Officials from the European Commission have announced a new funding mechanism specifically aimed at supporting video game projects, with grants of up to €60,000 ($83,000) available for companies working on console, PC and mobile phone prototypes.
The total budget for the incentive is put at €1.5 million, with the commission offering to cover all aspects of production, including initial concept work, attracting business partners, acquisition of licensing rights, design, programming and marketing. The grants are a form of direct aid and do not need to be repaid.
The minimum grant available is for €10,000 ($14,000), although the maximum budget of any project is capped at €100,000 ($139,000). The grant can account for up to half of the game’s overall budget, rising to 60 percent for game concepts which “focus on the cultural heritage and diversity of Europe”. The latter caveat is similar to the controversial tax credits
granted to developers in France by the French government.
The grants are only available to companies who have developed at least one title since January 1st, 2005 and those whose head offices are in Europe or other states which participated in the Media 2007 event. The first application period for submissions ends on November 15th, 2007 and the second on April 15th 2008. Further details can be found at the EGDF (European Games Developer Federation) website
The General Secretary of the EGDF Malte Behrmann, said: “This is the first visible sign of the success of our political work with the European Commission. We hope now, as the European Union has acknowledged the importance of our industry, that the developer community will harvest the fruits of our work and make their submissions for prototype funding. We would like to be informed about any experiences and problems any members have with the funding system, so that we can propose amendments if necessary”.