More initiatives of the Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft
More initiatives of the Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft

Games Lift 2021 - New and Improved

After our first Games Lift Incubator 2020 was a success, we worked on the program for the new Games Lift teams 2021. Find out what is new and what improved in our Incubator Log #3

In its first outing last year, Games Lift Incubator was a success. That’s why it returns with all key elements intact. But there’s always something to improve, or as we in the business like to say: Evaluation breeds elevation. We may not actually say that. But here is what Gamecity’s project lead Dennis Schoubye and project manager Margarete Schneider had to say.

Dennis Schoubye and Margarete Schneider from Gamecity Hamburg

Margarete Schneider is grateful for last year. The first Games Lift Incubator was an ambitious project, and it worked well. This was not just due to good planning. One key aspect lies in the hand of others: The teams were “amazing”, she smiles. “They were helping each other, really bringing life into the Incubator.”

The five teams of last year’s incubator left a lasting impression, and they remain closely tied to Gamecity Hamburg. A good example is Ole Jürgensen’s VR project Crumbling, which successfully applied for prototype funding. “His application really demonstrated what he has learned during the Incubator”, Schneider says. Dennis Schoubye agrees: “Seeing how teams incorporate the advice of our mentors is always a highlight for me.”

The Incubator functions as a safe space in which even fundamental questions about a project’s direction have a place. That way, teams can digest and incorporate constructive feedback before they showcase their game.

New teams, new topics

The Games Lift Incubator certainly doesn’t look like a broken program in need of any fixing. But the motor of change is running already: Our new teams have arrived, each with their own challenges and goals. Compared to last year, the mix is different.

Some workshops have to change, accordingly. Not too many, though: Schneider describes the program as a framework in which many parts can stay. Deciding on the specifics is a process between the organizers and the teams. They brought important feedback when it comes to finding the right speakers. Of course it is important to bring big names into the network. But the teams also enjoyed talking to smaller indie developers, Schneider explains. “For them, it was inspiring to hear from people in similar situations about how they processed setbacks and got back up again.”

Some business-related workshops stay relevant. But in some areas, the individual needs are wildly different from team to team. To accommodate this, two additions were made during last year’s program. This year, they return from the get-go: One is the availability of “individual follow-up coaching” in the 12 months after the graduation pitch, the other is a time budget with a PR agency specialising in indie games. Schoubye puts an emphasis on keeping in contact with the teams when the workshops are done. He wants to help the teams make their next big step; and three months may not be enough time for that.

Let’s keep in touch

Networking is an important part of Games Lift

Making sure there is an ongoing informal exchange is central to Schoubyes mission: “For us, networking is just as important as for our Games Lift teams.” He is delighted about the lively discussions on Gamecity’s Discord, about the way the teams just mingle. His ultimate goal is to keep the Games Lift alumni connected to Gamecity as new mentors, feeding their knowledge back into the network.

COVID forced Gamecity to hold main parts of the incubator remotely. The virtual format does have some benefits; it is freeing up valuable time and it will remain a necessity for some of our international speakers. But everyone is looking forward to more meet-ups in person. Schneider and Schoubye want to “keep encouraging” the teams to connect with each other. And they also look forward to meeting teams and mentors themselves.

These benefits are important, but hard to calculate beforehand. Schneider tells the story of how during the first round of evaluation, teams clearly saw the financial funding as the Incubator’s most attractive part. She was happy to see other ratings catch up during its runtime. She and Schoubye strive to keep a good balance between the Incubator’s many services.

They aren’t alone in tackling the challenge. Project manager Daniel Hericks is helping to run the Incubator this time around. He is a new addition to Gamecity Hamburg’s team.

Games Lift Incubator is all about sustainable growth, not about startups making the biggest possible jump in the shortest amount of time. To make that as clear as possible, Schneider has changed the way she talks about the program’s duration: “It is three months of high intensity followed by twelve months of individual work”, she explains. And teams can expect to stay in a supportive network even after this time. Some things may always need to change – but Gamecity is in it for the long haul.


Games Lift 2022: These are the five teams

​​​​​​​Five teams have convinced the Games Lift awarding committee of the promising potential of their games projects with their pitch. They will start on September 12 with a three-month workshop and mentoring program with international industry experts, 15,000 euros in financial support and places in a Hamburg co-working space. Congratulation to all teams, and we are very much looking forward to seeing your projects evolve!

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.

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.   

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.

Apply now for Games Lift 2022

From May 9 to June 14, you can apply for our Games Lift Incubator 2022! Take the chance to bring your game ideas and concepts for digital games to the next level!

Crumbling releases first VR-demo

“It’s action time! Woosh! Bam! Pow!” – this is how the official trailer adequately announces the freshly released demo of the third-person action-roguelike “Crumbling” by Games Lift Alumnus Ole Jürgensen and his team.

Our year 2021 - Full speed ahead

We’re looking back on an exciting and eventful year 2021, which once again presented many challenges to our methods, workflow and implementation of our programs and offers - but also brought along so many interesting encounters, new projects and opportunities! 

Games Lift 2021: Graduated!

​​​​​​​For the people behind the project, Games Lift Graduation is a cause for celebration. After three intense months, they can pause for an evening and marvel at the accomplishments of the five incubator teams. For the actual team members, celebration comes only after the presentation. Find out all about our Games Lift Graduation event in this Games Lift Log.

Live today: Games Lift Graduation 2021

Five teams from Hamburg participate in our Games Lift Incubator 2021 with their promising games porjects from September to December - and now it's time to see what they have achieved and what they're up to. Join us for their final presentations on December 2 - live via stream or on-site in Hamburg!

Games Lift: ‘consider it’ get the green light

Timo Schneider and Kevin Westphal have been developing software successfully for years. Then something unexpected happened: An app of theirs was way too much fun to just be useful. With "supernightshift", they are taking the next step. Read more in our Games Lift Incubator Log.

Games Lift: Symmetry Break on finding words and time

Making games is a team effort. Symmetry Break are our biggest team this year; they have thought a lot about what their game is, and how they want to make it as a group. “Prospector” seems to reflect that. Communication is a crucial part of the game. Talking, it turns out, is harder than picking the right option. Read more about them and their game project in this issue of our Games Lift Incubator Log!

Games Lift: Denise Koch and her wicked plans

Her project casts a big shadow. But the artist is taking part in the Games Lift Incubator 2021 on her own. Denise Koch is here to kick-start her project "Monstersongs VR" – an interactive musical for virtual reality. More about her and her project in this issue of our Games Lift Log.

More News
Cookies are used to make this website work and to enhance your experience.

To learn more about the types of cookies this website uses, see our Cookie Policy. You can decide for yourself which categories you want to allow. Please note that based on your settings, not all functions of the website may be available.

Cookies are used to make this website work and to enhance your experience.

To learn more about the types of cookies this website uses, see our Cookie Policy. You can decide for yourself which categories you want to allow. Please note that based on your settings, not all functions of the website may be available.

Your cookie preferences have been saved.