Press release 2023-10-04
The gaming industry is more than just bits and bytes.
A new Finnish game has been sold in over 70 countries.
Finnish Subsoccer bench soccer game has already been sold in 76 countries.
The game’s videos have garnered nearly a billion views on social media, with the world’s largest brands among its customers.
Jarno Saarinen, originally from Hervanta in Tampere, came up with the game in 2008 during the European Football Championships. He was on vacation with his family and wanted to closely follow the matches. During one of the matches, his children wanted him to play with them.
– I found a soccer ball somewhere, and my four-year-old daughter Emma and I started kicking it under the table. My daughter got the attention, and I could watch the game. Eventually, Emma got the ball under my chair and began celebrating wildly. She had just scored a goal!
– As we continued to play, the ball wanted to go in different directions, so we had to do some rapid product development. We rigged ropes between the chairs and hung towels on them. The ball stayed in control better, and the game became more fun.
However, the journey from invention to business was long. The Foundation for Finnish Inventions rejected it, and understanding was scarce elsewhere. The game was played within the family, but gradually, others became interested too.
– In 2018, I asked soccer goalkeeper Antti Niemi and futsal captain Panu Autio to play my game. A fiery battle ensued, with two high-level footballers competing against each other. At that moment, I realized that this is a big deal. I quit my job and decided to dedicate all my time to Subsoccer.
In a few years, a patented, mass-produced version of the game was created and had been sold in thousands of units around the world. The export share of sales is as much as 98%.
– The game became a phenomenon in an instant. World stars like Ivan Rakitić from Sevilla wanted to play it and posted about it on social media. Currently, our videos have almost a billion views.
Finnish institutions such as Finnvera and Business Finland have supported Subsoccer on its journey worldwide. The launch of a consumer-priced game is currently in development, as well as the “Pay and Play” version of the game.