The gaming industry has strong roots in the Czech Republic, with a diverse range of successful game development studios, publishers, and startups. The industry has been growing steadily over the years, and besides bringing pleasure and entertainment, it also represents a €250M market. With a diverse and talented pool of developers, the Czech Republic is set to be a significant player in the gaming world.
Gaming industry in the Czech Republic
With companies like Avast and AVG, cybersecurity and software development will likely come first in mind when considering the Czech tech sector. However, gaming also represents a significant sector, surpassing the Czech film production revenues by over three times in 2019.
The Czech Republic is home to several established game development studios, including the following with popular games:
- 2K Czech – formerly Illusion Softworks (1997): Mafia series, Vietcong
- SCS Software (1997): American Truck
- Bohemia Interactive (1999): Operation Flashpoint, Arma
- Amanita Design (2003): Samorost, Machinarum
- Geewa (2005): Smashing Four
- MADFINGER Games (2009): Dead Trigger
- Warhorse Studios (2011): Kingdom Come
The Czech Republic ranks 3rd behind Poland and Romania on the regional CEE gaming industry map. While Sweden and Finland have one of the strongest, most developed, and supported positions in the European gaming market, their development has been stagnant in recent years. On the other hand, the Central and Eastern European region, including the Czech Republic, shows continuous growth.
The origins of the Czech video game industry can be traced back to the country’s rich cultural heritage in arts and animation. Today, there are over 135 game-developing studios, and the sector employs over 2300 people. With international sales accounting for over 95% of its revenue, video games are one of the Czech Republic’s most significant cultural exports.
The Czech game industry has maintained double-digit growth during the Covid-19 pandemic, with the number of employees and industry turnover doubling during the past five years. Despite the challenges, Czech video games have flourished in the global marketplace and consistently topped sales charts on major platforms for PCs, game consoles, and mobile devices.
Looking into the more recent success stories of Czech startups from the gaming industry, The Recursive has identified 5 companies to add to your map.
5 Czech gaming startups to keep an eye on
Established: 2020, Brno
Founders: Petr Kolář
About: Ashborne Games is a video game development studio specializing in developing strategy and RPG (role-playing game) games. The team, including the founder, comprises seasoned experts from Bohemia Interactive.
Highlight: A year after its establishment, the startup raised a corporate round of over ~€6.3M in 2021 from a game developer and publisher, THQ Nordic.
Established: 2015, Prague
About: GAMEE is a gaming platform with a mission to introduce the value of blockchain to mainstream gaming audiences and to recognize and reward gaming skills, effort, and loyalty. The startup built a global gaming community of 40M users.
Highlight: GAMEE collectively raised nearly €4M. In 2020, GAMEE was acquired by Hong Kong-based Animoca Brands for ~€5M.
Beat Games (Beat Saber)
Established: 2018, Prague
About: Beat Games is a game developer of Beat Saber, a unique VR rhythm game with the goal of slashing beats represented by small cubes as they come.
Highlight: Beat Saber is the global leader in virtual reality games (2022). The company was acquired by a VR platform and products developer Oculus owned by Meta.
Established: 2016, Prague
About: LIV creates a technology toolset to share VR experiences, using VTubing, Mixed Reality Capture, and VR native utilities like in-headset stream chat, alerts, and notifications. The startup aims to allow streamers to grow and play with their audiences in real time.
Highlight: The startup raised a Series A funding of $8.5M in 2022, led by US-based BITKRAFT Ventures. A Czech VC, Credo Ventures, also joined the round.
Established: 2020, Prague
About: GitGut.ai develops an AI voice companion app for League of Legends, providing players with champion-specific information and assisting them in navigating the matchup.
Highlight: GitGut.ai raised €560K over two pre-seed rounds backed by DEPO Ventures and Czech Founders VC.