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Stockholm insights

Stockholm's Games Industry

15 minUpdated: 13 June, 2024
Gaming_X9A0949-©Fond&Fond.jpgPhoto: Fond & Fond

Sweden has one of the world's most competitive games industries, attracting thousands of game developers from around the world. The industry is growing rapidly, with more studios, more recruitments, and larger investments than ever before.

Sweden has one of the world's most competitive games industries, attracting thousands of game developers from around the world. The industry is growing rapidly, with more studios, more recruitments, and larger investments than ever before.

Digital games were first invented in the 1970s and became a staple for teenagers in the 1990s. As televisions and personal computers became commonplace in every household in the 2000s, the consumer base for video games grew significantly. As the consumer base for games grew, so did the industry that created them, and over the years the industry has transformed from a hobby project to a multi-billion dollar industry with world-renowned companies leading the way.

As video games grew in large parts of the industrialized world, international giants soon came to dominate the hardware aspect of gaming. However, the software, the games themselves, were developed by different studios around the world and in terms of game studios, Sweden soon became a pioneer and was dubbed the 'Swedish gaming wonder'.

Since 2010, the games industry in Stockholm has grown at an astonishing rate, and the city remains by far the largest region in terms of number of companies and employees.

The Games Industry in numbers

The Swedish games industry, including subsidiaries abroad, had a turnover of EUR 8.1 billion in 2022, which is more than the turnover of the Swedish wood industry during the same period and the industry accounts for just over 4% of Sweden's total service exports.

The number of employees in gaming is steadily increasing year by year and in 2022 the number of employees was 8445 people, of which 5245 were in Stockholm. The largest employer is Ubisoft Entertainment, which employs around 850 people.

In 2022, 104 new gaming companies were established, resulting in 939 active companies at the end of the year (of which 409 in Stockholm). This represents a significant increase of 20%. Remarkably, only 14% of these active companies employ more than 10 people, demonstrating the thriving indie gambling scene in Sweden.

In Europe, Sweden is ranked as the third largest country in terms of game studios, after France and the UK. In terms of turnover, Sweden ranks fourth, consolidating its position in the global games market.

Three facts

  • The Swedish games industry, including subsidiaries abroad, had a total turnover of €8.1 billion in 2022.
  • In the same year, they employed over 8 000 people in Sweden. Of these, just over 5 000 are employed in 409 companies in Stockholm.
  • Swedish games have been downloaded 7 billion times worldwide.

Source: The Swedish Games Industry

Södermalm consolidates its position as one of the world's most game developer-dense areas.Photo: AMF Fastigheter

Advantages of Stockholm

The greater Stockholm region is considered one of the foremost European regions for game development, with everything from leading AAA development to mobile games and indie developers present in the city. With its innovation-driven culture, high talent density, proximity to major players, combined with a positive funding landscape, the city provides a exceptional breeding ground for gaming companies to grow.

Södermalm, in the southern parts of Stockholm, is one of the places in the world where most game developers gather. Today, the area is a unique cluster for game development companies, including Paradox, Avalanche, DICE, Fatshark, Epic Games, Star Stable, and Outsiders.

The newly launched co-working concept Game Town, is specifically aimed at game developers and smaller game studios looking for a creative and centrally located workplace in close proximity to other companies in the industry. Game Town is located in the Fatburen building.

"Some of the worlds most famous games are made in Stockholm and some of the most gifted game creators in the world call Stockholm their home. Stockholm makes, the world plays."
Per Strömbäck
Per Strömbäck, Head of Operations, The Swedish Games Industry
Per Strömbäck
"Some of the worlds most famous games are made in Stockholm and some of the most gifted game creators in the world call Stockholm their home. Stockholm makes, the world plays."

Per Strömbäck, Head of Operations, The Swedish Games Industry

Home to key players

Stockholm has a wide range of developers, from small independent studios to some of the industry's biggest players.

These are some of the Stockholm-based companies that play a central role in shaping industry trends and innovations both nationally and internationally:

  • King, founded in 2003, is headquartered in Stockholm and employs 621 people nationally. The company primarily develops games for the mobile world, and is a leading player in the field. Candy Crush and Bubble Witch, which are some of the most successful mobile games ever, are examples of games the company has developed.

Fun fact: In the last five years, Candy Crush Saga players have swiped the equivalent of seven times around the globe and the series as a whole has been downloaded over five billion times.

  • Mojang Studios, the company behind the global hit Minecraft, is also headquartered in Stockholm. Few games in history are as successful as Minecraft, which has sold over 300 million copies worldwide. In 2022, the company had a turnover of €516 million.

  • Paradox Interactive is another major player operating in the city. The company employs 474 people in the country and has a total turnover of €187 million . Titles include Europa Universalis, Cruisader Kings and Victoria games.

  • EA Digital Illusions (DICE) is one of Sweden's best-known game developers and is behind mega-successes such as the Battlefield series, Star Wars: Battlefront and Mirrors Edge. The company is headquartered in Gothenburg and since 2004 also has offices in Stockholm. In Stockholm, the EA SEED research department has recently attracted attention for its development progress in AI and machine learning. The company employs 696 people and has a turnover of €155 million (2022/2023).
Photo: Rodrigo Rivas Ruiz, Image Bank Sweden

E-sport events in 2024

Geoguessr Word Cup 2024 (September 11-14)

The GeoGuessr World Cup is the official world cup of the location guessing game GeoGuessr. The game uses Google Maps Street View to place players in a random location in the world, and players collect points for guessing their location correctly. The Blue Hall, part of the Stockholm City Hall, will act as the venue for the tournament. The building is known for being the location of the esteemed Nobel Banquet which takes place after the Nobel Prize ceremony each year.

Dreamhack Stockholm (November 22-24)

DreamHack is the world's largest gaming and cultural festival. In November 2024, the festival will be held at Stockholmsmässan in Stockholm.

The LAN parties of DreamHack are known to bring together thousands of gamers at once. In 2013, DreamHack made it into the Guinness Book World of Records as the host of the world’s largest LAN party and in 2020, the company merged with ESL, one of the world’s largest e-sports companies.

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