game Baden-Württemberg is the regional office of the games industry in the German state of Baden-Württemberg.


The state hopes to become a ‘leading region for digital change’. The regional games industry supports this goal with its innovative digital content and technological advancements ‘made in Baden-Württemberg’. Games are the most progressive medium of our age, inherently digital since their inception. They are cultural assets, economic commodities and drivers of innovation in equal measure, and they should be included in the state’s digitalisation strategy as soon as possible. The technologies and mechanisms used in games development have applications that extend far beyond the cultural and entertainment sector, ranging from the automotive industry to medicine.


Baden-Württemberg numbers among the strongest economic and industrial regions in Germany; throughout Europe, it is known as an innovative powerhouse and is home to thriving digital, creative and media sectors. With renowned colleges, universities and institutes in technical and design fields as well as an established system of government subsidies, the state offers ideal conditions for the diverse ecosystem of the regional games industry.


The games industry in Baden-Württemberg has thus far been unable to fully tap this enormous potential. In comparison to other German states, the hidden champion of the digital entertainment industry has had to make do with lower games funding whilst tackling the challenges of a skilled labour shortage and brain drain among creatives.


Consequently, in partnership with regional stakeholders, we are advocating comprehensive improvements to the conditions for the games industry in Baden-Württemberg. Our four most important demands are as follows:

Expansion of games funding (click)

Games do not have their own funding programme in Baden-Württemberg; instead, they are lumped in with apps, online platforms and interactive films as part of the Digital Content Funding programme from the MFG Baden-Württemberg, with an annual budget of 600,000 euros. Previous sponsored projects include highly successful, award-winning games. Additionally, augmented and virtual reality projects have been granted a total budget of approximately 180,000 euros. Compared to the subsidies provided in states such as North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria, however, the funding in Baden-Württemberg is significantly lower. Consequently, we demand dedicated games subsidies with a higher total funding amount, as well as an increase in the maximum subsidies available for each project. These funds should be offered specifically for game development. In order to provide long-term support for small and medium-sized development studios, in particular, this funding should be offered in the form of grants with a funding rate of up to 80 per cent. At the same time, the funding processes should be reworked, particularly in terms of the possible application deadlines per year (more than two), faster decision-making and processing times, and simplified access to funds. Artistically oriented projects should also be treated as more than just exceptions in the subsidy portfolio. Further funding measures should include subsidies for capital goods, consulting services (legal, tax, monetisation), training programmes and participation in trade fairs and conferences (travel expenses, fees) in order to provide long-term support for improving the professionalism and international competitiveness of all game developers in the region. EU notification should also be an objective, in large part to ensure the industry’s eligibility for games subsidies on a federal level in future.


State government funding programmes and subsidy programmes from banks (such as L-Bank) are not specifically aimed at start-ups or established companies in the games industry and must be updated accordingly – particularly as regards bolstering equity. The Digital Creativity programme from the Investment Bank of Saxony-Anhalt could serve as a further model here.

Improving networking (click)

The ecosystem of the games industry in Baden-Württemberg is diverse and international, and networking all stakeholders in the industry must be a top priority. Under the label ‘Games BW’, the MFG Baden-Württemberg offers events and funding programmes for the games industry, as well as the shared trade fair stand for Baden-Württemberg-based games companies at gamescom and the event series Open Stage Games BW. These opportunities to exchange ideas within the industry, with other creative and digital industries and to network locally and internationally must be maintained, financially secured for the long term and expanded. Support for industry events such as the Talk & Play Karlsruhe event series would bolster the indie scene. The games industry needs an annual flagship event with national prominence to help raise visibility and awareness of the industry.


Consequently, we demand an increase in funding for ‘Games BW’ to bolster events and platforms for networking and internationalisation over the long term.

Dedicated hubs for the games industry (click)

Creativity needs more than just metaphorical space. The games industry in Baden-Württemberg needs real, physical spaces where its stakeholders can cooperate and exchange ideas. These ‘hubs’ not only provide university graduates and entrepreneurs in the industry with their first professional home, preventing them from migrating to other German states or countries – they are also highly attractive for established companies and organisations thanks to the wide range of opportunities for cooperation they offer. This gap in the market is currently being filled by private initiatives such as the co-working space Kokolores. These centralised locations pool companies and service providers, create an event space and generate attention for the games industry as a result. Examples from other states and countries such as the Cologne Game Haus are particularly impressive proof of how targeted government funding can further amplify the potential of co-working spaces. These spaces also facilitate the exchange of information and ideas with other industries that hope to benefit from the technologies and innovations in game development (artificial intelligence, mixed reality, real-time simulations). In addition to the economic effects, hubs also offer fun, digital educational opportunities for young people and adults alike. With interactive displays and technological exhibits, a hub can also become a tourist magnet.
This requires commitment and support from the state, cities and local communities for game hubs in the Ludwigsburg/Stuttgart metropolitan area and in Karlsruhe, as only state-owned real estate can ensure affordable and stable commercial rents and a central, attractive location over the long term. Additionally, financing is required for human resources teams to manage the hubs.

Funding for start-ups (click)

Baden-Württemberg hopes to become an even more attractive state for start-ups. To that end, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Housing launched the state campaign and start-up platform ‘Start-up BW’. Its objective is to maintain the state’s competitiveness and economic viability and to strengthen its national and international reputation as an entrepreneurial powerhouse. Particular emphasis must be placed on supporting start-ups in the games industry. Many grants for entrepreneurs are only aimed at graduates of state colleges and universities or are directly tied to these institutions (‘EXIST’ is a good example). However, many of the people interested in founding companies are graduates of the numerous private colleges and educational establishments in the field, experienced employees of established games companies or employees who worked in other sectors before joining the games industry. There is no support for these important, highly qualified experts. They, too, need support in the form of targeted workshops and specifically tailored start-up consulting. Baden-Württemberg could become a true magnet for start-ups in the games industry if the regional state banks would offer independent grants and programmes for games industry start-ups.


Tomas Burck
Patrick Wachowiak
(Chasing Carrots)

Games companies in Baden-Württemberg