10 AM. Three officially dressed smiling young men appeared in Unity Vilnius office to explain Lithuanian government decided gamedev was important for the country. Now Invest Lithuania, the government arm focused on making foreigners happy, was put to this task. And here we go, Rej and myself are explaining the state of the game dev industry in the country, in the world and brainsturming on what does Lithuania do to attract world’s best like Electronic Arts or Wargaming. Funny enough, it were the Invest Lithuania officials who wanted to bring in these two.
They started from changing the employment laws. In february the process of hiring a non-EU person gonna shrink in time twice, and then reduce to 2-4 weeks somewhere in late Q2 or Q3. The paperwork will be simplified for those getting at least 2000 EUR gross monthly. Finally, with the blue card (work and life permit thingie, just like the green one in the US) your family automagically get the life permit.
Next thing they did – a consolidated document on IT and gamedev in Lithuania. In fact, the country as tiny as Lithuania has about 30 studios busy making games, but only few of them are actually worth anything. So there is next to zero gamedev experience and history in the country, something, what is being worked on now.
Here is the doc with case studies and figures by Invest Lithuania. Read it, it makes sense. And don’t disturb Antanas too much.
I am still digesting this all and just thinking aloud, you know… Government guys promising personally deal with whoever Rej and I reference, inviting us to their open space office and then following up with emails till 10 PM. The other day it was the senior tax inspector who made myself happy and inspired, and folks from the department of migrations were unbelievably friendly and helpful. And this is like the norm here, that public service works for people, not against them.
These small dots assemble into a nice picture of a place you want to spend your time in.
Small country with small cities means no internal market. Whatever you do in Lithuania – make sure it is global, targeted at larger markets.
Government has been heavily focused of developing entrepreneurship since 2008, so now everyone just has their own small business – crafts, services, cafes, pizzerias and startups of various kinds and flavors. This makes it hard to get local talent do your job. This makes it hard to bring new products/services in.
There are traditions and expertise in web technologies, servers, databases, data centers, and enterprise of all kinds (reminder: here is the insight). But that is about it IT-wise. People understand apps and services, but just don’t get games yet. And I absolutely love our government decided to change that.
Now I am happy to introduce you to Invest Lithuania (their job is to help you do stuff here), answer questions about the country and explain living and doing business here. Ask away!