German games fund to offer government support for up to 50% of dev costs

Non-repayable government grants will help fund a range of projects, from prototypes to €40m+ AAA games

The German government has revealed a major funding programme for the national games industry, which will allow companies to claim back as much as 50% of development costs.

The programme was confirmed by German federal minister Andreas Scheuer to coincide with the start of Gamescom 2020.

A pilot version of the fund has existed since June 2019, but developers were limited to grants of a maximum of €200,000, pending approvals by German and EU governing bodies.

With those approvals secured, the fund is now suitable for "small- and large-budget games." Companies will be able to submit applications for a "non-repayable grant" from September 28, 2020.

"The launch of the major games fund means Germany can finally become internationally competitive as a games location," said Felix Falk, managing director of the German industry trade body Game. "This is the starting signal for our comeback."

"Germany can finally become internationally competitive as a games location"

To qualify, a company must be headquartered or have registered business premises in Germany. Among several other requirements is a "cultural test" -- similar to the one used for the UK's Video Games Tax Relief.

The fund can be used for a variety of projects, including prototypes, co-productions and ports. For prototypes, the production costs must be between €30,000 and €400,000, while all other productions must have costs of at least €100,000.

The amount of funding awarded is dictated by cost: projects with costs between €100,000 and €2 million will be funded up to a maximum of 50%; projects with costs between €2 million and €8 million euros will receive between 25% and 50% funding; projects with costs above €8 million will receive a maximum of 25%.

Any project with development costs above €40 million will be assessed separately, based on "innovative impulses, cultural relevance, economic effects and available means."

"I am thankful for the confirmation that lessons have been learned from the experiences of the past few months, and that, in future, funding is to be administered as quickly and un-bureaucratically as possible and tailored to the needs of games companies," Falk added.

"If that works, we can soon look forward to many more games and game innovations coming out of Germany."

You can read more about the new German games fund here.

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