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A man played Pokemon Go on his smartphone in Helsinki on 20 July, 2016. Finland’s wealth of mobile gaming talent has recently caught the attention of several major game studios.
A man played Pokemon Go on his smartphone in Helsinki on 20 July, 2016. Finland’s wealth of mobile gaming talent has recently caught the attention of several major game studios.

Zynga has recruited two seasoned game industry professionals, Marko Lastikka and Henrik Lönnroth, to establish a game development team in Helsinki, Finland.

“The first [game] developers will start in three weeks’ time. We’re expected to create an amazing game that succeeds in the global market,” Lastikka, the general manager of Zynga Finland, says in an interview with Talouselämä.

The upcoming game, he reveals, will be based on the well-known brands and concepts developed by Zynga. The American game studio’s most successful titles are social media-based games FarmVille, FrontierVille and CityVille, which once had tens of millions of daily users and accounted almost single-handedly for more than a half of global online game revenues.

Zynga has yet to repeat its success in the mobile gaming sector, however.

Lastikka and Lönnroth’s track record in that respect is certainly impressive. In 2012, they set up Electronic Arts’ (EA) game studio in Helsinki and began developing a mobile version of SimCity, an almost 30-year-old city building simulation. SimCity BuildIt was released in 2015 and remains well inside the top-100 of highest-grossing games on App Store.

Zynga is initially set to hire roughly a dozen game designers and developers in Helsinki, according to Lastikka. “After the first game is completed some two years from now, there’ll be some thirty developers,” he predicts.

Lastikka and Lönnroth estimate that taking over another game studio is also a possibile expansion strategy for Zynga, an approach that would be hardly surprising in light of the ongoing consolidation of the games cluster in Finland.

Zynga is already the second gaming behemoth to recently set up shop in Finland. Wargaming, the Cyprus-based studio behind the popular massively multiplayer online game World of Tanks, acquired Boomlagoon, a Helsinki-based game studio, in December in a bid to establish itself as a leader also on mobile platforms.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Mikko Stig – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi

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