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The 31 coolest video game companies in Europe

LittleBigPlanetMedia MoleculeLittleBigPlanet

Europe has a vibrant video game industry, with countries like the UK, France, and Germany playing host to established companies as well as smaller, “indie” developers that work on some of the world’s most successful and creative apps.

So which companies have games worth checking out?

We’ve ranked Europe’s video game development companies, basing our list on upcoming games, as well as the number of existing players, uniqueness, and past hits.

30. Wooga makes free games for smartphones

Wooga CEO Jens Begemann

Country: Germany

Notable games: Diamond Dash, Agent Alice

Berlin-based Wooga, which makes free games for smartphones, boasts an impressive audience. Wooga says on its website that over 50 million people play its games every month across several platforms. More than 200 million people have signed up to play 'Diamond Dash,' a game in which users tap gems to make them explode.

But Wooga isn't a one-hit wounder. It also launched a virtual pet app for the Apple Watch as well as detective game 'Agent Alice.' CEO Jens Begemann said in an interview with VentureBeat that over 80 developers worked on the new game for 18 months.

29. Jagex is the developer behind hit game 'RuneScape'


Country: UK

Notable games: RuneScape

Cambridge-based video game development company Jagex is behind what the Guinness Book of World Records calls the world's most popular free-to-play online adventure game.

First released in 2001, 'RuneScape' allows players to explore a fantasy world and spend money on improvements to their characters. Jagex also publishes a shooter game on Steam and an online card game based on RuneScape.

Jagex has kept its head office in Cambridge, employing over 400 staff in its two studios in the city.

28. Ninja Theory uses Hollywood motion capture techniques for its games

Andy Serkis working on Heavenly Sword.

Country: UK

Notable games: Heavenly Sword, DmC: Devil May Cry

Ninja Theory works with Sony to develop games for PlayStation consoles. The company, as its name suggests, specialises in action games, often with sword-fighting elements. It uses cinematic techniques and advanced animation to make its games similar to movies in their presentation.

In 2007, Ninja Theory released 'Heavenly Sword,' a fighting game that used the same motion-capture technique used in Hollywood movies. It might not have been a huge hit, but 'Heavenly Sword' is still a cult classic, and fans continue to demand a sequel. The company has twice started work on a sequel, but so far hasn't released another game in the 'Heavenly Sword' series. There is, however, a movie based on the game.

27. Gameloft creates smartphone versions of console games

Gameloft CEO Michel Guillemot

Country: France

Notable games: Assassin's Creed (mobile), Brothers in Arms 3, N.O.V.A. Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance

Gameloft is headquartered in Paris and has offices in 28 countries around the world. It focuses on mobile games, producing hundreds of different titles, many of which are smartphone versions of popular console games, including 'Assassin's Creed.'

Gameloft currently has 113 different iPhone games available to download, with many of them using the 'freemium' model of a free download with optional paid extras.

CEO Michel Guillemot says that 1 million Gameloft games are downloaded every day and the company has 5,200 developers working across 27 development studios.

26. Guerrilla Cambridge creates futuristic shooter games

Killzone 2

Country: UK

Notable games: Killzone 2, Killzone 3, MediEvil, LittleBigPlanet (PSP)

It's not just hardware companies building the tech scene in Cambridge. Another important part of the local area's high-tech business are video game developers. Guerilla Cambridge is a high-profile developer working with Sony to create console games that are often used to show off the power of the PlayStation system.

Guerilla Cambridge is best known for creating the 'Killzone 2' and 'Killzone 3' futuristic shooter games, as well as the retro 'MediEvil' series and the PSP port of 'LittleBigPlanet.'

25. Rovio is the developer of 'Angry Birds'

Rovio Mighty Eagle Peter Vesterbacka

Country: Finland

Notable games: Angry Birds, Angry Birds Star Wars, Angry Birds Space, Angry Birds Rio, Angry Birds Seasons

Rovio Entertainment shot to fame after creating 'Angry Birds,' the number one downloaded app of all time, according to CrunchBase.

Founded in 2003 by Niklas Hed, Jarno Väkeväinen, and Kim Dikert , the company has received more than €68 million (£48 million) in two rounds of funding since conception, and employs about 700 people around the world. It has revenues of about €156 million (£111 million) per year. The current CEO is Pekka Rantala.

24. Rodeo Games makes Warhammer games


Country: UK

Notable games: Deathwatch, Hunters, Hunters 2

British game company Rodeo Games is a small team of four industry professionals who decided to leave jobs at bigger studios and create smaller games for smartphones.

The company works with Warhammer developers Games Workshop for its mobile games, creating digital versions of the popular tabletop game.

23. Revolution Software released the popular 'Broken Sword' series

Broken Sword 2

Country: UK

Notable games: Broken Sword, Beneath a Steel Sky

Revolution Software was founded in the 1990s. It released the popular 'Broken Sword' series of games, which let players explore scenes by pointing and clicking, rather than directly controlling characters.

The mix of puzzles, music, and hand-drawn graphics made the series a hit. Revolution Games says the 'Broken Sword' series has sold over 4 million copies worldwide, earning the studio over £100 million.

The company continues to release new 'Broken Sword' games, as well as remastered versions for modern games consoles and smartphones.

22. Goodgame Studios is Berlin's answer to Zynga

Goodgame Studios CEO Dr. Kai Wawrzinek

Country: Germany

Notable games: Goodgame Empire, Goodgame Big Farm, Goodgame Galaxy, Goodgame Poker

Goodgame Studios specialises in online, free-to-play games. It runs games such as 'Goodgame Empire,' 'Goodgame Big Farm,' 'Goodgame Galaxy,' and 'Goodgame Poker.'

The company's strategy isn't remarkably different to Zynga, but the company's games have attracted over 270 million players.

21. Plinga makes social games with millions of players

Family Barn

Country: Germany

Notable games: Family Barn, Dragons of Atlantis, Galaxy Life, Indy Cat

Plinga is a Berlin-based video game developer that creates social games for a wide audience. Founded in 2009, the company has launched a series of games, including 'Family Barn' (27 million players) and 'Dragons of Atlantis' (13 million players).

Unlike its competitors, Plinga makes it games available to embed around the web, so they're not just playable on its own sites. That's different to how rivals like Zynga and King work.

Plinga began as a direct competitor to Zynga, featuring a game called 'FunCards' ('Like UNO, just better!'). It received investment from Rocket Internet, the investment firm run by German entrepreneurs the Samwer brothers.

20. Sports Interactive develops the 'Football Manager' series

Football Manager 2015

Country: UK

Notable games: Football Manager 2015, Football Manager 2014, Football Manager 2013

Sports Interactive is the British developer behind the long-running 'Football Manager' franchise, which lets players manage a football team, juggling players' needs, money, training, and fan expectations as they try and ascend leagues and divisions. The series has increased in complexity since it was first launched in 1992. Now players can watch matches play out in 3D on a realistic pitch.

18. Team17 Software is behind the 'Worms' series

Worms 2

Country: UK

Notable games: Worms, Alien Breed

Team17 is a British video game development company known for creating the 'Worms' franchise. The company was started in 1987, working with software for Amiga computers. But it started publishing video games in the 1990s.

'Worms' was released in 1995 as a simple battle game that saw the player take control of teams of cartoon worms. Although a simple game, it was a surprise smash hit, and outsold big-budget games like 'Tomb Raider' and 'Fifa 96.'

Since then, Team17 has released more 'Worms' games, and continues to publish games from its UK office.

16. Media Molecule is best known for 'LittleBigPlanet'


Country: UK

Notable games: LittleBigPlanet, Rag Doll Kung Fu, Tearaway

Media Molecule, based in Britain, is known for creating the 'LittleBigPlanet' series. Those games are all about creativity, putting the player in the role of 'Sackboy' as he explores a world, and creates his own levels.

The company is owned by Sony, the maker of the PlayStation, and Media Molecule is working with the company on its PlayStation Move hardware.

14. Criterion Games is the king of racing games

Battlefield Hardline

Country: UK

Notable games: Burnout Paradise, Black, Need for Speed, Battlefield Hardline

Criterion Games is a British video game developer that often works in conjunction with American games companies on blockbuster releases.

It made its name with the 'Burnout' racing games over a decade ago, but has moved onto the 'Need for Speed' franchise, and also worked on the latest Battlefield game: 'Battlefield Hardline.'

13. Rebellion Developments makes action games

Rebellion Games CEO Jason Kingsley

Country: UK

Notable games: Sniper Elite, Aliens vs. Predator

Oxford-based Rebellion Games is known for its action games. It's known for the 'Sniper Elite' and 'Aliens vs. Predator' franchises.

In an unusual move for a video game company, Rebellion has ranched out into other kinds of media, publishing comic books through its Abaddon Books imprint. The company has offices in Oxford and Liverpool, though no longer has a presence in Derby.

12. Mojang was acquired by Microsoft for $2.5 billion


Country: Sweden

Notable games: Minecraft

Mojang is famous for its one smash hit game: 'Minecraft.' Started by Markus 'Notch' Persson in 2010, Mojang oversaw the development of 'Minecraft.'

The easy-to-play block-building and adventure game was an instant hit, especially with children. Mojang was eventually sold to Microsoft for $US2.5 billion (£1.6 billion) in September 2014. All three cofounders left the company, and Persson is now living in a $US70 million (£44 million) luxury mansion in Beverly Hills which he bought after outbidding Jay Z and Beyoncé.

11. Frontier Developments is running the space simulation game 'Elite: Dangerous'

Elite: Dangerous

Country: UK

Notable games: Elite: Dangerous, RollerCoaster Tycoon, Zoo Tycoon

Cambridge-based Frontier Developments is behind the Elite series of video games. Developer David Braben created the first 'Elite' game in 1984. It was different to the existing games on the market because it allowed players to roam space, acting as a trader or pirate or any number of other roles.

The Elite series has been a mainstay for Frontier Developments, which released 'Elite: Dangerous' in 2014. The game sold over 500,000 copies, and has an army of dedicated players.

10. Wargaming is a game developer based in Cyprus

World of Tanks

Country: Cyprus

Notable games: World of Tanks

'World of Tanks' is a hugely popular free-to-play online game, where players take control of vintage tanks.

Wargaming is the Cyprus-based company behind the game and is now developing several follow-up titles to try and cash in on the trend of huge online games that are free to play (although dedicated players can pay for extra features).

9. CCP Games develops 'virtual realities'

CCP Games CEO Hilmar Veigar P├ętursson

Country: Iceland

Notable games: EVE Online, EVE Valkyrie

CCP Games is probably most famous for 'EVE Online,' a multiplayer role-playing game. CCP Games was founded in 1997, but is still going strong eight years later.

It creates interactive, multiplayer games that are, it says, 'virtual realities.' The startup's most recent funding was for $US20 million (£12.8 million) in August 2012 and it has around 500 employees.

7. Arkane Studios is hard at work on its next hit game

Dishonored 2

Country: France

Notable games: Dishonored, BioShock 2

Some of Arkane Studios' most famous titles include 'Call of Duty: World at War,' 'BioShock 2,' 'Dishonored,' and 'Dishonored 2,' which is currently in development. Since starting in 1999, the company has expanded out of France, also opening an office in Austin, Texas.

6. King is the Swedish developer behind 'Candy Crush'

King CEO Riccardo Zacconi

Country: Sweden

Notable games: Candy Crush Saga, Bubble Witch Saga

King is the digital studio behind a vast portfolio of popular apps and games. Chances are you've heard of 'Candy Crush,' King's biggest hit, with over 93 million daily active users. But the company isn't stopping with just one hit game. It has a vast portfolio of apps and games -- and it isn't showing the growing pains that plagued Zynga, the other well-known casual games giant.

CEO Riccardo Zacconi has been in charge of King since starting the company in 2003. He's seen King grow from a small startup to an international games giant. King's March 2014 IPO saw stock fall initially, but it's been performing well since. The company booked $US2.3 billion in 2014 revenue.

5. ustwo created Frank Underwood's favourite app

Monument Valley

Country: UK

Notable games: Monument Valley

London-based ustwo developed 'Monument Valley,' the iPhone and iPad puzzle game that won an Apple design award in 2014. President Frank Underwood, the main character in Netflix's 'House of Cards,' was also seen playing the game.

As well as its immensely popular puzzle game, ustwo also develops apps and software for other companies. It has worked on watch faces for Google's Android Wear operating system and software for Tesco's HUDL tablets.

4. Rockstar North works on the blockbuster 'Grand Theft Auto' franchise

Grand Theft Auto V

Country: UK

Notable games: Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption, Max Payne

Rockstar North is the Edinburgh office of Rockstar Games, the global video game development company responsible for creating the blockbuster 'Grand Theft Auto' series of games. The UK office is famous for creating the 'Grand Theft Auto' and 'Lemmings' franchises, as well as working on other games such as 'Red Dead Redemption' and the 'Max Payne' series.

3. CD Projekt RED just released the hit game 'Witcher 3'

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Country: Poland

Notable games: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, The Witcher

'The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt' is one of the biggest games in the world right now. It sold over 4 million copies in its first two weeks on sale, which is a huge achievement for a relatively obscure Polish video game developer.

CD Projekt RED's game has been heavily praised by reviewers, reaching a Metacritic score of 92 out of 100 for its extensive depth, as well as the fact that it offers a single, expansive experience, in contrast to the trend in video games of releasing extra sections as downloadable content after release. The company is focused on developing the Witcher franchise, which is based on a series of Polish fantasy novels.

2. EA Digital Illusions CE is building 'Star Wars Battlefront'

DICE CEO Karl Magnus Troedsson

Country: Sweden

Notable games: Battlefield, Mirror's Edge

EA Digital Illusions CE, commonly known as 'DICE,' is owned by global video game giant Electronic Arts. DICE is behind the 'Battlefield' series of games and is currently working on a sequel to 'Mirror's Edge,' the futuristic parkour game that it released in 2008.

Another key game that the company is working on is 'Star Wars Battlefront,' which is scheduled to be released on November 17. EA predicts that it will sell between 9 and 10 million copies of the game.

1. Hello Games is working on a game loved by both Kanye West and Elon Musk

Hello Games CEO Sean Murray.

Country: UK

Notable games: No Man's Sky, Joe Danger

Hello Games is behind the 'Joe Danger' game series, where you play as a washed-up stuntman trying to pull off crazy action manoeuvres.

Now, the Guildford-based company has another ambitious project in the works: 'No Man's Sky.' It's a space simulation that generates a giant universe that players can explore.

The huge scale and level of detail of 'No Man's Sky' has brought the company a lot of attention. Even academy-award winning director Steven Spielberg, serial entrepreneur Elon Musk and rapper Kanye West have tried out an early demo of the game, Nerdist reports.

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