More initiatives of the Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft
More initiatives of the Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft

Games Lift 2021 - New and Improved

After our first Games Lift Incubator 2020 was a success, we worked on the program for the new Games Lift teams 2021. Find out what is new and what improved in our Incubator Log #3

In its first outing last year, Games Lift Incubator was a success. That’s why it returns with all key elements intact. But there’s always something to improve, or as we in the business like to say: Evaluation breeds elevation. We may not actually say that. But here is what Gamecity’s project lead Dennis Schoubye and project manager Margarete Schneider had to say.

Dennis Schoubye and Margarete Schneider from Gamecity Hamburg

Margarete Schneider is grateful for last year. The first Games Lift Incubator was an ambitious project, and it worked well. This was not just due to good planning. One key aspect lies in the hand of others: The teams were “amazing”, she smiles. “They were helping each other, really bringing life into the Incubator.”

The five teams of last year’s incubator left a lasting impression, and they remain closely tied to Gamecity Hamburg. A good example is Ole Jürgensen’s VR project Crumbling, which successfully applied for prototype funding. “His application really demonstrated what he has learned during the Incubator”, Schneider says. Dennis Schoubye agrees: “Seeing how teams incorporate the advice of our mentors is always a highlight for me.”

The Incubator functions as a safe space in which even fundamental questions about a project’s direction have a place. That way, teams can digest and incorporate constructive feedback before they showcase their game.

New teams, new topics

The Games Lift Incubator certainly doesn’t look like a broken program in need of any fixing. But the motor of change is running already: Our new teams have arrived, each with their own challenges and goals. Compared to last year, the mix is different.

Some workshops have to change, accordingly. Not too many, though: Schneider describes the program as a framework in which many parts can stay. Deciding on the specifics is a process between the organizers and the teams. They brought important feedback when it comes to finding the right speakers. Of course it is important to bring big names into the network. But the teams also enjoyed talking to smaller indie developers, Schneider explains. “For them, it was inspiring to hear from people in similar situations about how they processed setbacks and got back up again.”

Some business-related workshops stay relevant. But in some areas, the individual needs are wildly different from team to team. To accommodate this, two additions were made during last year’s program. This year, they return from the get-go: One is the availability of “individual follow-up coaching” in the 12 months after the graduation pitch, the other is a time budget with a PR agency specialising in indie games. Schoubye puts an emphasis on keeping in contact with the teams when the workshops are done. He wants to help the teams make their next big step; and three months may not be enough time for that.

Let’s keep in touch

Networking is an important part of Games Lift

Making sure there is an ongoing informal exchange is central to Schoubyes mission: “For us, networking is just as important as for our Games Lift teams.” He is delighted about the lively discussions on Gamecity’s Discord, about the way the teams just mingle. His ultimate goal is to keep the Games Lift alumni connected to Gamecity as new mentors, feeding their knowledge back into the network.

COVID forced Gamecity to hold main parts of the incubator remotely. The virtual format does have some benefits; it is freeing up valuable time and it will remain a necessity for some of our international speakers. But everyone is looking forward to more meet-ups in person. Schneider and Schoubye want to “keep encouraging” the teams to connect with each other. And they also look forward to meeting teams and mentors themselves.

These benefits are important, but hard to calculate beforehand. Schneider tells the story of how during the first round of evaluation, teams clearly saw the financial funding as the Incubator’s most attractive part. She was happy to see other ratings catch up during its runtime. She and Schoubye strive to keep a good balance between the Incubator’s many services.

They aren’t alone in tackling the challenge. Project manager Daniel Hericks is helping to run the Incubator this time around. He is a new addition to Gamecity Hamburg’s team.

Games Lift Incubator is all about sustainable growth, not about startups making the biggest possible jump in the shortest amount of time. To make that as clear as possible, Schneider has changed the way she talks about the program’s duration: “It is three months of high intensity followed by twelve months of individual work”, she explains. And teams can expect to stay in a supportive network even after this time. Some things may always need to change – but Gamecity is in it for the long haul.


Games Lift: More Successful Than Ever

It’s high time to apply for this year’s Games Lift Incubator. The next round is already gearing up. Meanwhile, the program has proven its worth: It is developing success.

Games Lift 2024: Apply now from May 2 until June 10

Applications for Gamecity Hamburg's 2024 Games Lift are open from May 2 to June 10. Five teams will receive financial support in the form of 15,000 euros, a comprehensive workshop program and access to the Games Lift Network of international industry experts. In addition, the teams can benefit from 1,000 euros in coaching budget. After a three-month workshop phase, the teams will be further supported with individual mentoring and will travel together to an international industry event until August 2025.

Games Lift Alumni: Why you should go for the Incubator

The Games Lift Incubator is a unique program offering 15,000 euros of funding, 3 months of workshops to get your game concept market-ready and a year of mentoring. Five teams per year get the chance to bring their game concept to the next level with this suppport. But if you're still not convinced that applying would be a great idea, we think it's best to see what other indie devs have to say about their time in the program: 

Games Lift: Playtests & Pizza

The Games Lift Incubator has evolved. We have plans for an entire year. That's why we've met with teams, mentors, and alumni months after the end of the workshop schedule.

Pitch Level Up 2024: Boost your pitch with expert feedback!

The Pitch Level Up is back! Join in on February 16, 11 am - 6 pm: Get individual feedback on your pitch deck from seasoned games industry professionals with different perspectives - to optimize your pitch for publishers, media, investors or funding institutions.

Games Lift: We’ll keep in touch

Is the Games Lift Incubator 2023 already over? Not exactly. But the first phase is, and on the occasion all teams presented their projects and progress: It’s the graduation pitch on December 5 at Design Zentrum Hamburg! 

Games Lift: Team Dottobeau have an eye for emotions

The game feels particularly warm and empathetic – and its team is a reflection of those values. “Dottobeau” is a game about searching and finding one’s own place in the universe. And it demands emotional intelligence.

Games Lift: Nenad Slavujevic on calculating chaos

His game idea looks like a well-tuned formula. And he can explain it like a pro. Nenad Slavujevic impresses us in the incubator with strong credentials and a clear plan.

Games Lift: Bagpack Games keep moving

They've been around for a few years now: Bagpack Games have successfully established themselves in the Hamburg scene. Now they are bringing a real eye-catcher of an idea to the Games Lift Incubator.

Games Lift: Markus Koepke stays the course

Years of experience have led him here: Alone, on an abandoned ship in the middle of the ocean. Markus Koepke's project "Journey Beyond the Edge of the World" in the Games Lift Incubator lures us in with its melancholic vibes.

Games Lift: Pipapo Games get the joke

Pipapo Games know how to make a concerted effort. The team behind "Map Map" reports to the interview in a bright mood, helps each other out on every question and still manages to take their own plans very seriously.

Games Lift: Meet you at the top

For its 2023 edition, the Games Lift Incubator launches with a new space, new concepts, five brand-new teams - and with years of experience.

More News
Cookies are used to make this website work and to enhance your experience.

To learn more about the types of cookies this website uses, see our Cookie Policy. You can decide for yourself which categories you want to allow. Please note that based on your settings, not all functions of the website may be available.

Cookies are used to make this website work and to enhance your experience.

To learn more about the types of cookies this website uses, see our Cookie Policy. You can decide for yourself which categories you want to allow. Please note that based on your settings, not all functions of the website may be available.

Your cookie preferences have been saved.