Pärnu is one hell of a place on the planet to be right now

Pärnu is home for many people who have moved here from abroad. Their stories, why they chose Pärnu as their next home, are different and very interesting. These stories give a good opportunity to look at Pärnu from a different angle.

Why did you move to Pärnu?

I was involved with launching Pärnu Games Incubator last summer, when Marten Palu asked me to come and build the game development industry for both Pärnu and Estonia and I said yes.

How easy was it to settle in here?

Pretty easy, I would say. Our People Operation Manager is supposed to arrange apartments for new employees, but I succeeded by myself with my own contacts. Outside of the work environment I have met people via the Pärnu International House and Pärnu Expats network. Also, I found people with similar interests to mine through Facebook.

What type of work do you do here?

I worked to produce a game for a client from the US, but I was moved to Gamedev Estonia to develop and build the Estonian game development industry and scene.

How is the situation in the game development sector in Estonia overall?

Nostalgic and familiar, I’d say. Estonia is now where Finland was 10 years ago. First degree programs at universities are launched and we still need to convince the politicians that the game industry is a real industry and has great possibility to create jobs and boost the national economy with tax money. Public funding instruments for starting game companies wouldn’t hurt either. It all happened the very same way in Finland. Fortunately now, the difference is that Estonia already has great examples of successful unicorn startups and successful game industry stories in neighbor country Finland, so the big leap forward can happen really fast, likely in 5 years.

How many international game developers work here in Pärnu?

13 for Gamecan, 1 for Placeholder Gameworks which ha sits HQ in Tartu. These are the international ones I know. One guy is hatching a motion capture lab for movies and games which is worth mentioning, but he is Estonian.

How big potential do you see in Pärnu?

With the beach and game development? Let’s just say that I could be now in Silicon Valley, but I choose to be here. Gamecan is already building game development academy in Pärnu and with Pärnu Game Incubator program and Gamedev Estonia company founding activities there will be a lot new companies and game industry jobs in Pärnu. Eventually, bigger studios want to have their satellite offices in places with a good vibe and innovative environment for developers. If Marten Palu’s vision of building a city district for 5000 international developers will come true, and with the track record of nailing projects the guy has, it’s probable that it will, it gives a glimpse of Pärnu’s potential. Coupled with Rail Baltica and Finest Bay area projects, Pärnu is one hell of a place on the planet to be right now.

What are your favourite places in Pärnu?

I do not know many places yet because of the pandemic. I like the beach, Black and Brownie, Forwardspace and my home. I’m waiting for Loomelinnak to get the Tempel back. I have never been there, but similar places in Finland and I’m waiting for it a lot.

Joonas Pylvinen

Game industry developer

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