Finnish game studio Critical Force invests in both the well-being of their employees and their player community. Their mobile eSports game Critical Ops has been developed by demonstrably well and able employees.
Tracking the quality of working life
A Finnish insurance company conducted a study on the well-being of Critical Force employees in the spring of 2017. The single most important aspect of the study was the QWL index (quality of working life) which tracks the performance of personnel. This index combines tracking fluency of work, work safety, social cohesion of the job community and perceived encouragement at work. The quality of working life for Critical Force employees broke records by reaching an exceptional 80 percent, whereas the average result is usually at 63 percent and an excellent result usually at 75 percent.
“Based on the study results we can safely say that we are an exceptionally happy and effective game studio”, rejoices Critical Force CEO Veli-Pekka Piirainen. “The well-being of our employees is extremely important to us. Burnouts are a real threat for employees in the game industry because employees approach their work with extraordinary passion. We want to do our utmost when it comes to supporting our employees.”
”Everyone here is amazingly friendly and kind, which makes day to day work very enjoyable. Critical Force spoils us constantly”, comments Critical Force programmer Agustin Petrini.
The player community is also being well looked after
Critical Force has lent a close ear to their player community from the very start. Their flagship game Critical Ops has been developed with the support of the player community since the very early days. The game was first soft launched to the players as early as 2015 even though the game’s completion and an official launch are still upcoming. Throughout this time the game has seen constant improvements with the help of community feedback. Critical Force are in frequent communication with their player community via social media and instant messenger apps. There are nearly half a million followers of Critical Force’s various social media channels.
”We especially get a lot of valuable feedback from our pro scene and major clans, often regarding issues that we weren’t aware of at all”, comments Critical Force’s lead designer Tim Spaninks. “This is because the pro players take the game to a completely different level and this is something that has been very hard for us to prepare for beforehand.”
One way to keep tabs on the player community is through influencer communications with YouTubers. Critical Force community managers have a special influencer program to which players making Critical Ops videos on YouTube can apply. These VIP content producers are supported in various ways. One way is to showcase their videos on Critical Force’s social media channels, community live streams, website and especially in the game itself. Driving traffic to the content producers’ videos have yielded great results. Some content producers have also been invited to visit Critical Force’s offices in Kajaani, Finland.
”Favorite feature to work on would be our community streams”, comments Critical Force’s Community Manager Watkins Lam. “I really enjoy talking to and getting feedback from our community.”
Critical Force – a Finnish success story
Critical Force got started five years ago when CEO Veli-Pekka Piirainen and a small team of developers produced their first prototype of a multiplayer first person shooter for the mobile platform. Through incremental stages Critical Ops was eventually developed from this prototype. Critical Ops proved to be exceptionally suitable for mobile eSports. From that day on Critical Force have engaged in pioneering work in the development of mobile eSports.
The last couple of years have been extremely significant for Critical Force. The company moved to their current office in the center of Kajaani in the summer of 2016 and since then they have renovated and expanded several times due to the growth of the company. Critical Force received a four million euro seed investment from Korean game publisher conglomerate NHN Entertainment in the fall 2016. This is one of the biggest ever seed investments for a Finnish gaming company.
In the span of a little over a year Critical Force has grown exponentially from a 15 person core team to a family of 60 games industry professionals. There are now employees of 13 different nationalities on the team. In addition to having employees in Kajaani, Finland there are now employees both in Seoul, South Korea as well as in Los Angeles in the United States.
Critical Force was also awarded best Finnish game developer of 2016.