Gamecity: Funding

To support Hamburg’s games industry and promote young talent, Gamecity Hamburg implements a funding program for the development of digital game prototypes and the Incubator “Games Lift”.

Games Lift Incubator

The Gamecity Incubator “Games Lift” is a program for students, start-ups, and developers that offers start-up financing, workshops, coaching and mentoring for the development of concepts for digital games and other games related services.

Up to five teams will be supported for three months. Aside from a financial support of up to €15,000 and provision of office space in a co-working space, they will receive a workshop program that is tailored to the needs of game developers and allows them to deepen their skills on all relevant fields of the games industry.

This application period for the Games Lift Incubator runs from June 26 to July 27 (11:59 pm) 2020.

Apply here for Games Lift

Who can apply for Games Lift?

  • Developers and developer associations
  • Student teams
  • Start-ups and young talent

What are the criteria?

  • Max. 5 members per team
  • All team members should be available to attend workshops on approx. 2 days per week from September to early December

We strongly recommend a consultation appointment before submitting the application. Please contact us at to set up an appointment and include the following information:

  • Short project outline (max. half a page of text or a slide) of the project
  • Background of the team (max. half a page of text or a slide)
  • Questions regarding the application

What do we offer?


  • Workshops and coaching from experienced professionals
  • Expense allowance of up to €15,000
  • Interdisciplinary networking
  • Provided places in a co-working space for 3 months

Professional experts and workshops:

  • How to create a business plan
  • How to found a company
  • Market potential
  • Project Management
  • ...and many more


Timeline and application process


1. Application phase: June – August 2020

Online application opens on June 26 and runs until July 27. Teams will be invited in early August to pitch their project to a jury of industry professionals who will then decide on which teams enter the Incubator.

2. Phase 1 – Foundations: Early September – Mid October

The Games Lift program will start in September 2020 with workshops, the first batch of financing and offering of co-working space (depending on the Corona situation).

3. Milestone Pitch – Mid October

Teams will present a pitch based on the progress they made on their project and new knowledge they gained during the first phase. The second batch of financing will be provided to all teams who successfully completed the first phase as well as the milestone pitch.

4. Phase 2 – Polishing: Mid October – Early December

Further workshops will deepen the knowledge gained during the first phase. Teams prepare their projects for a final pitch.

5. Final Presentation: Early December

Teams will present the results of their work in a final public pitch.

Where can I apply?

Please fill out the application form at You can find all information and the needed pre-printed forms on this page.

Apply here for Games Lift


Contact for Games Lift
Margarete Schneider
Margarete Schneider

Project Manager Gamecity Hamburg

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Prototype Funding

gamecity:Hamburg, as part of Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft, is the contact partner for prototype funding in Hamburg and manages the process.

A consultation appointment is mandatory and is recommended at least two weeks before the respective submission date in order to be able to resolve any arising questions timely and prepare potential applicants for their application in the best possible way. Appointments with the corresponding gamecity:Hamburg contacts can be arranged by email to

The application period for the first funding round in 2020 runs from March 31 - May 25 2020 (11:59 pm).

Apply here for the prototype funding

What can be funded?

The purpose of funding is to develop marketable prototypes of digital games.

For the purposes of these guidelines, digital games are interactive electronic works, i.e. software that is based on a game idea, game rules and game objectives, responds to user input, generates moving image content, serves educational or entertainment purposes, and is intended for publication, in particular, computer and video games.

A prototype is a playable version of the digital game to be developed, which gives a realistic impression of the game mechanics, the USPs, and technical implementation.

The funding for prototype development is available as a non-repayable grant on a de minimis basis:

  • The grant can cover up to 80 percent of the assessed development costs but may not exceed EUR 80,000 per individual project.
  • Within the scope of the funding, the applicant must budget for and provide evidence of his contribution of at least 20 percent of the eligible development expenses.

Who can apply for Funding?

  • Developers and developer associations (natural and legal persons)
  • small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs*)
    *An SME is defined as an enterprise which, at the time of application, has fewer than 250 employees and whose prior-year revenue did not exceed 50 million euros.

The precondition is always that the applicant is already based in Hamburg or can prove that they will relocate their residence to Hamburg or open a subsidiary or branch establishment in Hamburg upon being granted funding.

How is the awarding of funds organized?

An awarding committee comprised of representatives from the Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft/gamecity:Hamburg, the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, and other experts will decide on the selection of projects and the associated funding based on the applications submitted and personal presentations (pitches).

The applicants will be informed by gamecity:Hamburg about the date and necessary preparation for the pitch in front of the awarding committee in time. During the pitches, the contents of the application documents will be presented by the applicants and the awarding committee will have the opportunity for further questions.

What are the applied criteria?

Funding for prototypes is generally only possible if the projects are considered to be of high quality and marketable, and also meet several or all of the following criteria. The order of the criteria provides information on the weighting used to make the funding recommendation:

  • Promotion of young talent: The developer of the prototype has recently set up a company or is about to do so. Projects realized during degree programs or are the result of hobby development prove the competence of the applicant and the team in terms of the development of sophisticated digital games.
  • Feasibility: The applicant can credibly demonstrate that the prototype can be realized with the resources available.
  • Market potential: The exploitation strategy includes a market analysis on the project in question, which indicates successful marketing among the intended target group.
  • Location effect: The development of the project creates jobs and/or the procurement of development services in Hamburg.

Other criteria that can be used are the amount of funding applied for and the applicant’s own financial contribution.

Apply here for the Prototype Funding

Contact for Prototype Funding
Dennis Schoubye
Dennis Schoubye

Project Lead gamecity:Hamburg

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Projects and collaborations
of Gamecity:Hamburg

Since its foundation in 2003, the network has developed a comprehensive package of measures aimed at promoting Hamburg’s gaming industry.

Gamecity Treff & Gamecity Night
Gamecity Treff is the regular get-together for the North German games industry. As well as including a brief kick-off discussion on current issues from the industry, Gamecity Treff is all about networking and new collaboration opportunities. Yet the event also goes beyond games topics, as the declared goal is to promote business contacts across all branches of the economy. Gamecity Treff is held four times a year, and participants are asked to sign up in advance. Another event hosted by gamecity:Hamburg is Gamecity Night, an exclusive evening function that is hosted every year. The event caters for stakeholders from the local games industry as well as international guests.
Together go Gamescom
Joint stands at important fairs such as the gamescom enable smaller businesses in particular to participate in major events while keeping their expenditures low. Trade fairs provide participants with opportunities for developing and fostering international business contacts. At the leading trade fair gamescom, which is held annually in Cologne, a joint Hamburg stand provides approximately 300 square metres of exhibition space for young enterprises and established companies alike.
Hamburg Games Conference
The Hamburg Games Conference, an interdisciplinary event for the games industry, was initiated by the law firm GRAEF Rechtsanwälte. The aim is to discuss the games industry’s diverse facets, while focussing on a different topic during each conference, and to identify the potential for collaboration with other branches of the media and entertainment industry. gamecity:Hamburg has been a longtime supporter of this event.
With its gamecity:Port project, Hamburg was the first of Germany’s federal states to respond to the specific, flexible needs of this growing industry. gamecity:Port offers a total of 16 offices at reasonable rates, and contracts can be terminated with only one month's notice. This prevents small businesses, self-employed persons, indie developers and start-ups from being burdened by rental costs during a downturn. Additional offices can be found in this list.
Gamecity lab
GamecityLab is a joint project with the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW). It serves as a networking platform for regional companies involved in computerised game manufacturing in the broadest sense. For the purpose of promoting young talent as part of this collaboration, a games module of a master's programme has also been established at the Faculty of Design, Media and Information (DMI). In addition to its collaboration with HAW, the network also fosters relations with other industry-related universities such as the SAE Institute Hamburg, the Macromedia University, and the University of Applied Sciences Wedel.
As one of its key tasks, gamecity:Hamburg disseminates information through their own as well as external communication channels. In addition to newsletters and its own Facebook and Twitter profiles, targeted public relations ensure that the industry and/or individual companies and representatives will find their way into the daily media and trade publications.

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