Berlin, 20 December 2016 – The BIU, the German Games Industry Association, has this week published a list of ten demands aimed at policymakers ahead of the 2017 parliamentary elections. With Germany increasingly losing in importance as a development centre for games, the association’s list outlines measures to support the German games industry with the objective of improving conditions for the sector and strengthening Germany as a game development centre of international standing.
The demands make reference to recent developments, such as job cuts at a number of German development studios and a reduction in the domestic revenue share of computer and video games developed in Germany. According to recent figures, home-grown titles accounted for just 6.5 per cent of games revenue in the country – although Germany has a large number of internationally competitive flagship developers. The BIU believes that insufficient political and economic incentives for the industry in Germany are mainly to blame for this negative trend. It has now addressed this situation with its list of ten demands and concrete suggestions for improvements. The list of demands was sent to numerous members of parliament and party strategists. It is intended to serve as a basis for the large number of forthcoming discussions with members of parliament, party strategists, their teams and ministry officials in the run-up to the 2017 parliamentary elections.
‘The underlying conditions for Germany as a games hotspot need to be improved as quickly as possible. The games industry does not have time to sit by while nothing is done during another parliamentary term.’Both as a centre of business and as a cultural nation, Germany cannot afford to take a back seat internationally as a development hotspot for games. They are a medium of the future. Other countries such as the UK and France have already surged further and further ahead of Germany in the past by offering strategic, consistent support for the games industry. The underlying conditions for Germany as a games hotspot need to be improved as quickly as possible. The games industry does not have time to sit by while nothing is done during another parliamentary term,’ says Dr Maximilian Schenk.
Dr Maximilian Schenk, Geschäftsführer BIU
Summary of the ten demands:
- Introduce systematic government incentives for games
To systematically promote games as a cultural asset and to halt Germany’s progressive loss of significance as a game development centre, the government must fulfil its role and roll out relevant incentives for the games industry. The BIU has submitted a modern model of tax incentives for games companies to this end.
- Finally implement a comprehensive reform of the protection of minors in the media environment
The legal framework for the protection of minors in Germany is out of date and does not take account of the way in which children and young people consume media today. The German Protection of Young Persons Act (JuSchG) and the Interstate Treaty on the Protection of Minors (JMStV) must be modernised, dovetailed better with one another and made internationally compatible.
- Increase funding for the German Computer Games Awards
The German Computer Games Awards are the most important awards promoting digital games from Germany. The prize money for the German Computer Games Awards must be increased. However, companies in Germany cannot be expected to contribute more than is financially viable.
- Maintain development opportunities for the digital economy
New digital business models need scope, so a fair balance of interests must be found between consumers’ rights and corporate freedom in the digital world, like elsewhere. Strengthening the empowered consumer must take precedence over new regulation.
- Recognise e-sports as sports
E-sports have become a mass phenomenon which is rapidly growing in popularity, among both professionals and amateurs. Several steps need to be taken to enable e-sports to develop optimally in Germany, including officially recognising them as sports.
- Speed up the provision of comprehensive high-speed internet coverage
Comprehensive high-speed internet coverage is of crucial importance for Germany’s future prosperity and therefore also for the future of Germany as a game development centre. Low-latency gigabit networks should be available around the country by 2020.
- Strengthen digital education
Our education system must improve the way it teaches digital skills. Both media expertise and serious games can make a major contribution to this. Greater use must be made of these in teaching.
- Ensure sufficient professionals are available long-term
The German games industry is lacking in highly specialised, experienced professionals. As there are not enough such professionals in Germany, the training situation must be simplified and it must be made easier for these professionals to move here from abroad.
- Issue clarification to avoid double VAT being charged on digital content
New, uniform VAT legislation has applied to digital goods and electronic services within the European Union since 1 January 2015. The Federal Ministry of Finance has left many associated questions unanswered to date, to the detriment of games companies in Germany. Clarification is urgently needed here.
- Strengthen international networks and modernise German trade show appearances
German business support programmes to assist with the penetration of foreign markets need to be tailored better to the specifics of the cultural and creative industries. Trade show programmes need to be modernised and communicated attractively via a single umbrella brand.
For further information about the ten demands published by the games industry ahead of the 2017 parliamentary elections in Germany, please visit: https://www.game.de/en/positions/games-industry-makes-ten-demands-ahead-of-the-2017-parliamentary-elections-in-germany/
About the BIU
The BIU, the German Games Industry Association, is the association of the German computer and video games industry. Its 26 members are developers, publishers and suppliers of digital games. Together, they represent over 85 per cent of the German market. The BIU is, for example, the organiser of gamescom. As an expert partner for media and for political and social institutions, the BIU answers all questions on the topic of digital games.
BIU – Bundesverband Interaktive Unterhaltungssoftware e. V.
10117 Berlin, Germany
Tel.: +49 (0)30 2408779-20
Fax: +49 (0)30 2408779-11