Company’s success story: From PC war games to combat simulators for the military

Photo: Bohemia Interactive Simulations

The Czech company Bohemia Interactive Simulations started out producing PC war games and now supplies British or American soldiers with combat simulators, the news site ihned reported on Friday, highlighting one Czech company’s success story.

Bohemia Interactive Simulations is a company that operates globally, but has Czech roots and a Czech presence. It all started in 2001, when Bohemia Interactive Studio, founded two years earlier by the brothers Mark and Ondřej Španělov, released the war game Operation Flashpoint. It became a big hit, but it also attracted the attention of people from the military. They contacted the brothers to ask if they could produce a realistic combat simulator that could be used by the army.

The company was up for the challenge. Two retired army officers - Peter Morrison and Mark Dzulko officers from Australia and Germany - played a key role in the transition from PC games to combat simulators for the army, helping to develop a company for which the multinational investment fund Riverside paid hundreds of millions of crowns in 2013.

Today Bohemia Interactive Simulations is a company with more than 300 employees, about half of whom are based in Prague, it has branches in Australia, Britain and Japan, and supplies simulators to dozens of armies, including the Czech or American military.

The company’s annual turnover is in the range of $ 30 million to $ 60 million and its gross profit before taxes and depreciation is in the area of a quarter of a billion Czech crowns.

The company supplies soldiers with various types of products: a comprehensive VBS4 simulator, which simulates a combat situation down to the smallest detail and trainees must respond to every stimulus, and a tool called VBS Blue IG, which simulates only a limited environment, such as an aircraft cockpit or tank interior. According to Otakar Nieder who heads the team of specialists developing them, the latter would also be applicable in the commercial sphere, for example for training pilots, but the company has so many commissions from the military sphere it currently lacks the capacity to branch out. Maybe one day in the future.