Ever since Pong first appeared in bars and arcade from 1972, the video game industry has been going from strength to strength. Today, it is booming like never before, and trailblazers from the Nordic region have been quick to get in on the action.

In a previous blog post, we took an in-depth look at the practice of game localisation. For this edition, we thought we would hone in on the industry in the Nordic region. Both to consider some of the exciting companies shaping the sector from northern Europe, and to look at some of the specific challenges they face.

Gaming Goes Global – and Nordic, too

For decades, video games were strongly associated with Japan and later the United States. Huge companies like Nintendo and PlayStation dominated a market which was largely centred around bulky console and home computers.

But the global proliferation of mobile devices and developments within computer and internet technology have changed that in recent decades. Today, there are well over 2000 games development studios worldwide and the industry as a whole is worth around $220 billion at present. This is forecasted to grow to more than $580 billion by 2030.

Within the Nordic Region, Sweden is the industry front-runner with around 300 game developers. Finland comes in a close second at around 200 studios, while Denmark and Norway each have somewhere between 15 to 20 prominent studios working within games development.

These companies have largely taken advantage of market developments in order to conquer corners of the sector that exist outside of the traditional industry core. Many produce games for mobile devices, for example, latching on to the growing demand for games that can be enjoyed in on-the-go settings like the bus or train, or which boast a connected element through integration with social media.

Many are also involved in cutting-edge and emerging technologies, such as VR and augmented reality gaming, as well as multiplayer games that fully exploit the capabilities of faster internet speeds and the global reach of the gaming industry.

Top of the Leader Board

But just who are the big players within the world of Scandinavian and Nordic gaming?

Let’s take a look at some of the companies racking up points and climbing the global leader board both in Sweden and beyond.


Initially launched in Stockholm as Midasplayer.com in 2003, this company had a shaky start before it underwent a rebranding and transitioned into social gaming around 2009. Identifying an emerging trend for games on social media platforms – where players can share scores and use games as a conduit for interaction and connectedness – the company launched its popular game Bubble Witch Saga in 2009.

Building on its initial success and the innovative saga model it had created, the company later launched the mobile gaming sensation Candy Crush Saga on Facebook in 2012. This game quickly took the world by storm, racking up four million players in just a few weeks. The game remains popular even today and enjoys iconic status as one of the most successful mobile games of the modern era. As of 2021, it had more than 250 million users.


Rovio is a Finnish video game developer which first began to take shape when three students from the Helsinki University of Technology entered a game development competition sponsored by Nokia and Hewlett-Packard. The students went on to sell their winning game, King of the Cabbage World, which was rebranded as Mole War and is recognised today as one of the first commercial real-time multiplayer video games.

Like King, however, Rovio is most well-known not for their first game but for one that came further down the line – in this case, their 52nd creation. In 2009, they released the colourful puzzle game Angry Birds on the iPhone App store. By 2012, it had reached a whopping one billion downloads and later went on to spawn no fewer than two movies, reams of merchandise, a mini-golf park in the US and even an Angry Birds Land in Särkänniemi, Finland.

Today Rovio focuses mostly on making games related to Angry Birds. They have five studios and employee around 480 people.

Resolution Games

What unites both King and Rovio is that they were quick to spot emerging markets within the industry and create fun and unique content for that corner of the market. Resolution Games is now set to continue that trend by focusing entirely on the latest facet of the games sector – VR and augmented reality.

Founded in 2015 and based in Stockholm, Resolution Games has won multiple awards over the years. It has been named one of the top-five hottest companies in Sweden and it has been celebrated for their innovation within VR and AR. In the words of the company itself, their mission is to bring players inside the game through a “world-class catalogue of titles that brings players into the richest VR and AR worlds possible.”

Bringing Nordic Games to the World

The Nordic region has proven to be a fertile environment for video games development thanks largely to its great digital infrastructure and creative heritage. But it takes deft translators to bring these creations to the world and allow them to flourish.

What are some of the challenges involved in this work?

Conserving creativity

One of the reasons why Angry Birds and Candy Crush are so beloved is they have their own unique and quirky identities and universes. But playful and idiomatic language is notoriously difficult to translate, especially when space restrictions may apply. One of the key skills a video game translator needs to possess is therefore a creative flair and an ability to think outside the box.

Untangling code

Familiarity with code and how video game files are structured is also important. Agencies need to be able to cleanly separate in-game text from code so that nothing gets disrupted in the process. Otherwise, you run the risk of having bugs introduced or your UI layouts disturbed at the translation stage. So make sure to work with an agency that understands these pitfalls and has solutions in place.

Multiplayer support

As well as challenges, the sector is also brimming with opportunities. One of the most interesting areas to watch is multiplayer support. Many games today host entire communities and social spaces, allowing players to connect with fellow gamers from across the globe. New translation tools and methods can help support this process and we are very excited to see what possibilities may open up here for translators and translation technology.

Are you a video game developed in the Nordic region or elsewhere? Why not get in touch to hear more about how we can help bring your creations to the world, or to chat about a possible collaboration? Contact us today!