Are Long Winters The Reason Why Finnish People Love Online Gaming So Much?

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Finland’s known for its winters that can be brutal and unpleasant. It’s also known for being a hub of gaming, with many top games being produced in the country and many of its residents classing themselves as gamers. In this article, we’ll look at the country’s gaming industry and winter climate, and see if the long winters typically experienced by Finns are behind their love of gaming. 


Finland’s Gaming Industry


It’s safe to say that people in Finland love playing video games. Of the country’s population of 5.5 million, around half - some 2.8 million - are gamers. While many Finns enjoy playing games, there are also a considerable number who enjoy creating them. The country’s home to some 260 video game studios and these collectively employ over 3,600 people. In 2020, the Finnish video game industry generated €2.4 billion in revenue - this was a 9% increase from the previous year. Over a fifth of the studios generated in excess of €1 billion.

The game development industry is concentrated in Helsinki, the country’s capital city. The first studio was opened in 1995 and this paved the way for the industry to grow and prosper. Some popular games that have achieved significant success around the world have been created in Finland. Some examples are given below:


  • Angry Birds created by Rovio Entertainment

  • Max Payne (first two instalments created by the Finnish company Remedy Entertainment; third instalment developed by American studio Rockstar Studios)

  • Clash of Clans, created by Supercell


Angry Birds is arguably the country’s most successful video game export. The mobile game has a simple premise: you use a slingshot to launch birds at structures made up of several elements and have pigs placed around them. Your aim is to destroy all the pigs. Since the first game was released in 2009, Angry Birds has become an incredibly successful franchise consisting of dozens of games and spin-offs, not to mention two films, several TV series and even some theme park attractions. 

There are more than 20 educational institutions that offer courses in developing video games. These are important because they enable the next generation of game designers and programmers to get their foot in the door, so to speak, gain some useful experience and learn the tricks of the trade. 


Finland’s Climate


Due to Finland’s location, winter is its longest season by far. In the southern part of the country that’s bordered by the Gulf of Finland, winters typically last around 100 days or so, with snow covering much of the land from late December to the end of March. Temperatures routinely dip below freezing. The summer, conversely, is fairly warm, with temperatures reaching as high as 35° during July, the hottest month of the year. 

In the northernmost part of Finland, the winter season lasts about twice as long as it does in the southern coastal area, lasting some 200 days. Winters aren’t just long in the north, they’re also very cold; in fact, temperatures as low as -45º have been recorded. Snow is also more prevalent: it’s not uncommon for large parts of the land to be covered by snow from the middle of October right through to the beginning of May.

The climate in the very north of the country is particularly unforgiving. Approximately a quarter of Finland is covered by the Arctic Circle. Here you can experience the phenomenon of the midnight sun during the summer months. This is where the sun doesn’t appear to fully set during the evening and remains above the horizon, fully visible throughout the whole night. The further north you travel, the more days this phenomenon takes place. In the northernmost point of Finland, you can actually experience midnight sun for 60 consecutive days. That’s 60 back-to-back days where the sun doesn’t dip below the horizon at all.


The Connection Between Winter and Gaming

It’s a reasonable assumption to make that Finland’s less-than-favourable winters have helped the country’s gaming industry to thrive. During the harsh winter months when people are unable to go out, they turn to indoor forms of entertainment to pass the time. There are all sorts of things you can do in the house, but gaming is particularly appealing on a winter’s day because it offers immersion. When you play a video game, you can lose yourself in the world you see on your screen. You can forget about the world you’re in - and the awful weather outside - and fully concentrate on discovering and exploring a new one instead; that is, the virtual world of the video game. 

What’s great about video games is that they offer an escape. Lots of casino games are designed to draw you in and encourage you to spend dozens - or even hundreds - of hours playing. Some have set tasks/levels for you to complete, whereas others are open-ended and keep churning out new things for players to do. Gaming is the perfect solution when you’re at home and stuck for something to do. 


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