This week, Boden Business Park ( https://bodenbusinesspark.com/ ) is excited to announce that gaming veterans Peter Zetterberg and Thomas Lindgren are opening a new studio, Wanderword, in Boden, Sweden that will develop interactive audiobooks for mobile devices and smart speakers.
In 1993, Zetterberg founded one of Sweden's first gaming companies, Unique Development Studios (UDS), best known for their racing title, Ignition. In 2007, Zetterberg joined Microsoft’s Xbox team and is today Director of Operations & Integrations for Microsoft Studios. Thomas Lindgren brings over 20 years of experience working within the Swedish video game industry to the table and currently serves as the chairman for Fatshark, publisher and developer of the successful video game series, Warhammer: Vermintide, as well as for Glorious Games Group and Wanderword.
Born out of passion for video games and storytelling, in 2012, Zetterberg began working on Wanderword whenever he found free time. Wanderword is a patented mobile platform for interactive audiobooks. A Wanderword story can be played on any mobile device or in-home voice enabled device, such as an Amazon Echo or Google Home. Utilizing speech synthesis, advanced speech recognition, rich sound effects, and branching narratives, Wanderword empowers writers to sell or share their stories with active listeners around the world. This excitingly innovative medium reflects Boden’s vision to become a new hub for the digital entertainment and video gaming industry.
"Wanderword fuses the concept of audio books with the immersion of video games. The studio in Boden will spearhead our efforts in this new business. The team will work closely with international and published authors, design engineers and music composers to create immersive interactive audiobooks," says Zetterberg.
In addition to Wanderword, the Seattle-based game company, House of How, founded and led by former Microsoft engineer, Russ McMackin, will also establish itself in Boden. House of How has been a partner of Microsoft’s Minecraft Marketplace for quite some time. Among many other products and services, McMackin had a hand in the development of Microsoft’s HoloLens. A total of 15 interns are expected to join the two studios in January next year with plans to expand in the near future.
"I grew up in a small town before there was an established game developer industry in Sweden. I know how much talent there truly is outside our larger cities, be it in music, games, art and film. I want to make sure Team Wanderword taps into that pool of passionate talent and help young and aspiring game developers grow and eventually, build their own companies. Giving back to my country is the least I can do at this stage of my career" says Zetterberg, who has been working for Microsoft since 2007 as Director of Studios Operations.
"These establishments are the proof that we are working in the right direction" says Erik Svensson, CEO of Boden Business Agency.
Boden municipality’s tech trip began in 2011 with a major effort focused on the electricity intensive industry. This was followed in 2015 by the construction of Studio Nord. In the following year, a decision had been made to turn Boden into the next big city for the gaming industry. In the fall of 2017, classes in game design and development were being offered at Boden Business Park, in hopes of turning the business park. into a talent factory where young stars can grow, and companies within the gaming industry can develop and expand.
"We notice that the interest increases to establish game studios in Boden and Northern Sweden and that there is a curiosity in the market about what we are creating here," says Mattias Bergqvist, business developer game industry at Boden Business Agency.
Thomas Lindgren, a veteran in the gaming industry, is also involved in the game initiative that is taking place in Boden. He has also played a huge part in attracting Zetterberg and McMackin.
"To be able to establish a local industry, it must be possible to arrange internships on site and to get support in starting companies, but also to attract experienced game developers to the area. With this establishment, the opportunity is given to all three, says Thomas Lindgren.
"Thomas and Peter are some of the most senior Swedes that we have in the gaming industry and their names together give enormous credibility to what we are building up here," Mattias Bergqvist concludes.
Mattias Bergqvist, Business Development Manager
+46 70 241 55 88
Michael deVenecia, Social Media & Community Manager
Photo courtesy of Boden’s Municipality (Bodens Kommun)