Nokia played Grinch this year by barring a small, Lapland-based maker of iOS games from a Santa Claus Foundation delegation at Wanda Plaza in Beijing, China. The delegation, consisting of a number of Finnish tech companies, including Nokia, was to show off the best tech Lapland had to offer.
The smaller company, Lapland Studio Ltd, created a game called Elf Rescue in honor of the studio’s nearest neighbor, Old St. Nick. The Santa Claus Foundation invited founder Ilkka Immonen to the event where he would be able to show the game to Chinese press.
Immonen bought his ticket and booked a hotel in China. A few days before his trip, he found that his presentation had been cancelled. Why? Because his game only ran on iOS and Nokia didn’t want it to be shown.
“I was excited, because as a small company I was told that I had the possibility to be present in press event, talk about our game and also show a video,” says Immonen.
“The Santa Claus Foundation told me that everything is cancelled for me. That was after we had produced all the material, planned and booked everything. I asked these people that what is the problem and they said that I cannot show any of my material, nor talk about my game nor speak to any press, even if I came by myself just to see the presentations. They said ‘You should understand that Nokia will definitely not allow that an iOS game would have a slot.'”
Considering Lapland studio is right by the Arctic Circle, it would have been a hoot to have them on the delegation. Lest anyone think he’s joking about living next to Santa, Immonen reported that it is currently -5 degrees Celsius outside his office, which he deemed “not too cold.”
Immonen isn’t upset, just bemused that Nokia pulled his presentation. He suspects that the Foundation was paid handsomely by Nokia and a few other major sponsors and that keeping the big guys happy was a priority over supporting a small games studio. The story even got some coverage in Finland.
“This is Finland,” he said. “It is almighty Nokia for some people here, still.”