Presented by Games Germany
The city and country that you choose for your game studio is a foundation. Public funding, local universities, and the development community there will help shape your company as it grows. Germany—with its impressive array of cities and public benefits—offers a fantastic foundation to build on top of.
Games Germany is an umbrella association that supports game developers that includes six funding and seven network institutions spread out over all of Germany's regional states. They're here to help you discover the impact Germany can have on studios looking for a new home and developers looking to further their career in the game industry.
"Germany has an enviable culture, infrastructure, and quality of life, with great schools and even better healthcare," said Deep Silver Fishlabs director of studio operations Stephan Beier, who is located in Hamburg. Germany's robust state and federal funding, active scene of game developers and studios, and a strong sense of work-life balance have turned it into a promising country with a budding game industry.
Here are five reasons why you should consider moving your studio to Germany or working for a games company based in Germany.
A Vibrant Game Development Scene
Germany has a spirited development community. There are hundreds of game developers and studios spread out over the 16 federal states. Many of these studios take part in local game shows, conventions, game jams, and more. One of the biggest gaming shows in the world—gamescom—is hosted every year in Cologne.
Studios including everything from Crytek in Frankfurt, one of the most notable names in the industry, to smaller up-and-comers like Mimimi Games in Munich can be found here. Germany is home to studios of all shapes, sizes, and specialties.
Germany also has strong game development programs at universities all over the country. Institutions like the HTW Berlin, The Cologne Game Lab at TH Köln, and the Games Master program at HAW Hamburg offer unique opportunities that help students learn fundamental development skills. No matter what city you settle in—there will be a university nearby to recruit from. These institutions are welcoming and host an equally vibrant community of game development students of their own.
If that wasn't enough, Germany is at the center of Europe. You'll be a quick train ride or flight away from Paris, Amsterdam, London, and elsewhere with access to everything those locations have to offer—including more shows, studios, and cultures to experience.
A Healthy Work-Life Balance In The Center Of Europe
Germany is a great place for more than just work—it has one of the best work-life balances in the world. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development found that only 4% of Germans work longer than 40 hours a week, far below the average in other countries. That gives them more time for leisure and relaxation.
"Hamburg as a gaming and digital hub of Germany with a thriving industry gives us an eclectic international-friendly home," Beier, whose studio employs 80 people in Hamburg. "It's constantly ranked one of the most livable and safest cities worldwide."
Germany's healthcare system is among the best in the world. Visiting a doctor is simple and stress-free with its multi-payer system. Employees can receive up to six weeks of sick pay—which is 100% of their base salary. You won't have to worry about making ends meet when you fall ill. Germans view healthcare as a safety net; you'll never know when you'll need it so it should be as accessible as possible.
Founders won't have to worry about their developers' quality of life if they move to Germany—our culture will already have that handled. Developers looking to join an existing studio in Germany will experience these benefits first-hand.
Robust Federal Funding
In an effort to drive game development in the country, the German government has committed 50€ million in the federal budget to help studios with their projects annually.
"As an independent developer the grant not only enables us to work on the best possible version of our next game," said Mimimi Games managing director Johannes Roth, who received a grant in 2020. "It also allows us to finally embrace self-publishing together with an investor, keep all IP rights and really increase our value as a studio."
This fund was established in 2019 and will continue into the future in order to make Germany more of a vital player in the game industry. Money received from this fund can cover up to 50% of a games budget and can also be combined with money received from other levels of the German government.
Germany also encourages cooperation between studios. A major studio can open up a studio within Germany and receive some of the benefits the country offers.
A Number Of Choices Of Where To Settle
Germany is a diverse country with dozens of major cities to choose from, each with their own development scene, support network, and unique set of benefits. Munich, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Berlin, and several other German cities were ranked within the top 25 cities in the world in the "The Most Liveable Cities Index and Mercer Quality of Living Survey."
Each region also has its own dedicated support system for developers run by the different regional branches of Games Germany. These representatives, no matter where they're located, want to help. They can walk you through the process of moving to Germany and dealing with the hurdles that come with it.
You'll have notable neighbors no matter what city you choose to settle in. Ubisoft with Blue Byte has studios in Düsseldorf, Berlin, and Mainz while other studios, like InnoGames in Hamburg, YAGER in Berlin, and King Art Games in Bremen, are eager to welcome you into their communities. An active indie scene, including one-person studios and small to midsize development teams, can be found spread out all over the country.
On top of or as an alternative to federal funding, studios can receive funding from local governments to help bring their creative visions to life. These come in the form of investment funds, loans, and grants, and they can be combined with federal funding to cover the majority of a game's budget.
The Future Of The Game Industry
Games have become a priority in Germany. The government and wider society here has realized the importance of what game development brings to Germany's culture. It's convinced them that they don't want to get left behind as the game industry grows.
"Germany is starting to become a major player in the area of games development," said Ubisoft Blue Byte managing director Benedikt Grindel. "The ecosystem has evolved a lot in recent years, and with even better framework conditions by the federal and regional governments and with more and more students that graduate from schools and universities with game development programs, it will only grow bigger."
Germany's Digital Strategy 2025 represents the government's priorities for the future in making Germany a technological powerhouse. It includes creating a gigabyte optical fiber network by 2025, creating more regulatory framework for investments, and much more. The games industry in Germany will benefit and contribute to this plan in major ways over the next 5 years.
Moving a game studio is a monumental change. All the information about Germany, provided here and elsewhere, may seem daunting, but representatives from Games Germany can guide you through it and make the process much easier. You'll be happy you did once you experience the benefits of developing games in Germany.
Visit Games Germany's website and reach out at www.games-germany.de/contact/.