As an avid game enthusiast, for Tirana-based tech entrepreneur Lorena Gjana it was difficult to see her native Albania lagging behind the region when it comes to developing a gaming industry.
Unlike the rest of the region and countries such as Serbia and Croatia, the Albania gaming industry is still in its very early development, or almost non-existing as she explains.
With this in mind, for Gjana it was time to act. Already a co-founder of one tech company, software development company division5, her new project BEEZ Agency is a startup that focuses on game development.
For Gjana, BEEZ Agency is also a heartfelt project, meant to help develop the gaming industry in the country, as well as its rising gaming community.
“It is unequivocal that the gaming industry is the most important and innovative sector in tech today, with almost 3 billion people playing games around the world. With the infusion of social networking, virtual reality and entertainment, the gaming industry offers by far the most immersive and exciting experiences,” Gjana tells The Recursive.
After working on the project for a few years and building up a team that can work in modeling and game development, Gjana managed to establish BEEZ in March 2022. The startup is already working on small game projects, helping various clients in the industry develop their product.
Boosting the Albanian tech ecosystem
Regarding its tech ecosystem, Albania still needs to put a lot of effort into empowering actors and facilitators to boost its development, Gjana points out. Although it has made a lot of progress in the last 5 years regarding software development potential, the gaming industry is nonexistent, she explains.
“As game enthusiasts, we want to build and strengthen the community. Being aware that this will require a lot of effort, we are very optimistic that in a short time we will be able to discover talent that did not have any local opportunities until now,” Gjana tells The Recursive.
While BEEZ is the first startup of its kind in the country, its main goal is to transition into a product development agency and build RTS (real-time strategy) games for the international market.
“Our first project, although in its idea phase, is on the way, and we aim to bring the first version for the regional market within the first year,” Gjana says.
Another important goal for BEEZ is to create a community of game developers that could potentially expand and join in regional collaborations.
“We are working to bring in investors and other European game development companies so that we can build bridges of partnership,” Gjana adds.
Looking to the rest of the region for inspiration
Regional success stories such as Serbia, which is home to large game development companies such as Nordeus, 3Lateral, and Ubisoft among others, can also be an inspiration for the Albania gaming industry. For this matter, Gjana’s team has already traveled in the region and is exploring the market for potential collaboration opportunities.
“Serbia is definitely a success story, with so many international gaming companies opening up their branches in the country. Still, there is a lot of unexplored talent in the region. Kosovo and North Macedonia as well, although in its first steps, already have few gaming companies in place,” Gjana points out.
In that sense, regional cooperation would also help the Albania gaming industry by bringing local talent to the gaming community and open up new opportunities for startups and developers.
“We believe that our first concept idea for the product we are planning to implement and launch, could be a great opportunity to boost culture recognition of the entire Balkan region and bring it closer together,” Gjana concludes.