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