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: tool1 build on their community

Meet tool1: Three guys with big plans and a clear strategy. Their project “The Invitation” already found some success. But it’s still early days; tool1 are planning big things for their audience next year. More in this issue of our Games Lift Log.

Games Lift: What we do in our workshops

Good things are happening in our Games Lift Incubator workshops right now. A lot of them are confidential. But some of them are not! We got to listen in on two veterans of game marketing and pitching. One of them is a new addition. Find out more in our new Games Lift Log entry!

Games Lift 2021 - Accelerating Now

The preparations are done. Now comes the fun part: The 2021 iteration of our Games Lift Incubator has begun in full. Workshops are in session. Read more in entry #2 of our Games Lift Incubator Log.

Kick-off for Games Lift Teams 2021!

It’s on: Yesterday, we kicked off the intensive phase of Games Lift Incubator 2021 together with the five dev teams from Hamburg. For the next three months, the teams will be able to fully concentrate on their game ideas and attend workshops and individual mentoring sessions with international industry experts.

Games Lift Incubator: these are the five teams 2021

Five up-and-coming game developer teams from Hamburg convinced the awarding committee with their project ideas, pitching their way into the Games Lift Incubator 2021. The incubator program starts on September 9 and aims to prepare the teams for the challenges of developing and marketing their games projects in the international markets – through start-up funding of 15,000 euros per team and an intensive three-month workshop and mentoring program under the guidance of international industry experts.

Games Lift 2021 application phase has started

From June 21, the Games Lift incubator program launches its application phase for 2021, supporting five games developer teams in creating concepts for digital games with high market potential.

Games Lift Insights on July 8: Basic Market Analysis for Indies

On July 8, our Project Manager Maggie Schneider and Cassia Curran, Founder and Strategic Advisor of Curran Games Agency, will provide insights into the Games Lift Incubator program and host a workshop on market analysis for indie developers. The workshop will be held in English.

Games Lift Insights on June 3: Crowdfunding for Game Developers

On June 3, our Project Manager Maggie Schneider and Jan Theysen, Co-Founder and Creative Director of KING Art Games will provide you with insights into our Games Lift Incubator program and a basic workshop about crowdfunding for game devs!

Making game development work: Two examples from our Incubator

What is the best way to make a game? Don’t answer! It’s a trick question. There may never be one universal way of managing work across different teams and project sizes. Still, valuable lessons can be learned from the actual experience of the professionals in our teams.

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

2020 is a year we will all remember. Apart from the fact that the entire world has changed, our working methods had to change, too. Plans, programs, and offers had to be redesigned and rethought.

How to promote an indie game: Insights from the Games Lift PR workshop

Working on Public Relations for video games is challenging; it is especially so for small game developers working on tight schedules and limited budgets. That is why at Gamecity’s Games Lift Incubator, PR is a special focus. We sat in on two luminaries coaching our teams.

Games Lift: The Amusement gives VR walking simulators a new meaning

It may be powered by a technical achievement, but this novel VR game is all about the story. Players will walk around a dilapidated amusement park, solve puzzles and take in the scenery. There is a layer cake of a tale to discover.

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.