Poland is one of the oldest recorded sovereign countries in Europe (it's roots dating back to IX-X century AD) and 9th largest country in Europe with 312,679 square kilometers of territory. It has a population of over 38 million people and is one of the most populous members of the EU. It also has one of the biggest immigration communities in many countries, including large polish minority in US (about 10 million Polish Americans), UK (more than 1 million, counting the old, WWII era and the newest immigration), South America (with largest community in Argentina) and such abstract places for Poles to be like Haiti (due to Polish troops serving in Freech Army under Napoleon Bonaparte).
History and Military
Poland is member of all major international organizations like the European Union, NATO, UN, WTO. In the WWII Poland lost over six million of its citizens. Half of them were Polish Jews. Poland made the fifth-largest troop contribution to the Allied war effort, after the Soviets, British, Americans and Balkan Nations (Serbs, Croats and others). Polish scientists and soldiers also contributed many technologies (like mine detector) and were the main decipherers of German encryption machine - ENIGMA.
As one of the main allied forces taking part in war effort, Polish soldiers are mentioned and play a big part in many World War II games ( Company of Heroes, Codename: Panzers, General series, Close Combat, Combat Mission, Hearts of Iron and dozen others) or are playable characters ( Call of Duty 3).
As the Polish history, especially in military conflicts, is very rich, many strategy oriented games also include Polish forces. Total War games (especially Medieval I, Medieval II and Empire) and Europa Universalis series give a lot of attention to Polish side of conflict.
Polish elite special forces, GROM, are prominently featured in Medal of Honor: Warfighter.
It's interesting that Poland shares frontiers with seven countries: Russia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Germany. Being between Russia and Germany, and in constant danger of war not only with it's neighbors, but with the invaders coming even from the middle and far east for centuries, might explain the "warrior attitude" of Polish soldiers in any given historical period and their depictions in strategy games.
Polish gaming community is one of the most dedicated in the world and one with the longest tradition of "mastering" a lot of titles. Years ago, before the Internet was widespread, biggest Polish developers and game magazines organized huge LAN parties for fast growing numbers of fans of such titles as Quake and Counter Strike.
Nowadays, Polish professional gamers have earned many rewards in the largest gaming tournaments. Poland's game of choice is Counter Strike, and Polish teams have won the highest prizes in many CS tournaments, including the largest game olympics - World Cyber Games and Intel Extreme Masters. Another titles which gave Poland a lot of recognition among professional gaming community are Warcraft III (and it's highly popular mod - DoTA), League of Legends, Starcraft, Enemy Territory, FIFA and Quake III.
Polish game developers and publishers
- CD Projekt - The best know Polish publisher and developer, with offices all over Europe. In Poland it's best known for it's humongous translations of english games - in the '90s it made very well received translation works of such hits like Baldur's Gate and Planescape: Torment (still regarded as one of the best translations not only in Poland, but in the world). For western gamers, CD Projekt is known thanks to The Witcher franchise, developed by it's programming branch - CD Projekt RED, which is also responsible for Cyberpunk 2077. The company is also responsible for acclaimed Good Old Games website (direct link to gog.com).
- People Can Fly - among western gamers the developer is recognizable for its smash hit - Painkiller. Due to it's developers' talent in programming, PCF was bought by Epic Games and under it's wings released another worldwide bestseller title: Bulletstorm. The studio was also responsible for PC port of Gears of War and the spinoff - Gears of War: Judgment.
- Techland - One of the oldest and well remembered Polish companies involved in game development and publishing. Western gamers might remember Xpand Rally, Chrome, and probably Techland's most recognizable franchises - Dying Light, Dead Island and Call of Juarez.
- Cenega Poland - Another huge game publisher, specialising in eastern developers like 1C, and has it's branches in many eastern european countries. It also has a lot of agreements with western comapnies, like 2K.
- LEM (Licomp Empik Multimedia) - Third largest publisher in Poland. A gaming office of EMPiK stores, which is an equivalent of american Border's - huge bookstore with comic books, CDs and games thrown into the mix. Thanks to EMPiK's popularity in Poland, LEM gained many licenses from western developers and has an exclusive deal with such companies as Activision - Blizzard.
- City Interactive - At the beginning it was infamous in Poland thanks to low budget, low quality games, but has since repaired it's reputation and opened it's branches in many countries, including developing and publishing offices in US, UK, Germany and many others. In 2008 and 2009 it was one of the fastest growing game companies in the world - low budget games (in Poland sold for less than 5$) helped to raise funds for more serious projects, like Sniper: Ghost Warrior.
Of course there are many others, smaller game companies and branches of large western developers, like Ubisoft, EA or Sony.
Polish Microsoft Live situation
Polish gaming community, despite having it's own branch of Microsoft, Xbox 360 and Games for Windows titles sold legally everywhere, was furious because of lack of properly working Live service. It caused a lot of commotion in the community and a huge wave of pirated games and consoles as a form of "protest" against Microsoft's strange publishing methods. The situation has luckily changed after a lot of fuss and, since November 2010, Poland has it's legal, dedicated Live service. To apologize Polish players Microsoft Poland made special offer for them. Every account that would change country to Poland is rewarded with 800MSP or 1600MSP depending if there was any Marketplace item purchased on it before.