Game Developer Spotlight: Paradox Interactive

Game Developer Spotlight: Paradox Interactive

  • By: CM Boots-Faubert
  • Posted 25th Sep 2011


When it was founded in 1998, Swedish video game developer Paradox Interactive began the lengthy process of carving out a niche for itself in the highly competitive fields of game development and game publishing, setting its sights upon the Windows PC as its preferred platform in an era during which most of the established video game houses were rapidly retooling for console platforms like the PlayStation and Xbox, believing that the PC's days as the gaming platform of choice were numbered.

Over the course of the next decade the leading minds at Paradox, which is based out of Stockholm, demonstrated to both gamers and the gaming industry that they not only had a plan, but that the plan and its focus upon Real Time Strategy (RTS) gaming on the PC had solid merit.

Its initial focus in development and publishing concentrated upon historical strategy games and, as Paradox began publishing its own games as well as games produced by other small development houses using traditional retail channels, there was nothing exceptional about their approach or the choices that they were making to cause the industry to take notice. When the company began to push hard in the direction of digital distribution services like pioneers GamersGate and Steam however, that changed.

Bearing in mind that Sweden is not usually one of the countries that pops into your mind when you think of a burgeoning video game industry -- as the home for development studios like Electronic Art's DICE (best known for its incredibly successful Battlefield series and the cult hit Mirror's Edge), the Kingdom of Sweden has quietly built an impressive base for video game development houses that includes GRIN (Tom Clancy's Advanced Warfighter series), Frictional Games (the Penumbra series), and over a dozen others with projects big and small, including a disproportionately high number of MMO's.

A Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe, Sweden shares borders with the Kingdom of Norway and the Republic of Finland, and is connected to Kingdom of Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Ă–resund, three countries that are known for producing well-educated and creative graduates from their university systems who have served as a key asset in staffing the growing games development industries in the region.

The Swedish economy has traditionally been characterized as a knowledge-intensive and export-oriented manufacturing base, but the establishment of its tech sector in the late 1990's combined with the growing presence of video game development houses and, to a lesser degree, games publishing services, have emerged as major elements in its continuing economic growth. Despite its comparatively small business services sector and large public services sector, computer and video gaming development has quickly emerged within the manufacturing and services sectors that previously dominated the Swedish economy to become a significant third player.