Dutch gaming industry leaps to the next level with first ever Dutch Game Award
The Netherlands is marking it's first steps in the next level of the gaming industry with the nations first ever Game Award tomorrow. After a decade of hard work the Netherlands have risen as a serious player in the fast growing Gaming Industry! Back in the '90's hardly anyone in this small European nation was involved in the fast developing new industry, now the country has several colleges with dedicated gaming courses delivering new talents to the industry every year. About 250 organisations and 2,500 people are involved in the Dutch gaming industry, including suppliers, educational centres, researchers, specialised media, event organisers and off course game developers.
Although this new industry is growing fast, it is not yet all about getting rich by making up nice games. It is still a tough world and the risks are considerable.
There’s some brilliant stuff being produced in the Netherlands,”
“Until now we didn’t have a national platform to show what we can do. The awards will mean greater recognition for Dutch game makers
The turnover by the fast developing industry is yet unkown as there is no central organisation who monitors and administers the industries output. Also the type of games are divers, from small and easy webbased "casual games" to the bigger adventure productions which in organisation, budget and outcome match Hollywood movies. One of the nominated games for the Dutch Game Awards is the humorous fantasy game "Overlord", an production of the Triumph Studios in Delft, the small city between the Hague and Rotterdam, home of the Technical University of Delft. The protagonist in Overlord is an evil ruler who commands an army of reckless little monsters. It is a parody of fantasies along the lines of Lord of the Ring. The founders of Triumph, Lennart Sas and Arno van Wingerden, are two of the Netherlands’ gaming pioneers.
We started out doing demos at the beginning of the 90s, just a couple of guys trying to create great effects on a computer screen with little money and few resources,”
“But after an internship with an American gaming company, we knew that making games was what we wanted to do.”
Their first effort, a strategy game called Age of Wonders, was followed by Overlord which has already sold more than a million copies. The sequel is planned for next year. The bad guy will be a decadent Roman emperor.
Strangly one of the largest Dutch gaming companies, Coded Illusions from Rotterdam, will not be represented at the awards. After four years in development, its futuristic action-adventure game Haven has still not seen the light of day. The company went bankrupt three weeks ago and had to fire half of its 40 staff when its main US investor was hit by the credit crisis.
If we had found a publisher in time, this would not have happened. But it wasn’t possible because the game is in a grey area: not good enough for the major producers but too good – and too expensive – to be brought out as a B-title.”
Working in this industry is often made out to be an easy option. You make a game and the money starts rolling in. But it’s not like that. There is an enormous amount of investment involved and it’s a tough world
Fortunately for the former employees of Code Illusions is the growth of the industry, according to Stitselaar nearly 80% of the former staff have already found jobs as game developer elsewhere. As said before, it is still a tough world and the risks are considerable, but there are plenty of opportunities, credit crisis or no credit crisis!
january 5 2009 update: the results are here