The Federal Association of the German Games Industry asked its member companies about the effects of the Corona crisis. The current industry barometer is comparatively positive despite the corona pandemic. 95 percent of the companies surveyed state that they have mastered the crisis well or very well. The outlook for the coming year also gives hope. However, the global pandemic did not leave the industry completely unscathed.

The toy industry is booming and the situation in the gaming segment is largely positive overall, despite the coronavirus. “Lockdowns”, restrictions and restrictions have led to the fact that the time at home has been spent more at the gaming tables or with video games. Ultimately, consumption has a positive effect on the games industry. Around 95 percent of the member companies surveyed by the Federal Game Association stated that they mastered the crisis well (67 percent) or even very well (28 percent). Only five percent of the companies rate the situation as poor.

The federal association represents the interests of game developers and publishers, including games companies such as Activision Blizzard Deutschland GmbH, Crytek, Headup and Mimimi Games. The “Game” compiles the industry barometer annually and asks its more than 320 members.

Corona year: every third company had to reschedule

Even if the crisis was mastered well overall and the industry got away with it with a black eye: every third of the companies surveyed had to postpone projects or publications due to the pandemic. Every fifth company had to look for new financing options. Investments were made the wrong way, however, as the industry barometer shows: only just under one in five of the games companies had put investments on hold.

Overall, the outlook for the coming year is hopeful. Almost three quarters of the companies surveyed have a positive view of 2021 despite the Corona crisis, another 19 percent expect at least a constant development. Only ten percent of those surveyed expect negative business development.

“Almost every second company is even planning new hires,” says game managing director Felix Falk. In addition, the numerous challenges posed by the corona pandemic, such as frequent project postponements, postponement of investments or the search for additional sources of finance, would not curb the games industry's optimism for the future. “That is exactly the right attitude for our common goal of continuing to catch up with the world's best as a German games location,” said Falk.

Despite the crisis, the situation among the surveyed games companies is largely positive. Photo: Volkmann

Despite the crisis, the situation among the surveyed games companies is largely positive. Photo: Volkmann

The future looks good for employees and potential employees, despite the crisis. 49 percent of the companies surveyed are planning with the same number of employees, 45 percent of the companies are even planning new hires.

Germany as a games location relies on funding

One factor influencing the positive mood among the games companies could be the hoped-for strengthening of the location. One Study by the Hamburg Media School, commissioned by the Federal Game Association, proves the solid employment situation: Eight out of ten employees are therefore subject to social security contributions and are employed on a permanent basis. Nevertheless: Overall, the number of employees has not developed positively, summarizes the head of the study, Prof. Dr. Oliver Castendyk. Few games companies in Germany would actually benefit from the games market, which is developing positively around the world.

In the gaming segment, Germany turns out to be more of a sales country, not necessarily a production location, even if there are now several positive examples of successful game developments. "The market share of German game productions is still below five percent," said Castendyk. The head of the study sums up the potential of the games industry in Germany has not yet been exploited. "We are looking forward to the effects in the coming years, when the nationwide games funding introduced by the federal government takes effect."

Around 250 million euros will be launched for projects to “strengthen the German studio landscape and thus also increase our market share”, says Steffen Bilger, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Minister for Transport and Digital Infrastructure. The Federal Association of the German Games Industry is also sending positive signals: “The positive sales growth in the games market for years has so far had little effect on local games companies or on employee data. The large games funding that has just started, on the other hand, creates competitive framework conditions for game development in Germany for the first time, ”says game managing director Felix Falk.

"Silver gamers" dominate the target groups in Germany. Photo: Volkmann

“Silver gamers” dominate the target groups in Germany. Photo: Volkmann

The current study by the Hamburg Media School is now intended to serve as a benchmark for measuring the effects of games funding and optimizing the measures.

After all: the company landscape is bursting with young people. On average, games companies are only seven years old, and every second of them is even less than five years old. Young developers and project managers work on their ideas in small teams with little fluctuation. At the show the young companies are already internationally oriented. The high proportion of employees without German citizenship stands out positively: if this is 17 percent in other parts of the cultural and creative industries, it is 27 percent in the games industry. One of the reasons for this is that the need for highly specialized skilled workers has to be met in some cases with experts from abroad. And something else proves to be a positive factor in the industry: the creative companies are spread across Germany. Although there are companies based in the metropolises and thus smaller hotspots, the whole of Germany can be seen as a games location.

And for game itself, the fact that the average age of gamers in Germany has continued to rise should be exciting: a gaming fan is an average of 37,5 years old in 2020. So many of the young players from back then stayed true to their hobby.

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