The Danish gaming industry has grown through decades and is, once again, promoted as a future position of strength. But this time, something is different. Something that has the potential to make the industry explosive, says the CEO of the Danish Chamber of Commerce.

Computer games constantly thread the fine line between culture and business. Sometimes the stamp of culture has made it difficult for the industry to be taken seriously as a commercial industry. But in fact, Brian Mikkelsen, CEO of the Danish Chamber of Commerce, believes that it is precisely the mixture of culture and business that will make the industry grow explosively in the coming years.

“I think it will be the new growth industry. I believe that all the cultural businesses are going to experience a renaissance because we need experiences. And I think computer games will provide business opportunities in themselves, but also through synergies with other industries,” Mikkelsen says.

Danish furniture design and Danish films are already doing well abroad. And Mikkelsen believes that the same creative muscles puts Denmark in a particularly interesting place when it comes to the gaming industry.

“In the world we live in, stories are important. Stories allow classic, Danish furniture to sell all over the world, and so can Danish games,” Mikkelsen says. “We already have the prerequisites: games are a creative business and creativity is something we teach in primary school.”

Not just nice to have

The gaming industry is an extremely international market where success can be effectively scaled and exported to the rest of the world. Mikkelsen already saw this during his time as Minister of Culture in the 00s, when the game Hitman from Danish IO Interactive became a global sensation in a matter of months. A success that has been followed by several Danish games since. But also a success that requires a focus and nourishment to the industry if the successes are to flourish continuously.

“I think, computer games were seen as something that was nice to have, in the past. It was something kids played while Astralis became their heroes – but one the business potential wasn’t commonly recognised. But the industry has proven its business potential, and now it’s time for action – it is an industry we need to focus on,” Mikkelsen says.

According to the CEO, more game developers must be educated, and it must be easier to attract talent from abroad so that the industry’s talent shortage can be met. It must be more attractive to invest in the industry – also for the Danish Growth Fund. And on a softer level, he believes we need to further acknowledge the successful role models the industry has already created.

“We are so proud of Danish film. Imagine if David Helgason from Unity was as big a hero as Thomas Vinterberg,” Mikkelsen says. “Not to disregard Danish film, but David Helgason has created 100 times more value for the Danish society in terms of jobs and tax revenue than Thomas Vinterberg.”

An inevitable momentum

Brian Mikkelsen was previously both Minister of Culture and Minister of Business, and thus had the political responsibility for handling the gaming industry. Also at times when the industry renewed its momentum and was predicted a role as a growth engine – just as it is today.

However, he believes that the gaming industry’s climate is different this time: the industry has reached maturity, both culturally and businesswise, that it did not have just five years ago.

“Previously, computer games were a niche aimed at a narrower audience – but now it is for everyone,” the CEO says, adding that he himself occasionally plays the football game Fifa with his children.

“The business community must acknowledge the great business opportunity. With a younger generation of politicians who are used to playing computer games combined with pressure from the population, the politicians will probably be convinced about the potential – and then resources will come to the industry,” Mikkelsen says. “We are amazing at movies. Let’s transfer that to games which have a far, far greater economy”

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