European Commission provides record funding for European Game Developers
The European Commission has made a record number of funding instruments accessible for game developers under the new Horizon2020 research and innovation funding programme. This is in addition to 2.5 million euro annual funding for games through the Creative Europe programme.
For the first time, the Commission has introduced a specific topic, Gaming and Gamification Technologies, dedicated only for games, where 17 million euro is estimated to be made available for the developers of serious games. More entertainment oriented developers can apply for finance from a funding stream supporting the growth of Innovative Creative Industries SMEs in general, which has a budget of approximately 15 million euro. Furthermore, European developers interested in non-collaborative research projects can apply for funding from the Open Disruptive Innovation Scheme, which could provide up to 90 million euro as small grants for SMEs for ambitious and high risk projects. In addition, other research topics like Advanced Cloud Infrastructure and Services and Privacy and Self-Management of Health and Disease offer potentially interesting opportunities for game developers.
The Chairman of The European Games Developer Federation (EGDF), Guillaume de Fondaumière welcomed the new funding opportunities: ”I’m happy that the Commission acknowledges the extremely positive economic and social impact of video games and is ready to support innovation in this area. However, as the success of all games, serious or not, is clearly based on how entertaining they are, we hope that in the upcoming calls artificial divisions between ‘entertaining’ and ‘serious’ games will be abandoned.”
Koopee Hiltunen, the director of Neogames, the hub Finnish Games industry, and a co-author of a recent study on health games markets reminded the Commission that, in addition to focusing on research funding, European actions are needed to foster the market uptake of research outcomes: “The increasing public investment in research on serious games, especially on health games, has not so far lead to a similar increase in public and private procurement. Quite often the commercial exploitation of research outcomes is a huge challenge due to the high barriers of entry to markets and the lack of interest on investing in new and innovative solutions.”
Dr Richard Wilson, CEO of TIGA, the trade association representing UK games developers and digital publishers, said: “While these new funding streams are a positive development, the UK games development industry now hopes that the EU Commission will give the green light to the introduction of video Games Tax Relief in the UK. This will enable UK games developers to create more culturally British video games.”
The EGDF summary of currently available research funding is available here: http://www.egdf.eu/eufundingspring2014/
Neogames study, Mapping the Full Potential of the Emerging Health Game Markets, commissioned by Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra can be accessed through this link:
The European Games Developer Federation is committed to the stimulation and development of a stable, vibrant and creative European games development sector that is competitive globally and recognized culturally. The EGDF will act to advance the political and economic interests of the European computer and video games industry by providing a platform for collaboration and discussion between European institutions and game developers.
The federation represents some 600 studios based in Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, and the United Kingdom, which together employ about 17,000 people. The European computer and video games industry, including distributors and students in game educations, encompasses almost 100,000 individuals.