International successes by several Finnish firms in the digital games industry are seen in some circles as an opening to a major new growth sector in the country. Studies and research in the field are arousing increased interest among students, and universities are taking the subject more seriously.
The University of Vaasa is one place where electronic game-related programmes have expanded over the past few years.
"The goal now is to get potential graduate students who would focus on digital game research. We are moving forward slowly, but surely. Right now we have courses in game research and there are several student theses being produced," explains Olli Raatikainen, a lecturer in the Department of Communications Studies at the University of Vaasa.
The field is a broad one, with a wide range of different aspects being examined.
"Students' research topics have looked at issues such as the internal instructions of games, cinematographic elements in games and how the user experience of arcade games converted for use on consoles compares to the original," Raatikainen relates.
Most of the students in Vaasa who are researching games have a background in communications studies.
While the corporate sector is making a push into digital games, universities are playing catch-up. At present, only a few courses in game research have been available at the University of Vaasa and relatively few theses on the subject have been published there.
The first game-related doctoral dissertation is now a work in progress, but the creation of a complete education programme focused on games and gaming is unlikely in the foreseeable future.
"It sound great, but is would require more teaching resources. Visions of that future, however, do exist," says Raatikainen.