Is game development considered as a "real job" if it's about developing serious games? Or has the growing game sector in Finland already proven to be business enough to be taken seriously? Either way, HappyWise, based in Oulu, Finland, is all out developing games to corporate training markets and public sector.
The objectives of the games range from introducing new products to education and process training. HappyWise claims games with educational content can be used to motivate learning in wide variety of fields, and in any any group. In essence games show the immediate causality of player's actions, thus triggering learning. HappyWise is founded in 2006, and announces it's current headcount to be 10 people. One of their newest games is Growwwings.net, a cross-curricular internet-based educational game teaching sustainable development.
The development of serious games in general is expected to boost in Finland. The horrors of "edutainment" are fading, and the new rise of games with objectives beyond entertaining is expected to break through in a few years. The major reason for this is that serious games development is finally being driven by gaming rather than teaching professionals. The game development gathers still together very versatile teams; for example HappyWise's team includes computer scientists, game designers, content providers, graphic designers and business expertise, along with specific experts depending on the target field of different projects.
In addition to HappyWise, there's a healthy, developing gaming industry chapter in Oulu with a bunch of new firms. Also Turku is catching the wave, with Turku Games Organisation founded just recently to amass efforts. IGDA Finland on the other hand has been active in Helsinki area already for quite some time. Looking forward to cover other interesting gaming startups later on..