1. Funding requirements
- 1.1 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 (Games). Not eligible for funding are digital games that violate the constitution or applicable law and contain content that glorifies violence, incites hatred, pornography or racism.
- 1.2 Who can be funded? ↓
Developers and developer communities (natural and legal persons) as well as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are already resident in Hamburg or can prove that they will relocate their headquarters to Hamburg or open a branch or business premises in Hamburg upon receipt of funding are eligible to apply. The prerequisite for payment of the first instalment is the actual existence of a business premises in Hamburg. For the purposes of these guidelines, an SME is defined as an enterprise which, at the time of application, employs fewer than 250 persons and whose turnover in the preceding year did not exceed EUR 50 million.
- 1.3 Can only prototypes be funded? ↓
Yes, only the development of marketable prototypes of digital games is eligible. It is not possible to submit the production of digital games or other digital projects under the prototype funding scheme.
- 1.4 What exactly is a prototype? ↓
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 the technical realization.
- 1.5 Do I have to have founded a company already at the time of application? ↓
No, in addition to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), developers and developer associations (natural and legal persons) are eligible to apply.
- 1.6 Can I apply for prototype funding with two projects simultaneously? ↓
In general, each project must be applied for individually. If two projects are submitted that are to be developed in the same period of time, the applicant must provide credible personnel and time planning and contribute the respective personal contribution per project of at least 20 percent of the development costs. Details should be clarified in a consultation appointment with the applicant.
2. Application & Awarding process
- 2.1 What should I prepare for the consultation appointment? ↓
A consultation appointment with Gamecity Hamburg is mandatory before application. Before making an appointment, it is essential that the applicant has carefully read the guidelines for funding prototypes, the FAQ and the application form. The following information from the applicant is also required when making an appointment by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org:
- Short project outline (max. half a page of text or a slide) of the project
- Aimed funding amount for the project / planned proof of personal contribution
- Already concrete questions regarding the application / funding of the project
- 2.2 Why is there an awarding committee? ↓
The funds available for Prototype Funding should be used in the best possible way to contribute to increasing the quality, market opportunities and variety of digital games developed in Hamburg. In addition, the funding is intended to support new founders, start-ups and companies and create new jobs on site. In order to achieve these goals, the experts on the awarding committee will have to make an assessment and decide on all complete and timely submitted applications. This is also necessary if more applications are submitted in a funding round than can be covered by the available budget.
- 2.3 How is the applicant's project pitched before the awarding committee? ↓
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.
- 2.4 When does the next funding round start? ↓
The application for the next funding round will start in March 2021.
In principle, two rounds of funding per year are planned - one from March and one in autumn. At the same time, the number and quality of the applications submitted in the first funding round of each year will determine whether there will be sufficient budget available in the autumn to allow for another funding round. If this is not the case, the next funding round will take place regularly in March of the following year.
- 2.5 What happens if my company has to close down within three years of receiving Funding? ↓
The closure of a funded company is not linked to the repayment of the Funding.
3. Funding amount
- 3.1 How much Funding can I receive per project? ↓
The grant per project amounts to up to 80 percent of the estimated development costs, but no more than 80,000 euros. As a de minimis funding, the total amount of prototype funding may not exceed a total of 200,000 euros over a period of three years.
- 3.2 Do I have to make a personal financial contribution and what is the amount? ↓
Yes, an own financial contribution of at least 20 percent of the eligible development costs must be budgeted for and evidence of this must be provided. The following possibilities exist, among others, to prove the personal contribution:
- a current bank statement of the applicant/applicant company which shows provides information on own resources.
- natural persons need a certified surety, legal persons need a letter of comfort.
- an unconditional loan.
- in the form of provisions but on a limited scale.
- payments in advance out of publisher deals or other contractually guaranteed revenues.
- 3.3 Does the Funding have to be repaid? ↓
No, the Funding for the development of a prototype is granted as a non-repayable grant on a de minimis basis. Only under certain specific circumstances must the grant be repaid.
Recipients of prototype funding must repay the entire funding if they move their headquarters to another location within three years of payment of the last instalment. This also applies if the recipient is taken over by a third party, and thus involves the relocation of jobs.
- 3.4 What should be considered in connection with a de minimis Funding? ↓
A Funding recipient may receive a total amount of up to EUR 200,000 without notification within three years from the date of the first de minimis aid.
Furthermore, the grant recipient is required to disclose all de minimis aid received during the three-year period in relation to the maximum allowable de minimis aid. The recipient is also be obliged to declare any aid granted under this policy when applying for other aid.
If the aid exceeds the permitted thresholds or the highest possible funding rate, the aid is inadmissible and results in the aid not being able to be granted or, if it has been granted, must be recovered in full.
- 3.5 Can I apply for several subsidies simultaneously? ↓
If de minimis subsidies are involved, yes, but these may not exceed a total volume of 200,000 euros in three years from the first subsidy. Other public subsidies which are not subject to the de minimis regulation can be applied for independently of this. Gamecity Hamburg must be consulted for a planned accumulation of subsidies for a project supported by Gamecity Hamburg.
4. Questions arising on filling out the application
- 4.1 What if I/our company has not worked on any games project so far and therefore cannot provide any references? ↓
Decisive for a funding recommendation by the awarding committee is the submitted application and the plausible presentation of the feasibility of the project by the applicant. If this is convincing, an application for funding without games references can also be successful.
- 4.2 What is to be understood by a cost and financing plan? ↓
The cost plan must show all production costs (all costs for developing the project. The cost plan also includes the services provided by the applicant and in-house work. The cost plan provides an overview of how the project applied for is financed. In addition to the amount of funding applied for, it also includes loans from third parties, own funds, provisions of supplies, provisions of services or funding applied for from other institutions. From the financing plan, the total production costs must be covered.
- 4.3 What is an exploitation strategy? ↓
An exploitation strategy provides information about the business model for a project, which target group is intended to be addressed and contains a market and competition analysis.
- 4.4 Why do I have to submit the exploitation strategy when I apply for Prototype Funding? ↓
Since Prototype Funding is intended to support projects with market potential, applicants should start early on to deal with the commercial exploitation of their planned game and evaluate their market segment and the successful competitive products in it.