Art manager

FNE Film Meets Games: Q&A with Kristina Janković, Head of the Serbian Games Association

BELGRADE: FNE spoke with Kristina Janković, Director of the Serbian Gaming Association (SGA), about the current activities of the association, as well as the state of the Serbian game development industry.

SGA was founded in Belgrade in March 2018, like similar organizations supporting the gaming industry sector in some of the world’s most developed economies. They offer educational programs, establish new partnerships, conduct research and participate in many processes that support the quality, development, growth and internationalization of Serbian game products and companies.

Central and Eastern Europe is one of the most important locations for global game developers and studios, and artists from the region are increasingly working for film and games. FNE examines how these two sectors of the entertainment industry are converging and why this trend is important for the future development of both.

FNE: When was the Serbian Games Association founded and what have been your main missions and strategic projects so far?

Kristina Jankovic: The Serbian Gaming Association was founded in March 2018. Based on what other similar associations were doing in different countries, local gaming companies felt that the time was right to have a business organization. Since then, we have focused on networking, decentralization, education and increasing the competitiveness of our members in the global market, creating the best possible conditions for creating and publishing video games in Serbia, as well only to improve people’s talent and creativity. involved in the sector.

FNE: What is the current situation of the gambling industry in Serbia and what distinguishes it from the industry in other countries?

Kristina Jankovic: As with the rest of the global gaming industry, the past few years have seen significant growth. Currently, more than 130 companies, studios and teams are working in Serbia, not only developing games, but also offering a growing number of game-related services, including visual effects, props, art and film development. There are more than 2,300 people employed, of which 30% are women, which makes us the first country in Europe according to this statistic.

FNE: The convergence of cinema and games is a hot topic at the moment. What can you tell us about the relationship between the games industry and cinema in your experience?

Kristina Jankovic: Many of our members benefit from the use of technologies developed in the film industry, but the situation is increasingly reversed. Many of the tools and techniques developed in the game are now used in film, television, advertising, and even the real estate industry. The possibilities are wider, these tools are more flexible and in many cases more affordable. From a storytelling perspective, the line between linear and non-linear storytelling is blurrier than ever.

FNE: Are there Serbian films that are made into games or Serbian games that are made into films or TV series?

Kristina Jankovic: Not now. It’s always been a tricky business, and many projects based on that premise have failed. There has been progress, especially the recent mega hit Arcane. We can’t wait for the live action version of The last of us. We would like to see an anime series based on a Serbian game in the coming years.

FNE: Which Serbian games would you mention that have had international success?

Kristina Jankovic: There are great examples in almost every genre and platform. The most successful mobile sports game in the world is Nordeus Top Eleven, a football management game that has been around and thriving for over a decade. The indie titles I’d like everyone to try are the notoriously difficult RPGs Sub-raila nice simulator Switch to medievaland if you have less time, try extremely successful casual games WokaWoka, love story Where Slice it all!

FNE: What is the turnover and what is the expected growth percentage in the Serbian gaming industry?

Kristina Jankovic: In 2021, the turnover of the Serbian gaming industry was 125 million euros. Steady 10% year-on-year growth is set to continue. Interestingly, 60% of our teams work on original IPs, about half of them are self-published, and two-thirds of companies earn through direct selling.

FNE: How do you see the evolution of the relationship between the film and game industries?

Kristina Jankovic: There is huge potential here which I think has not been sufficiently explored. The number one problem for gaming teams in the future will be the lack of employees. This is why the exchange of knowledge between these two very similar mediums is crucial. Both could benefit from each other’s discoveries and insights, and movies and games will be even more closely linked in terms of technology and storytelling tools in the future.

Additionally, Milica Božanić from the Film Commission of Serbia pointed out the following:

Milica Božanic: Film and games represent the two most dynamic creative sectors in Serbia with significant output both in the management and production of their own intellectual property and content. With access to new technologies, there is great potential for a new generation of storytellers to be brought to light and build cinematic worlds and genres that have traditionally been beyond our reach.

New initiatives are launched such as the CGA Conference in Belgrade which brings together these two sectors. The Crater Training Center is another example of a provider working with games and tech companies like Epic Games/3Lateral to nurture new talent in the industry, as well as cross industries. Thanks to this exchange, we expect new creative sparks to arise very soon.