Games industry makes ten demands ahead of the 2017 parliamentary elections in Germany

With Germany increasingly losing in importance as a development centre for games, the BIU has published a list of ten demands aimed at policymakers ahead of the 2017 parliamentary elections. In the list, the association 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 list of demands contains ten points, which are summarised below:

1. 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.

2. 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The legal framework for the protection of minors in Germany is out of date and does not take account of the way in which children and young people consume media today.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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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 more details and explanations of the ten points, please refer to the PDF version of the list of demands: