New call for creative Europe programme is open

The new call for creative Europe programme is open, EGDF finds administrative reforms alarming

The new call for video game concept and prototype development under Creative Europe Media sub-programme is open. For the selected projects European Union will cover 50% of the costs up to 150 000 euro. The deadline for applications is on the 26th of March at noon on Brussels time.

European Games Developer Federation (EGDF) is deeply concerned about the administrative changes introduced by the Commission on the programme in the 2015 call.

Although the funding is in general open for all narrative story-telling games, the Commission has decided to block a number of genres from the call including puzzle games, memory games, sport games, racing games, rhytm/singing/dancing games, social games and quiz games.

Guillaume de Fondaumière, the president of EGDF and the president of SNJV,  underlines:

”It is deeply saddening that instead of promoting the innovation in these genres, the Commission has decided to block them entirely from the call. The cultural content itself is not tied to a specific genre, but the game design practices used. Instead of basing their judgement on shallow prejudices on specific genres and fostering them, the Commission should focus on promoting content innovation in those areas ” 

Secondly, the Commission has decided to block all companies that are less than 12 months old from the call. Furthermore, the Commission has cut the pre-financing rate from 70% to 50%. In practice this means that European game developer studios have to pay more from their own financial resources before receiving reimbursement from the Commission.

Hendrik Lesser, the vice-president of EGDF and vice-chairman of G.A.M.E., states:

”At the moment it is extremely challenging to find funding for new projects for European game development studios in general, but especially for the studios located in Eastern and Southern Europe. Thus the Creative Europe funding, that has been one of the key public funding instruments available for game developers in many European countries, has been vital for the experimentation and innovation for many studios. Unfortunately, the Commission has decided to block all start-ups from the funding and increased the financial risk for the companies by cutting the pre-funding. Considering the fact that some of the most promising game developer studios in Europe are second round start-ups, the Commission is willingly blocking some of the most promising candidates from the call.”

Thirdly, the Commission is evaluating the feasibility of the projects based on their potential of attracting publishers and distributors. EGDF is worried that this might lead to underrating self-published games. The recent boom of European games industry is largely based on the ability of European developers to get a stronger position in the value chain through digital distribution compared with mainly non-European publishers and distributors. Thus, especially on the mobile side,  the success of European companies is no longer measured in their ability to please non-European conglomerates, but in their own ability reach global audience directly with European content.

All in all, it EGDF is worried that after the enormous popularity of the first call, clearly demonstrating the huge demand for this kind funding all around Europe,  the Commission is trying to limit the number of applications by these arbitrary administrative tricks.

Richard Wilson, a board member of EGDF and CEO of TIGA, comments:

“Access to finance is a key challenge facing many of the EU’s games developers.  If the EU is to have a thriving games development sector then we need to help more games businesses access funding, not fewer. The Creative Europe funding programme is prescriptive, restrictive and constrictive. It needs reform.”

Koopee Hiltunen, a board member of EGDF and the director of Neogames, stresses:

”Instead of trying to limit the number of applications to the level where the whole funding instruments becomes irrelevant, the Commission should maximise the potential of the funding has on creating jobs and growth in Europe. The best way to do this is to allocate sufficient resources for a streamlined review process; not to focus on blocking more and more innovative and highly potential game developer studios from applying the funding.”

However, EGDF is pleased on the fact that, in general, the administrative guidelines are much clearer and coherent for this year than in 2014.

Jari-Pekka Kaleva, COO of EGDF, comments:

”The public support should always be targeted for the most potential projects instead of the most innovative applications mastering all the hidden details of funding guidelines. I’m happy to note that the Commission has taken the task of reducing administrative burden seriously.”

For more information, please contact:
Jari-Pekka Kaleva (jari-pekka.kaleva@egdf.eu)

Simple EGDF checklist for game developers applying to funding can be downloaded from here:
http://www.egdf.eu/6-2-2015-unofficial-creative-europe-checklist/

For further information about the Creative Europe funding please visit
https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/creative-europe/funding/development-support-for-development-european-video-games-2015_en