8 public entities in Europe, brought together by SpielFabrique, have declared for 2022 their ambition to boost the video game industry in Europe by developing cross-border collaborations through co-production between independent studios.
SpielFabrique gathered together the signatures of 8 video game public entities from Europe:
- Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF) – Belgium (Flanders)
- Wallimage – Belgium (Wallonia)
- Ministry of Culture and Sport – Spain
- Danish Film Institute – Denmark
- Croatian Film Centre (HAVC) – Croatia
- Norwegian Film Institute – Norway
- Northern Ireland Screen – UK
- Galway Film Centre – Ireland
During the discussions, the participants declared their strong interest in the video game industry and agreed that more shold be done in Europe to foster its development. One way has been particularly explored: fostering cross-border collaborations through co-production between video game studios.
An ambitious framework to foster co-production for video games in Europe
The participants of this declaration agree to work together on the following objectives:
- A common co-production eligibility criteria framework for projects across the signatory countries.
- A standard set of co-production requirements to allow partners to present and access each other’s relative strengths and select better matches across areas such as function, funding, market access, audience.
- Funding processes specific to co-production that acknowledge the requirements of regional, national, EU and other funding sources while striving to promote compatibility across signatory countries.
- Support an international market event to foster meetings between studios / partners from the participant countries and where relevant and beneficial with industry third parties.
“European co-production has proven to be a powerful and important instrument to strengthen European cinema and audiovisual productions for independent producers. VAF believes that this could also become true for video games. Regular and close contact with our European colleagues is an important first step to help establish a clear and robust framework for future co-productions in the European game sector.” – Koen Van Bockstal, CEO of VAF (Flanders Audiovisual Fund)
More than a declaration, a strong support to the European Games co-production Market
In March 2022, SpielFabrique launched a call for applications for the 5th edition of the European Games Co-production Market (EGCM). The EGCM is a program, co-funded by Creative Europe Media, that aims to bring indie studios from all over Europe to co-produce games together.
The eight public entities are indeed supporting the program. The partnership with SpielFabrique covers communication with the studios in each of the institutions’ regions and countries, as well as representation of their countries in the co-production market through a presence at the final event. Representatives of the countries and regions will be invited to listen to the final pitches of the projects that will have found a co-producer during the program. They will therefore possibly be led to co-finance them with funds from another European country. A meeting of all the partners is also planned for September 22 to coincide with the market programme.
This declaration has helped to attract more countries to participate in the European Games Co-production market. EGCM has now 15 European Creative Europe partner countries, with France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy, the Netherlands, Tunisia added to the eight aforementioned countries, as well as 2 associated countries (Switzerland and Northern Ireland).
SpielFabrique decided to open the studios for Ukrainians indie games studios for free.
Co-production : an alternative path to finance and develop video games
The video game industry is known for being a highly competitive and international market. Europe is full of talents spread over the different countries. However, they struggle to get enough visibility on the international video game market, as hundreds of games are released every day on the different platforms, and they are in direct competition with big international AAA productions. To be more competitive, independent studios need to access talent, more funding, diverse expertise and bigger teams to create more ambitious projects that would provide the opportunity for sustainable growth. Already used in Live Action and Animation, co-production is an alternative model that could solve the competitiveness issues of the European indie game studios.
In a co-production, the studios co-develop a game and share everything from IP, revenues to values and motivations. They develop a common project together, bringing complementarity skills. A co-production allows each partner to secure relevant expertise and public funding in the partner countries for the common video game project. Together, the developers are in a better position to access further relevant financing and publishing.