Dusseldorf The development of computer games from Germany should now be further funded from federal funds. The games industry will receive another 50 million euros in 2020. The post had been surprisingly lacking in the draft budget for the coming year, after the game industry had received a promotion for the first time this year. The Ministry of Transport and Finance had blamed each other for this. Now the Budgets Committee has corrected the preliminary decision on Thursday and decided to continue until 2023.
"Since an update was not taken into account in the government's draft, we have now ensured that the industry continues to receive this important support from us and thus continues to grow as a motor of the creative industry – both economically and artistically," said CDU politician Rüdiger Kruse, the chief rapporteur on transport and digital infrastructure in the Committee on Budgets.
With the money German game companies should finally benefit from the boom in the games industry. According to figures from the industry association Game, sales of gaming software in Germany grew by nine percent to around 4.4 billion euros in 2018, but the proportion of German productions fell as well as the number of employees developing and selling games in Germany.
One location disadvantage is the financing situation: "We have evaluated several hundred games since summer, German productions are on average about a third more expensive," says Oliver Redelfs private investor Game Seer. "Only through a state subsidy system from regional and federal funding German productions are internationally competitive from their development costs."
The federal government wants to contribute its share now. Proponents of the game industry also expect positive effects for other sectors. "This industry brings and binds creative people to the location Germany," said Kruse the Handelsblatt.
This "creative pool" also has appeal beyond the industry: "The 'playful' approach within the digital economy constantly provides new impulses for classic companies. Developments in the games industry are increasingly finding their way into our high-tech world, "said Kruse. For example, Berlin has already formed a kind of hub for game manufacturers and publishers.
The plan envisages € 50 million in game funding for both 2020 and subsequent years up to and including 2023, and should provide the industry with the required planning security. But it is clear that this alone will not be enough for international competitiveness. The German games industry consists mainly of small companies with low reserves. "Even small planning mistakes or missing orders could endanger the company massively," said Oliver Redelfs the Handelsblatt. "For more than six months, almost no company has the air to weather a dry spell".
Even private financing is rare
State funding is available in most federal states, but not yet nationwide. For private investors, it looks like: "Venture capitalists and family offices deliberately keep out of the market, because they can not make a valid risk analysis and the chances of success of a game can be difficult to represent," says Redelfs. Without own funds, in turn, it is hardly possible to get funding.
In the best case, it runs like Ceres Games, which stands for the production of a turn-based game series shortly before signing with Game Seer. Founder Peter Ohlmann has collected 120,000 euros of own funds for "Realms Beyond" via a Kickstarter campaign, and at the end of March received a production subsidy from the regional funding agency FFF Bayern and now a commitment to private capital. "Without this combination, the required sum for a relevant game production would not have matched the required product quality for international perception," says Redelfs.
However, Ohlmann also has a decisive advantage over other developers: He has worked on the well-known settler series of the player giant Blue Byte and has already produced a relevant production.
It is likely that the central funding of the game developers will profit from the federal funding and a few larger productions.
The enforcement of the game promotion in the parliamentary procedure wants to register now each party for itself. Politicians of the opposition of Greens and FDP as well as budget politicians of the governing parties. A request from the Greens to continue funding had failed two weeks ago in the Budget Committee. "The colleague Kahrs of the SPD and I always agreed that we want the games promotion," said Rüdiger Kruse of the CDU.
How it was possible that the funds were missing in the budget in 2020 is controversial. From the Ministry of Finance it was said that the responsible Ministry of Transport did not prioritize the promotion. Transport and Infrastructure Minister Andreas Scheuer assured the outraged audience of Gamescom in Cologne in August: "In each of my priority lists, which I have to represent in the Ministry, is the promotion of games with 50 million in the budget 2020 in the first place, but I'm not alone the budget. "
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