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

Games Lift: Quick Start in Year 3

Wait – the third iteration of the Games Lift Incubator is already well underway. How is it going? Like clockwork. Bolstered by two years of experience, the program has had an intensive start. Fortunately, this time there also is a break coming up.

(Photo above: The five teams participating in the Games Lift Incubator 2022, together with the Gamecity Hamburg Team | Photo by Jan-Marius Komorek / Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft)

If it goes, it goes: Just two weeks after kick-off, the Games Lift Incubator - and the five new teams participating in this year’s program - have seen a first meet and greet, a check-in and no less than six workshops. These events are a main attraction of the program. In them, our team members get to look into a wide variety of topics and games industry knowledge. Epic Games veteran Heather Chandler has put project management on the schedule, industry expert Steffen Rühl has led the first of three pitch training sessions and Michael Schieben has again introduced Product Field, his method for business canvassing. Schieben has been with the program since its first iteration, but this time marked a premiere – for the first time, his complete workshop will be held in-person, with everyone in the same room. And we have more in-person events coming up this year.

Video conferences remain an important part of the Incubator, of course. We can save resources by letting international experts visit us via Zoom. Industry insiders like Simon Carless or Cassia Curran do not just appear on screen to give talks, they are also on hand to train and teach teams individually.

Kick-off event: The Gamecity Hamburg team shares the schedule and important info on the course of the incubator program with the five teams (Photo by Jan-Marius Komorek / Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft)

Take a breather

Working in a targeted and concentrated manner is an integral part of an incubator program. This makes it essential to look after the teams and offer support wherever necessary. Looking for ways to lighten the mood and minimize stress for the teams has been an important part of Gamecity’s mission throughout every iteration of the incubator. But this time, a new measure to reduce stress has been introduced, project manager Margarete Schneider explains: “There is a one-week break in the schedule.” The advantages are obvious. Schneider points to all the balls teams have to keep in the air. They are not just busy in the program and development of their project, they might have existing contract work to fulfill, or they might need a genuine break from work.

The timing of the break week is strategically important – in the run-up to the Milestone Pitch, the first time in the program teams are tasked with showing off their progress. Even for a well-prepared team, this situation can be stressful in and of itself.

Make a connection

And for teams that still have room for more, Gamecity Hamburg offers ample opportunities. Daniel Stehlik is part of team Godcomplex, developers of multiplayer party game Stack’em Up. He is especially happy about the networking support: “Connecting with a wide variety of people from the industry” is possible, he says. In his experience, making these connections can be hard when you are alone. At our kick-off event two weeks ago, the situation was different. Industry insiders and teams stood together chatting, enjoying snacks and cold drinks well into the evening.

The new Games Lift teams and the mentors connecting during the kick-off event in Hamburg's HafenCity (Photo by Jan-Marius Komorek / Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft)

Even award-winning creative professionals are impressed by the mood. Niko Tziopanos highlights the “high level of care and attention by everyone involved”, including the other teams. Tziopanos and his colleagues from team About Cannons + Sparrows have creatively worked in different media for over 20 years. The whole trio is “surprised by the scope and depth of the program” and is looking forward to the challenge.

The eagerness to take on challenges is mutual. Meeting new and talented people in the industry is a boon for our mentors, too. The experts holding our workshops regularly show curiosity and are thankful for the lively input they are getting back. For Gamecity Hamburg, the high rate of returning experts over multiple years is an important affirmation of their approach.

We do not want to impede the incubator’s work after this smooth and noiseless start. But we plan to introduce each team individually in the coming weeks. And we will soon get to take a peek at Gamecity’s silver bullet: the network of mentors.


Gamecity Hamburg & four Hamburg indie game studios and developers at Nordic Game 2024

Recap: Road to Nordic - Gamecity Hamburg at the Nordic Games Conference 2024

Let's look back at our Road to Nordic program: We attended the Nordic Game Conference 2024 in Malmö, with four Hamburg indie game developers and their game projects.

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.

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