Who are you?
— I’m Creative Director at Stryda, where I lead a team of designers and oversee the creative aspects of our marketing campaigns and branding initiatives, says Silventoinen. Stryda is a web platform that hosts gaming competitions for popular titles like Valorant, PUBG, and Apex Legends, providing an engaging experience both for casual gamers and seasoned pros who want to compete with and against others. Formerly known as G-Loot, we felt the need to rebrand as we had outgrown our identity. We had pivoted with our product and offering and shifted focus to what we want to build in the future. When refreshing our brand, I wanted the new identity to very much reflect who we are, what we’ve done, and where we want to be.
And what is that? What makes you so unique?
— Our pioneering mindset and view on competitive gaming, and of course what we are building with our product. We want to unite gamers of all kinds and skill levels on our platform and amplify the thrill of competitive gaming. There are a lot of esport platforms out there, but very few cater to gamers of all skill levels, and even fewer offer the possibility to compete in several games simultaneously while striving towards common goals.
When we look at your industry, how is it going?
— As with any industry, the recent year has hit hard on esports due to the economic situation in the world, Silventoinen explains. But I’d say we’re also starting to see what companies and products really have found their audience and market fit, and as such we’re maturing as an industry right now.
What’s the major industry trend?
— AI is obviously something that’s really shaking things up, from creating content in all aspects to helping the industry speed up processes and finding new ways of building products and services. It’s of course still quite new, but I’m excited to see how AI will propel the whole entertainment industry forward. We will very likely see big changes in the tech landscape in the coming years.
And how will AI and these new technologies change the industry?
— AI will revolutionize the gaming industry by improving game design, graphics, and gameplay mechanics. By analyzing player behaviour and preferences, AI can help developers to create more engaging and personalized gaming experiences. AI-powered game design tools can generate tailored content quickly, improving player satisfaction, and retention. I recently saw a video clip where a developer injected AI into an NPC (non-player character, Ed’s note) whom he then, in-game, had a conversation with. That alone will make the games far more realistic, when you interact and communicate with characters in the games as you would in real life, says Silventoinen. He continues:
— I believe AI and machine learning will impact almost every industry sector. We’re already seeing how quickly AI has evolved and the creative ways we’re starting to implement it in the entertainment industry — from AI-generated commercials to pop songs that sound more or less exactly like the artists it was designed to mimic. The general output of content on the web will increase as more or less anybody now can be a ’designer’ or ’artist’ by simply typing in a few keywords in a prompt. I mean it’s not all fun and games, we’ve also recently seen examples of how AI generated images can be used in propaganda and other means to cause harm. As more money is being poured into AI and machine learning, development will accelerate quite quickly, and with that, the need to discuss this topic on a broader level: How should we regulate the use of this technology and ensure that it’s being used in an ethical manner?
What are the main challenges for the industry in the Nordics?
— The Nordics have always been at the forefront of the tech industry, driving new innovative and exciting solutions and products to the market, and gaming has been no exception. There’s no shortage of talent here, so attracting and keeping brilliant minds is of course a challenge for every company out there. I think that like with most tech and game companies, the main challenge will be to build something truly unique that can stand out in a market that is flooded with new products and services on a daily basis.
How did the pandemic change consumer behaviour?
— The entertainment industry probably received something of a boost in terms of eyes on screen during the pandemic and the lockdown, and the gaming industry as a whole probably wasn’t impacted all too much, but rather, the pandemic enabled gamers and consumers to dive deeper into gaming and esports. So I don’t know if it in any way changed consumer behaviour but rather amplified the way entertainment and gaming already were being consumed.
You aim to create the best esport platform in the region. What’s crucial in order to achieve that?
— From my perspective, the key to creating even the world’s best esport platform, is building something of great value for the players. We want to create something that becomes as important to the gamers as the games themselves, an integral part of their daily lives. Achieving that is of course no walk in the park but I’m confident that we can achieve this.
And how will you work to create this value?
— We aim to extend the feeling of the game outside the game itself. We achieve this by providing users with a platform where they can connect with like-minded players, share their gaming experiences, and interact with the community. We also offer additional goals and objectives within the game, such as challenges and achievements, to keep users engaged and motivated. Furthermore, we build a comprehensive gamer profile that accurately portrays their gaming stats and behaviour, providing them with insights and recommendations that enhance their gaming experience. By doing so, we create a platform that not only supports and enhances the games users play but also adds an additional layer of value and enjoyment to the gaming experience.
Which other Nordic gaming startups do you think are the most relevant now?
— I’m very excited to see new game studios pop up, with game development veterans venturing out to start their own companies and creating new and engaging games out there. I think that in the light of an already saturated market, there needs to be something out of the ordinary to grab a moment in the limelight, and with this as a benchmark, we’re probably going to see a lot of engaging games and entertainment going forward. If I were to pick one, I guess it would be King, the way they develop games, and continue to evolve them is amazing. Just look at Candy Crush that after 10 years still continues to be one of the biggest mobile games out there, and that’s just one of the many games that continue to entertain and engage players around the world, Silventoinen concludes.