Breaking news: Finland nationalises its mobile games industry

Its success is destablising national character

Breaking news: Finland nationalises its mobile games industry
First published: | Updated:

UPDATE: This story, as you may have guessed, was an April Fool.

In a shock move, the Finnish government has announced it has nationalised its mobile game industry.

As of midnight 1st April, Helsinki time, all companies making and selling games, entertainment content and tools for distribution through the Apple App Store, Google Play, Amazon Appstore for Amazon, Windows Phone Store and Nokia Ovi store are now fully owned by the Finnish government.

BlackBerry World and Samsung Apps weren't included on the prescribed list, however.

"We didn't even know they still existed," an astonished insider commented.

As for compensation for existing shareholders, Minister for Industrial Predistribution, Pentti Linkola said they would each receive a spruce tree and a burbot fish for every 1,000 company shares they previously held.

"We've got loads of fish and trees, and they're much more useful than pieces of paper," Linkola said.

"You can't eat a Rovio share."

The Nokia way

While surprising, the Finnish government's decision follows a wave of nationalisation around the globe, notably of strategic assets such as banks, and natural resource companies like oil and precious metal producers.

It's believed the dozens of Finnish companies, ranging from global players such as Rovio, Supercell, and Ubisoft's RedLynx, to smaller boutiques like Grand Cru, Applifer, Mountain Sheep and Housemarque will now be run by under an umbrella organisation headed by Olli-Pekka Kallasvu, previously Nokia CEO.

"I learned a lot over 20 years of building up Nokia before driving it into the dust," Kallasvu explained.

"I reckon I can take down the Finnish mobile games industry in about 18 months."

The long view

It's comments like this which have some suggesting the government's real thinking behind the move is less about business and more about social control.

There are fears that Finns' brains just aren't psychologically wired for global success on a longterm basis.

"With Rovio and Supercell alone now worth billions of dollars, any more success has a high probability of shaking the quiet, stoic nature that Finns have nurtured for hundreds of years, often by sitting silently in saunas and consuming vast amounts of vodka," Linkola pondered quietly.

"We can't just throw away such a national level of commitment to sweaty navel gazing for another measly 500 million downloads from China."

Use it, or lose it

Another view on the situation came from an anonymous poster on the Finnish government website, who commented the real trigger to the move was jealousy from other business leaders.

"These mobile guys are making stacks of cash, and they all still walk about in branded hoddies and sneakers," it said.

"Where are the Rolexes, diamond-encrusted ear rings, not to mention the Baby Bentleys and private jets?

"If they're not going to spent it in frivolous ways, we'll redistribute it into our wallets."

As went to press, there were unconfirmed reports that the Mighty Eagle was thinking of setting up a smoked fish business.

"He's got a lot of fish and trees now," a Rovio insider commented.

Normal Mainer
Normal Mainer
American author and journalist Normal Mainer was born in Ketchum, Idaho. He's written widely about the computer games industry, although in a manner often described as being "hesitant, disorganized, and confused". He won the IMGA's Best Game Journalist Award Ever for the fifth time in 2012.