Nordisk Film has invested more than USD 10M for a minority ownership share in Avalanche Studios. Mikkel Weider and Martin Walfisz from Nordisk Film Games are tasked with building up one of Nordisk Film’s new focus areas and investing in computer games companies.
Mikkel Weider and Martin Walfisz are the core of Nordisk Film’s new investment, Nordisk Film Games. The two guys are not your typical ‘suits’ despite having a strongbox with millions of Danish investment kroner from which to buy their way into Nordic computer gaming companies over the next few years.
But okay, computer game development and corporate etiquette do not exactly go hand-in-hand.
‘Games entrepreneurs are a little like artists. They start out with a passion and interest in designing games, but then they realise that, of course, they can’t develop games without money,’ says Martin Walfisz, who holds the title of Senior Partner at Nordisk Film Games.
If anyone has intimate knowledge about the games industry, he does – gained from no less than 20 years’ experience in the Swedish industry. Among other things, Martin founded the game development studio Massive Entertainment, which was sold to Ubisoft and grew to 400 employees.
‘I adore creative product development and find business development exhilarating. When Mikkel and I talked about Nordisk Film Games almost a year ago, I knew I had to get involved. Egmont and Nordisk Film constitute the Nordic region’s only large media entertainment company to be taking this approach to the area. It’s good for the Nordic games industry and a good business area for Nordisk Film to move into,’ says Martin Walfisz.
Mikkel Weider, Managing Director of Nordisk Film Games, has worked with developing new businesses for Nordisk Film for some years, and has various tech start-ups to show for it. ‘Nordisk Film Games is an investment unit that invests in Nordic computer games developers. We buy a respectable minority share in return for joining the board and working actively with the individual companies to turn them into global successes. Over the next few years we will probably invest in 8-10 companies,’ says Mikkel Weider.
What do you bring to the various companies?
‘Obviously we have money, and otherwise we determine our degree of involvement on a case-by-case basis. We are skilled product developers, have a good network and can also help market and launch games, a typical area of weakness in these companies. We won’t be actively developing games. They are the experts on that front, but may need our help getting the games firmly established in the market. As regards the bigger enterprises we’ll be investing in, we can also help out by showing them how best to exploit their rights,’ says Mikkel Weider.
So far, Nordisk Film has invested in a small Danish games company, Flashbulb Games, which is developing a new game that could popularly be called ‘Lego meets Minecraft’. More, larger investments are in the pipeline. The minimum investment for Nordisk Film Games hovers around EUR 1 million.
‘We approach established companies. However, over time, we may also be able to make small investments to help ventures at the seed stage and thus take some responsibility for nurturing talent and enhancing the entire grassroots environment of Nordic computer game development,’ says Martin Walfisz.