"Made in Germany" is considered an outstanding seal of quality worldwide, except for video games. This is not due to a fundamentally lousy game idea or amateur programming work, but primarily to a lack of financial resources. Making German game developers competitive on the international games market is one of the reasons for setting up a funding budget. Now it has to be clarified how the funding program will be designed in detail so that game developers can submit their applications at all.
50 million euros for German game developers
It all began with a terrible news from the German games industry: the market share of video games from German companies fell to under six percent - on the domestic market, mind you. Conversely, this means: over 94 percent of the game titles sold in Germany come from foreign developers. From a purely qualitative point of view, that's good for gamers, but it's a disaster for the image of the domestic computer and video game industry. Especially with the Gamescom one of the world's leading game fairs takes place in Germany of all places. The Association of the German Games Industry game immediately recognized that quick action is required to prevent further damage and announced that it would work to establish funding.
Now, around six months later, the federal government has approved a budget of 50 million euros for the coming year, which will benefit German game developers. That sounds like substantial financial support at first, but it has a catch: the exact details are still unclear at this point in time.
On the other hand, it seems clear that the federal government is closely following the elaborations proposed by the Association of the German Games Industry under the title "German Games Fund".
“Unfortunately, gaming and politics have been a little alienated in the past. In the meantime, however, it is clear to everyone that this branch represents a driving force for the creative industry – both economically and artistically. I was happy to ensure that the 'German Games Fund' finds its way into the 2019 federal budget and strengthens Germany as a developer location."
Federal Minister Rüdiger Kruse, rapporteur in the budget committee of the CDU / CSU parliamentary group
The statement sounds like an admission of a failure in recent years, which is now to be made good again - through the provision of funds from a specially created funding pot. There is more to this than just a hefty financial injection: the funding can also be seen as recognition of the creative achievements of the games industry. Similar funds to support cultural creation have existed for a long time.
Even if the amount of the budget has been determined, there is still no developed concept for the application process or even the distribution of the funds.
In the next step, the budget has to be approved by the German Bundestag. The award procedure will then be worked out by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI). In addition, the EU must approve the funding program. Many months will pass before the entire funding program can be used by German game developers. Nevertheless, the decision on the million dollar budget is already a clear signal.
“The inclusion of games funding in the 2019 federal budget is a historic step for Germany as a games location. For the first time ever, the development of games at federal level in Germany is being funded. Now there are only a few more steps to the finish line,” says game Managing Director Felix Falk. “Currently, the framework conditions for game development in Germany are hardly competitive internationally. The task now is to develop the concrete support program as quickly as possible and have it notified by the EU. Only when the games fund comes will we have the chance to catch up with the international hotspots of game development.”Felix Falk, Managing Director of the Association of the German Games Industry
After quite critical reactions from the political landscape regarding the cultural value of computer and video games in spring 2018, the government's take on this new line is surprising. Surprisingly positive.
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