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

Looking back at 2020 – achievements unlocked for the games hotspot Hamburg

2020 is a year we will all remember. Apart from the fact that the entire world has changed, our working methods had to change, too. Plans, programs, and offers had to be redesigned and rethought.

It has been a year of trials when it comes to new approaches for online events and new formats to replace physical events. Gamecity Hamburg has broken new ground in facilitating workshops, events, and new programs online and we are happy with the way our plans worked out. We look back on twelve months in which more achievements for Hamburg’s vibrant games industry have been unlocked than ever before.

Launch of new Prototype Funding 2020

The year started with the launch of the long-awaited new Hamburg Prototype Funding. 400,000 euros per year are available to developers to create marketable prototypes of digital games. The framework conditions (up to 80,000 Euros per project as a non-repayable grant) enable the funding recipients to implement their prototype as a first step to launch a successful game.

The awarding committee, consisting of experienced industry experts, decided on seven projects in June 2020, which were awarded a total of 430,000 euros in the first round of funding:

From the family-friendly and absolutely fun co-op game Wild Woods to dark sci-fi action in Lost Sector, from deep story and great graphics in the action-adventure Out of Place to creature-rich action shooter Project MORPH, from a playful twist on Solitaire with Soulitaire to mind-bending VR game Stadtkinder or challenging 2D platformer Lazor Punx, the range of selected games is wide and shows a cross-section of talents and skills from Hamburg's indie scene.

Further information about the funded games and the application process can be found here.

With this strong relaunch, we are confident to receive more applications for wonderfully diverse game ideas and prototype designs in 2021. The application phase for the next funding round will start in March 2021.

Re-launched: Hamburg Games Conference 2020

How to make money with Games? That was the overarching question around which everything was centered, in a revamp of the established Hamburg Games Conference, organized and held in collaboration with GRAEF Rechtsanwälte, Super Crowd Entertainment, and Gamecity Hamburg. For two days in February, Hamburg's Zeise cinema became the hub of Hamburg's games industry with three stages, 30 national and international speakers, and more than 400 B2B visitors. Three parallel tracks including a streaming area as well as a business area and the traditional Gamecity Treff rounded off the successful conference day. After all, the year 2020 is also about rethinking events and reinventing ourselves. So stay tuned and save the date:

The Hamburg Games Conference 2021 will go online - be live on March 16 and 17! Get your early bird tickets at www.gamesconference.com

 

Job insights: Game Starter connects career starters with professionals

Working in the games industry is a dream for many students and career starters. But the first steps can be challenging: from deciding on a career path, to focusing on skills that are really needed on the job, to a reality-check on what the day to day business actually looks like, to actually finding a job and get your application noticed, newcomers face many questions that experienced professionals can answer.

That’s why Gamecity Hamburg launched the new event series Game Starter which has already seen four installments in 2020: some of Hamburg’s finest Game Designers, Game Artists, Community Managers, and Game Programmers joined us and many aspiring game developers in Zoom events to discuss their jobs, their own paths into the industry as well as many insights and tips for those who are looking to follow them.

Find the recordings of the first Game Starter events here and make sure to tune in for the continuation in 2021.

All digital: gamescom 2020 and Indie Arena Booth Online

Hopes for a physical gamescom 2020 were already dimmed in May when the cancellation arrived for major events across Germany and the world. Gamecity Hamburg had already given indie developers the chance to get a booth in gamescom's most popular and largest shared developer booth (195 developers, 55 countries), the Indie Arena Booth in 2019, with the "Road to gamescom" program. This year there was supposed to be a dedicated Gamecity Hamburg area at the Indie Arena Booth, with selected indie studios and games from up-and-coming developers.

Watching gamescom only as a live stream in front of the TV? At first, that sounded like a makeshift solution in a difficult year for events. But Hamburg-based event company Super Crowd Entertainment, which organizes the Indie Arena Booth, created a digital innovation to bring the charm and flair of the Indie Arena to the digital world. Thus, in August 2020, the digital Indie Arena Booth Online opened, a colorful, playful digital exhibition multiplayer world where visitors wandered through the colorful cartoon-like visuals as virtual avatars and experienced the booths designed by the developers themselves. The virtual Gamecity Hamburg booth with 9 featured games was once again able to clearly illustrate the diversity of Hamburg's indie scene. 

Here you can find a summary of the Indie Arena Booth Online:

Chats with developers, video streams, live Let's Plays, and many demos to try out, all this virtually revived the magic of gamescom. As a prototype for many other digital events with an immersive character, Super Crowd has set the bar very high. We look forward to more novel ideas from this Hamburg-based company.

PLAY20: Gamecity Hamburg Online Game Jam – Exploring Borders

The new normal and the digital work-life balance had already been set in motion as the acclaimed PLAY20 Creative Gaming Festival took place in November 2020. The program consisted of live shows and live streams, as well as the digital multiplayer event space A MAZE. / SPACE, where visitors could interact with the curated games under the topic “Exploring Borders”.

Gamecity Hamburg organized its first Online Game Jam, wherein about 45 hours over one weekend, teams and developers from all over the world created 26 games. The games took different approaches to the topic “Exploring Borders”, like using actual tactical boundaries for the player or reimagining crossover boundaries between realities or morality. You can find all of the cleverly designed games on our itch.io website.

Sharing (knowledge) is caring: The Games Lift Incubator 2020.

The last quarter of 2020 brought another highlight into the Gamecity Hamburg 2020 chronicle: the new incubator Games Lift started with five promising teams from Hamburg.

Games Lift includes start-up funding of up to 15,000 euros per team, a three months long workshop and mentoring program, and provision of workstations in a co-working space.

The program is tailored to the needs of newcomer developer teams and studio founders and supports them in developing high-quality concepts for digital games, refining existing ideas, and fleshing out marketable concepts and prototypes.

30 experienced industry professionals from around the world provided the five teams with hands-on tips from marketing to business solutions. Workshops and mentoring sessions focused on project planning, community management, pitch training, press relations, and much more. The pool of experts proved to be extremely helpful for the teams and allowed them to develop their game concepts more effectively.

These selected five teams of Batch 1 made an insanely fast development in just three months:

Find more information about the 2020 teams here.

The grand finale of 2020 proved to be the Games Lift Graduation on December 8, which, in the style of 2020, was presented as a hybrid event with few participants, as a live stream from the Hamburg designxport. The five teams pitched their game concepts to the virtual audience, while the laudators connected via Zoom.

We were more than amazed at the progress of the teams, their pitching skills, and performances, as well as how they developed their game concepts. Some came in with a bold idea on paper and are now going out with actual game mechanics and new business, marketing, and development steps. We are more than happy about the outcome of the first Games Lift incubator.

You can read all about the Games Lift Graduation event in our report or watch the video:

The application period for Games Lift 2021 starts in June 2021, so be ready and apply here.

Outlook on 2021

The Games Lift Graduation marked the end of the eventful and remarkable year of 2020.

For 2021, in addition to awarding the next prototype grants and the next Games Lift incubator batch, we are hosting more Game Starter events and of course, will launch completely new formats and events to connect and support Hamburg’s vast games ecosystem. Sign up for our newsletter to find out when it all kicks off! 

Stay tuned for more, we are looking forward to shaping the year 2021 with you!

News

Our year 2021 - Full speed ahead

We’re looking back on an exciting and eventful year 2021, which once again presented many challenges to our methods, workflow and implementation of our programs and offers - but also brought along so many interesting encounters, new projects and opportunities! 

Daniel Marx from Osmotic Studios

Indie Dev Insights #3: How to build a successful small indie team

In the third episode of our Indie Dev Insights video series, Daniel Marx, CEO at the Hamburg-based Osmotics Studio, gives first-hand insights about his experience with founding a studio and working in a small indie team.

The Rise of #cozygames on TikTok

For many above the age of 20, TikTok might as well still be called musical.ly and mainly feature dance challenges for teens. But with one billion users it has since then become a very exciting platform with unique trends that are amplified by TikTok’s algorithm. Luckily, that algorithm is pretty capable and so we found the #cozygames.

Hamburg Games Conference 2022: First speakers & Trailer

The Hamburg Games Conference sets course for new markets – with international experts from academia, games industry and public funding institutions already confirmd as first speakers for the hybrid event on March 2 and 3, 2022. Also: New trailer gives a peek into the extended hybrid event concept!

Games Lift 2021: Graduated!

​​​​​​​For the people behind the project, Games Lift Graduation is a cause for celebration. After three intense months, they can pause for an evening and marvel at the accomplishments of the five incubator teams. For the actual team members, celebration comes only after the presentation. Find out all about our Games Lift Graduation event in this Games Lift Log.

New Game from Hamburg: Deep Silver FISHLABS release "CHORUS" today

Big day for Hamburg-based development studio Deep Silver FISHLABS: Their eagerly awaited dark space-shooter CHORUS released today for PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox X/S, Xbox One, Stadia, Amazon Luna, Steam, Epic, and GeForce Now!

Live today: Games Lift Graduation 2021

Five teams from Hamburg participate in our Games Lift Incubator 2021 with their promising games porjects from September to December - and now it's time to see what they have achieved and what they're up to. Join us for their final presentations on December 2 - live via stream or on-site in Hamburg!

Games Lift: ‘consider it’ get the green light

Timo Schneider and Kevin Westphal have been developing software successfully for years. Then something unexpected happened: An app of theirs was way too much fun to just be useful. With "supernightshift", they are taking the next step. Read more in our Games Lift Incubator Log.

Games Germany Steam Sale 2022 - Enter Your Game

Games Germany partner up with Steam, organizing a Steam Sale for Games made in Germany in February 2022

Job alert! We are looking for a Project Manager (m/f/d)

We are looking for a Project Manager (m/f/d) for Gamecity Hamburg (full- or part-time, for a fixed term as a parental leave replacement).

Gamecity Hamburg funds 3 games prototypes in second funding round 2021

In the second funding round in 2021, Gamecity Hamburg supports three promising games projects with a total of 159,000 euros through its Prototype Funding program. The non-repayable grant enables companies and developers based in Hamburg to develop prototypes of their games for the growing global games market. Together with the six projects selected by the awarding committee in the first funding round, Gamecity Hamburg funds nine prototypes with a total of 411,000 euros this year.

Games Lift: Symmetry Break on finding words and time

Making games is a team effort. Symmetry Break are our biggest team this year; they have thought a lot about what their game is, and how they want to make it as a group. “Prospector” seems to reflect that. Communication is a crucial part of the game. Talking, it turns out, is harder than picking the right option. Read more about them and their game project in this issue of our Games Lift Incubator Log!

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