GDC – The Nordic Games Cooperation pulls small developers together under a unified banner

March 9, 2007

The Nordic
Games Cooperation pulls small developers together under a unified

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By

Michael Lafferty

“This is a
young business, full of young talented Nordic people”

When culture is
in danger of disappearing due to overwhelming outside influences, then there are
some things that can be done to ensure the continued presence of that heritage.

That is where
the Nordic Games Cooperation comes into the picture.

The Nordic
Games Cooperation, or Program is a publicly funded program that is in the second
year of a six-year plan. That plan includes insuring the quality of games
developed by the small companies in the five Nordic countries (Iceland, Finland,
Denmark, Sweden and Norway), and for them to have a Nordic touch or influence.

For companies
to qualify to be covered by the Cooperation, there are strict standards that
must be met.

Erik Robertson,
the managing director of the program took time on Thursday to chat with
GameZone.com about the program during the Game Developers’ Conference in San
Francisco.

“This is a
young business, full of young talented Nordic people,” Robertson said. “We felt
it was important to help them get access to markets.”

When it comes
to the way the Nordic developers are viewed, Robertson said that “I do like to
believe that Nordic developers are associated with low risk, and you get what
you pay for.”

The program was
created because “the whole idea behind the Nordic Cooperation is to do things
together than each country would not be able to do alone.”

Games are a big
business, with development cycles that can take years. For a country to fund a
game that has localization (not a lot of big-name titles are translated into the
Nordic languages, forcing those who wish to play the games to play in another
language, which can be viewed as detrimental to preserving the language and
culture of the country), would be a massive undertaking. But under the auspices
of the Nordic Game Program, some funding would be available. But this is not a
program that is without challenges.

“Distribution
will be the biggest challenge,” Robertson stated.

But the program
is working in that direction, not only by getting the word out about what the
Nordic developers can offer to gamers and publishers, but with other support
such as Web pages. It is also working on digital distribution for the products.

But the program
is meeting with its share of regional plaudits. “It seems that the Nordic
developers are really happy with what we’re doing for them,” Robertson said,
smiling.