, Minecraft, and Scrolls. Founded back in 2009, they now have a revenue of more than 4 billion SEK. They have offices in Stockholm that employ around 100 people.

EA Dice: They have been a subsidiary of Electronic Arts for 14 years, but still remain one of the country’s leading video game creators. They are responsible for bringing you great games such as Medal of Honour, Battlefield, and Mirror’s Edge. In 2020, DICE made sales of around 1.3 billion SEK and have just over 700 employees.

NetEnt: They have been developing games for two decades now. According to svenskaonlinecasino.info, their games such as Starburst, Gonzo’s Quest, and Street Fighter II: World Warrior are some of the world’s most popular slot games. At the time of writing, NetEnt has developed over 200 slots and have teamed up with over 170 of the best online casinos in the world. They have more than 700 staff members and have a main office in Stockholm. In the summer of 2020, Evolution Gaming purchased the company foe 19.6 billion SEK.

Avalanche Studios: They are known for their very popular Just Cause game series that now has 3 titles and a movie since it was launched back in 2006. They have close to 300 employees and are offices in Malmö, Stockholm, and New York.

More Developers Wanted

The jobs available in the game industry in Sweden is growing at an exponential rate. Throughout 2019, the percentage of jobs available in this sector increased by around 8%. At the time of writing, there are 8578 people in Sweden employed full-time with Swedish gaming companies. From this number, 5599 are based within Sweden.

Sweden is consistently rated as one of the best places to live and work, and software developers are now doing their best to make Sweden even more appealing for those interested in working in the online gaming sector. Despite some of the troubles that Swedish game creators are having when it comes to finding talent to join their team, they are still doing very well for themselves on the whole. There are many of exciting projects lined up and plenty of cash is flowing into Sweden – around $250 million has be used to buy companies or invest in them. Sweden’s game development industry is growing with each passing year, and this growth will not stop anytime soon.