‘Moin!’ Hello! game Hamburg is the regional office of the games industry in Hamburg. The cultural, economic and societal potential of computer and video games is extremely important for our region in particular, and it is increasingly being tapped by other industries such as education, manufacturing or medicine. That’s why, alongside the regional stakeholders in the games industry and in close cooperation with partners such as gamecity:Hamburg and Indie-Treff Hamburg, we are committed to improving conditions for the games industry in our area. The many companies and institutions that are part of our regional games industry lend us incredible diversity, ranging from game developers and publishers to service providers, educational establishments and public institutions.
game Hamburg is committed to comprehensively improving conditions for the games industry in Hamburg. Our four most important demands are as follows:
- With the introduction of prototype funding, Hamburg was once a pioneer in games funding in Germany. Since the programme ended in 2010, however, Hamburg has no longer provided dedicated funding for games projects. That makes Hamburg one of the few federal states that does not offer games funding – a serious disadvantage for the future of the regional games industry. Luckily, Hamburg has also traditionally been one of the strongest locations for games in Germany. The region has extensive untapped potential, however, and the current conditions are putting a damper on a positive trend. That’s why we are demanding the (re-)introduction of substantial project funding for games in the areas of prototyping and production, along the lines of the EU-notified funding in Bavaria and – in future – in North Rhine-Westphalia. Locations that grant subsidies for the games industry have celebrated compelling successes in a variety of areas, cultural as well as economic. This is evident in the number of award-winning games produced in these regions, as well as the additional investments and leveraging effects triggered by funding. In providing games funding, Hamburg must place particular emphasis on start-ups, attracting established companies, capital endowment and supporting the sustainable growth of small and medium-sized companies, as well as preventing a trend of skilled professionals migrating away from Hamburg to other federal states. And because games are recognised as cultural assets as well as economic commodities, this funding must also support cultural and artistic games projects. In order to make all of this a reality, we in the games industry in Hamburg need a partner and point of contact in the Hamburg Senate whose dedicated role it will be to work with the games industry, to understand its potential and to oversee the introduction of games funding whilst providing expert support.
- The ecosystem of the Hamburg games industry is extremely diverse and consists of large and small companies alongside educational establishments and initiatives. The demand for a strong network within the games industry and an exchange of ideas with other economic sectors is extremely important to allow stakeholders to benefit from one another at all levels. The network of the initiative gamecity:Hamburg has sadly grown weaker over the years, and consequently, it will need to be bolstered significantly in order to drive networking, support for events and participation in studies on the games market in Hamburg in a decisive way. We therefore demand an increase in funding for gamecity:Hamburg to support this central point of contact for the games industry in Hamburg and to finance events and at least one full-time position.
- Game development already has a nearly thirty-year tradition in Hamburg. Some of Germany’s biggest employers in the games industry are headquartered here (InnoGames, gamigo, Goodgame Studios, Bigpoint). Hamburg is home to companies from the entire game development value chain, and despite the many challenges presented by the global market, it has remained consistently successful as a location for this industry. Events such as the PLAY – Creative Gaming Festival, the Hamburg Games Conference and Indie-Treff, which were launched independently, underscore the games industry’s creativity and diversity – and even beyond these factors, they contribute to making life in Hamburg richer and more exciting. Highlighting these strengths in the context of a modern, professional location marketing campaign will be vital to the city’s future viability as a games industry investment location. A world-class flagship event with international prominence – either a new event or an expansion of an existing one – and a push for greater diversity in the games industry would underscore Hamburg’s attractiveness and draw in skilled professionals and investors from neighbouring countries (Scandinavia, Baltic countries, England). We therefore demand an increase in funding for location marketing.
- Creativity needs space. But for start-ups and growing companies in the games industry, in particular, the search for office space in Hamburg is one of the greatest challenges. The city should therefore provide support in the form of subsidised office space for young companies. Hamburg was once a pioneer in this area, as well – the public funds that supported the gamecity:Port, an incubator for game developers founded back in 2008, were gradually eliminated by the city. This gap is currently being filled by a private initiative, ‘Games Kontor’, an office partnership between eight developer studios. However, examples from other federal states – such as the Cologne Game Haus, which was founded in 2018 and counts 15 companies among its members – are impressive proof of how public funding can maximise the potential of co-working spaces. They can offer affordable rents, the necessary flexibility, attractive city-centre locations and space for holding events and exchanging ideas. Conditions such as these would help attract the skilled professionals that Hamburg desperately needs. All of this will require the commitment and support of Hamburg’s business development organisations.