German games funding
The Federal German Games Funding Programme provides an annual funding budget of 50 million euros over future years. The Programme was established in 2019 following the government’s coalition agreement and a decision ratified by the German parliament in late 2018. It was designed to promote the development of computer and video games in Germany in order to achieve international competitiveness.
For many years, the German games industry has been advocating the introduction of games funding at a national level to create a level playing field and equal framework conditions for the domestic video games industry. The funding is intended to reduce Germany’s significant competitive disadvantages in game development. Germany’s position has contrasted with other countries, such as Canada, the UK and France, which have established comprehensive, sustainable and successful funding systems for the games industry. Until now, Germany has not been internationally competitive as a game development location as it lacks any equivalent structures on a national level. In terms of computer and video games, German companies only have a domestic market share of less than 5 per cent.
The federal funding programme for games is a clear signal for Germany as a games location and provides important planning security for game developers.
The funding programme is administered by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI). The BMVI has commissioned the DLR Projektträger to execute the funding measure.
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.
Important note: The funding guideline has been translated into 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. The official source for all further information on the funding programme is the BMVI. (Official information is only available in German.)
What is to be funded?
- The development of prototypes and productions.
- Co-developments as well as substantial portings and extensions.
- For prototypes, development costs eligible for funding must be between 30,000 and 400,000 euros.
- For productions, development costs eligible for funding 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 regarding their degree of innovation, 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 sets of regulations for the ‘Computerspieleförderung des Bundes’ (Federal computer game funding) are the funding guideline and the call for funding applications.