Computer and video games are one of the most innovative forms of cultural expression and a recognised cultural asset. Today, game technologies and mechanisms are also used in areas unconnected with the cultural and entertainment sector – from the automotive industry to education to healthcare. In contrast to countries such as Canada, the UK and France, which have established comprehensive, sustainable and successful funding systems for the games industry, Germany has up to now not been internationally competitive as a game-development location, as it lacks any equivalent structures at the national level. In the area of computer and video games, German companies’ domestic market share is less than five per cent.
The coalition agreement between Germany’s governing parties, the CDU/CSU and SPD, therefore included the introduction of a federal games industry-funding programme designed to promote the development of computer and video games in Germany in order to achieve international competitiveness.
From 28 September 2020, games companies can submit applications for funding to the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI). The funding programme is administered by the BMVI and intended to support game development in Germany in a systematic and targeted manner.
The regulatory basis of this funding is the funding guideline for the ‘Computerspieleförderung des Bundes’ (Federal computer game funding). Further important regulations can be found in the BMVI’s corresponding call for funding applications.
We have summarised the key facts for you here.
What is to be funded?
- The development of prototypes and productions.
- Co-developments as well as substantial portings and extensions.
- For prototypes, funding-eligible development costs must be between 30,000 and 400,000 euros.
- For productions, funding-eligible development costs must be at least 100,000 euros.
How does the funding work?
- Funding is provided as a non-repayable grant.
- Funding by the federal government is provided as a share staggered from a minimum of 25 to a maximum of 50 per cent.
- For prototypes, the maximum share of funding is 50 per cent.
- For productions, development costs of between 100,000 and 2 million euros are funded at a maximum of 50 per cent.
- Development costs of between 2 million and 8 million euros are funded on a degressive scale, from 50 to 25 per cent.
- Development costs of over 8 million euros are funded at a maximum of 25 per cent.
- Projects with development costs of more than 40 million euros are separately assessed with regard to their innovative impulses, cultural relevance, economic effects and available means. This does not affect the funding amount below the threshold.
- In principle, funding may be provided in addition to other subsidies.
Who is to be funded?
- Games companies with headquarters or business premises in Germany.
- Legal entities, legal structures such as GmbHs and UGs.
- To receive funding, projects must pass the so-called cultural test.
- To qualify for funding, the security of the project’s overall financing must be proven. Beyond the federal funding, this includes funds provided by the applicant (their own capital, funding from publishers and, in principle, crowdfunding) as well as third parties (funds from other funding bodies).
- The project must help to achieve the aims of the funding measure: more games from Germany, more jobs in the games industry, an increase in sales with and in the share of German-produced games on the domestic market.
- Proof of the necessity of the funding must additionally be presented, e.g.: only by means of the funding can the game reach new market segments and target groups.
- The most important set of regulations for the ‘Computerspieleförderung des Bundes’ (Federal computer game funding) is the funding guideline and the call for funding applications .
The BMVI has commissioned the DLR to execute the funding measure. The source for all further information on the funding programme is the BMVI.
Important note: The funding guideline has been translated to English by “game – The German Games Industry Association” from the original German language version independently. No outside source has commissioned them nor is this version to be regarded as an official German federal government publication.