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The video game industry is recognized worldwide as the largest player in the entertainment business with more than $ 100 billion per year. The growing presence of women in games, the promotion of exports and the integration of games into other industry sectors identifies the unquestionable viability of the market. The expanding and self-sustaining video game industry in Lithuania is the second after biotechnology in terms of value created by one employee. Game development studios are already looking for game managers and business developers - professional brokers that can develop a business plan for game development and sell products to investors.
While games have long been seen as a field for self-expression or as a starting point for almost any programming enthusiast, startups state that the opinion about video games is slowly changing. Today, developers are successful entrepreneurs capable to run a profitable business.
“Of course, we still see a priority in self-expression, but larger game development studios like Nordcurrent, SneakyBox, TutoTOONS not only sustain their businesses, generate profits, but also innovate. Migrating ICT professionals are also a challenge in this sector. Professionals improve their skills while developing games that are their own products. Later they implement it in e-commerce, artificial intelligence, computer learning and other areas,”says Eva Brazdžionytė, Board Member of Gluk Media and Board Member of Lithuanian Game Developers Association.
The gaming industry outperforms all other players in the entertainment market, the music and film industries, both in size, growth and innovation. As games developers, the programmers test new algorithm, search for new solutions implementing artificial intelligence, machine learning. Successfully tested solutions are transferred to the other sectors. However, game developers face a very long and difficult start - due to the so-called "hit-industry" specifics that define the entertainment industry.
"Hit" is a championing product that requires a lot of effort and testing before global recognition. This is the most desired result of the work that guarantees of success for the studio that created it. For example, it was the case of the Nordcurrent team. They have introduced the Happy Chef video game series, and a few years ago, their Cooking Fever game amused players around the world.
“Video game development takes a lot of time, and the earning cycle is quite short and steep, so it requires preparation and resources. A dedicated video game business accelerator would be particularly helpful. It usually takes up to a few years for teams to create the game, and it may take up to 20 attempts to design a “hit”. Of course, several games are usually created at the same time, but the acceleration program would be particularly helpful for those who consider game development as a hobby. It could encourage developers to turn games into a main business, ”says Brazdžionytė.
Such accelerator should be focused on working with businesses that sell directly to consumers (B2C) and thus stand out from the foundations and accelerators of B2B business model currently flourishing in Lithuania. As the game industry is characterized by a global market, developers would benefit from the knowledge and experience of global experts that focuses on developing a product worth to sell.
The representative of video game developers emphasizes that one of the key components currently missing from the market is professional game managers and consultants, who help game developers to find publishers and investors. Although foreign investors are interested in video games developed by Lithuanians, there are challenges in presenting them properly - Lithuanians lack skills in representing, communicating game ideas, and predicting business profitability in a language that investors understand perfectly.
Kaunas Science and Technology Park, which is involved in the international Baltic Games Industry initiative sponsored by the Interreg BSR program, together with the Lithuanian Game Developers Association is preparing an overview of the Lithuanian game market in the European and global context. The project involves 22 partners from 8 Baltic Sea Region countries aiming to strengthen the game industry in the Baltic Sea Region by expanding the opportunities for innovation and supporting the game industry in the regions to become globally competitive players.