German game developers have caught up internationally in recent years and have produced some impressive titles. Games such as Elex and Risen from the Essen studio Piranha Bytes or Shadow Tactics from the Munich developer Mimimi Productions have become international hits and have won many fans all over Europe.
However, producing high-quality games is becoming more and more complex. The costs for the equipment and personnel are meanwhile immensely high. In order to avoid competitive disadvantages on an international scale, the game developers are now calling for the state to contribute to the high production costs with subsidies. Only in this way can an international level be reached or maintained. For private investors, on the other hand, game productions are still a rather inscrutable area, which is why they hold back for fear of flops. It also plays a role that private investors in the past have already got themselves a bloody nose or two from film funds.
State subsidies, which developer studios say could be organised similarly to state film funds, would make it possible to create more planning security for the industry and permanent jobs. Another demand is that the subsidies do not have to be repaid. However, this is likely to be a rather difficult undertaking.
The state also benefits
The game developers argue in their call for state support that the state can also benefit considerably. In addition to new jobs, not inconsiderable long-term tax revenues can also be generated. In France, it has been shown that for every euro spent on subsidies, around eight euros have been invested. In the German gaming industry, it is assumed that additional tax revenue of around 90 million euros will be generated. According to the calculations, the investments could amount to up to 400 million euros.
You won’t even come across adventure or build-up strategy games like The Settlers or the Anno series. On the contrary, the games can even be awarded educational content. However, it becomes more problematic with first-person shooters, which meanwhile also belong to e-Sports and provide for a considerable turnover in the industry and thus also for jobs. Here the moral concepts of the politicians are still miles apart. This should be an exciting discussion.
In any case, the games developers want to try to explain to those responsible in Berlin and in the state parliaments that their productions are extremely expensive investments that cannot be made from private money alone. They also point out that other European countries already have state subsidies for computer and video games, which puts them at a considerable disadvantage in international competition. One or two promising projects have already had to be put back in the drawer because of a chronic lack of money.
Not all games eligible for funding
Not only first-person shooters à la Counter Strike are causing discussions about which games are actually eligible. There is agreement, for example, that the production of real money games or games of chance cannot and should not be promoted. This also includes the betting industry. Developers of popular casino games such as Gonzo’s Quest or Planet of the Apes must continue to finance themselves from private funds. Poker and blackjack strategy trainer as well as games such as roulette in live casinos are also generally not eligible.
However, the gaming industry will be able to cope with this. After all, there have been double-digit growth rates here for years and people are now paying billions into online casinos to indulge in gambling. Who participates in the gambling, should look for itself however a respectable offerer. It is especially important that the provider has a license from an EU country in order to be able to play legally.