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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=se-Eq3eEOj4 (404)

 

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

Guides to the Games Industry: Interview with Christopher Dring from GamesIndustry.biz

Games business outlets: They are our guides to the business but barely guided to. Well, not anymore! In a short article series, we will be your guide to the real guides of the games industry, portraying some of the major B2B outlets that are essential readings in the industry. First up, GamesIndustry.biz and Christopher Dring, Head of Games B2B.

Queer Games Bundle 2022 - our Top 5

Pride Month 2022 is almost over and so is the sale period for Queer Games Bundle 2022 on itch.io. After a successful premiere in 2021, the Queer Games Bundle once again presents lots and lots of games by queer game makers, aiming to support queer creators and celebrate the diversity of their games. We had a look into the bundle and share a few of our favorites from it here!

Three Questions to: RetroBrain R&D - Working on the Intersection between Gaming and Eldercare

The Hamburg-based company RetroBrain R&D is exploring the fascinating cross-section of an easy-to-use game console for the elder generation that has not come into touch with video games so often yet, while also functioning as a medical device that increases their physical and mental fitness.

Games Influencers From Hamburg You Should Know In 2022 - Influencer Guide Pt. 1

Influencers can be an enormous help for developers and gaming startups. With their help, you can put your game on the map and reach an even wider audience. But first, one must get to know the local influencer landscape so let’s have a look at five of the most successful games influencers from Hamburg.

New Feature: The Company Index

We've got a new feature on our website: The company index, listing over 200 companies from Hamburg's vast games industry landscape - check it out!

Pride and diversity: Links, tips and resources

Diversity has become a central topic for the games industry and information, attention and networking are important in this context. On the occasion of Pride Month, we collect events, resources and organizations that can be interesting for LGBTQ+ game developers, employers or allies to start digging deeper into the topic.

Games Lift: Good for you?

If things go well here, we like to keep them going. That is certainly the plan with our Games Lift Incubator. After two successful runs, preparations for the third are well underway. We are still open for teams with a strong vision and ambitious goals. But there’s only a few days left.

Three Questions to: Explorlings - makers of the child-friendly game "Sheeplings"

The Hamburg-based studio Explorlings has a special mission: developing apps for a responsible and gentle introduction of children to the world of digital devices. Lately, they released their first game "Sheeplings" - we took the opportunity to ask Bernhard Mies, CEO and founder of Explorlings a few questions.

Celebrating Pride Month

Gamecity Hamburg celebrates Pride Month June with positive examples of LGBTQ+ related games, a new Gamecity Impulse talk and more.

Games Lift Incubator - The Alumni's Experiences

The Games Lift Incubator is going into the third edition in 2022 already, so we took the opportunity to ask three alumni of the past two years about their experience with the program. These are three very different projects so we were especially curious about their impressions. You can currently apply to the 2022 edition of the Games Lift Incubator until June 14. We hope these reports on the Incubator will help you with your decision to apply.   

Prototype Funding 2022: 398,000 euros for six projects from Hamburg

In the 2022 funding round of the Gamecity Hamburg Prototype Funding program the awarding committee decided to fund six prototypes for digital games by Hamburg-based devs and studios with a total of 398,000 euros. Congratulations to all recipients - we are already excited to see all projects grow and take up speed!

Games Lift Insights with Cassia Curran on May 24

Join our Games Lift Team and Cassia Curran, Founder and Strategic Advisor at Curran Games Agency, for insights into our Games Lift Incubator program and a workshop about games market analysis for indies on May 24 at 4:30 pm. The event will be held online and in English.

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