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Computerspiele sind kein Produkt wie jedes andere

Immer wieder taucht die Frage auf, wie viel Förderung der Spiele- Entwicklung sinnvoll ist. Die Antwort liegt in der goldenen Mitte: Fördert man zu viel verliert man den Markt aus dem Auge, fördert man zu wenig verliert ein Land Zukunftschancen. Aber Kultur und Kommerz ist kein Widerspruch, sondern kann sich ergänzen.

Weitgehend einig ist man sich heute, dass die Vorstellung, Computerspiele würden sich ohnehin in jedem Fall allein über ihre Produktqualität am Markt durchsetzen eine kurzsichtige und einseitige Darstellung ist. Das hat weniger mit innereuropäischem Wettbewerb als vielmehr mit dem Wettbewerb mit außereuropäischen Ländern zutun. Denn Computerspiele aus Deutschland konkurrieren am Markt mit Waren aus anderen Ländern in denen zum Teil subventioniert wird oder andere Marktvorteile bestehen, die nicht unmitelbar mit dem Produkt zusammenhängen. Umgekehrt ist es sicherlich richtig, dass allein mit Förderung noch keine besseren Produktlinien entstehen, die sich dauerhaft am Markt behaupten können. Dazu gehört mehr. Technologische, wirtschaftliche und kulturelle Argumente können gemeinsam oder getrennt in verschiedenen Nuancen Förderung legitimieren. Eine gewisse Konkurrenz der Systeme – auch um die beste Förderart – kann auf regionalem oder überregionalem Terrain durchaus hilfreich sein. Deutschland insgesamt hat ein ungeheures Potential.

Die Spieleindustrie ist keine Industrie wie jede andere, sondern eine Industrie mit einer wachsenden kulturellen Bedeutung. Wir brauchen besondere Förderung aber wir brauchen auch eine vielschichtige und vorausschauende Qualitätsdebatte. Die enormen Verkaufszahlen von Heavy Rain zeigen, dass kulturell geförderte Produktionen wirtschaftliche Erfolge werden können. Das ist auch keine Überraschung, denn was uns begeistert kann uns und andere kulturell berühren und gerade deshalb zum Erfolg werden. Insoweit ist die Frage wichtig, ob kulturelle Gesichtspunkte etwas mit Jugendschutz zu tun haben. Wahrscheinlich schon, aber nicht in der Art, dass Jugendschutz unser Kulturverständnis begrenzt, sondern umgekehrt Kultur kann unser Jugenschutzverständnis beeinflussen. Aber auch wenn es zu dem fraglos kuturell wertvollen Film „Der Baader – Meinhof Komplex“ ein Spiel gegeben hätte, könnte es kulturell wertvoll sein. Ich rate hier zur Liberalität. Zu viel Jugendschutz steht mitunter mit der Kreativität in einem Zielkonflikt.

Was aber unbedingt nötig ist, ist dass man die Fördermechanismen auch als Computerspiele- Förderung benennt. Nur so kann man erreichen, dass sich die Spieleentwickler auch angesprochen fühlen. Deshalb ist es zu begrüßen, wenn sich Bundesländer, aber auch Nationalstaaten ausdrücklich zur Entwicklungsförderung für Compuiterspiele bekennen und wir, die Spielebranche diese auch aktiv einfordern. Denn Computerspiele sind kein Produkt wie jedes andere und sollten deshalb auch besonders behandelt werden.

 Gamesmarkt 2010

“EU 2020” Strategy

1. Computer games are a growing industry in the very centre of the digital shift

As the first truly digital medium computer games have developed considerably over the last twenty years into an important content driven industry at the crossroads of culture, technology and economic growth. While being a so central link between those three aereas, computer games have not yet received the place on the agendas of the European Union they deserve. The EU 2020 strategy is an opportunity to rectify some ommisions of the past and to give the development of computer games in Europe more positive attention as a creative and cultural industry, deeply embedded in the digital economy of tomorrow. 

Especially in the online sector computer games have grown considerably and the shortening of the value chains through the transition to digital distribution is a strong asset for the European industry itself. For the first time, the European industry is profiting from the growth of the games sector and not only international media groups; so far Europe hosted mainly developers and had in the traditional value chain to cooperate mostly with publishersand other partners from overseas. 

Computer games have weathered the storms of the 2008 crisis so far it concerns online games. In the market the digital shift is even supported by the economic decline of the old economy. Europe is a strong player in online and browser based games. Size of leading online games studios from Europe2

 
Bigpoint (DE)

 

 

Gameforge (DE)

 

 

Ankama (FR)

 

 

Jagex (GB)

 

 

Sulake (FI)

 

 

Founded

 

 

2002

 

 

2003

 

 

2001

 

 

2001

 

 

2000

 

 

Employees

 

 

over 290

 

 

about 300

 

 

about 400

 

 

about 400

 

 

about 260

 

 

Turnover €

 

 

27 million

 

 

Over 100 million

 

 

30 million

 

 

35 million

 

 

50 million

 

 

Registered users

 

 

91 million

 

 

88 million

 

 

25 million

 

 

165 million

 

 

151 million

 

 

The whole statement you can find here 

i2020 (EGDF) 

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PRO Network Neutrality

Network Neutrality is an enormous civilisatory achievement – the independence of the content in the internet from the network itself. I always thought it is something similar to the abolition of the death penalty, but it is not. It is rather similar to the abolition of slavery. The economic side effects are even more important than the content policy questions, which raise “only” issues of democracy and media politics.

The economic side effects of the unilateral weakening of Network Neutrality in Europe would lead to a different innovation scenario in Europe and – eventually – weaken the competitiveness of Europe. Tragic heroes who fought for ICT – innovation in Europe might end up with a situation even worse than before – despite all efforts and support initiatives.

For European media that development would be disastrous, – too. It would allow in many ways the return of the worldwide distribution oligopolies of the analogue era – mainly non European. For the first time these middlemen structures were weakened to the good of the European independent media industry and also for the good of the consumer. The oligopolies could then re-establish managed services to secure exclusivity in quality of experience of media – services which would probably not even be possible under current TV regulation. And it would be easier for them to leverage their elements for the off-line era into the digital age.

Digital content producers in Europe are increasingly profiting from the digital shift and media imports to Europe decrease in this field. Distribution bottlenecks of the analogue world are slowly disappearing. If we loosen network neutrality now – and capacity reasons give strong arguments – this positive trend would come to a hold. Therefore it should not be possible to identify details, other than very few standardised categories.   

Eventually it comes down to, whether we trust the network operators and especially the telecommunication companies that they will carry European content in equal conditions, when the oligopolies pay more. The realistic answer is “why should they?”. The way the I-Phone has been introduced to the European markets gives a glance on what might happen. The way telecom operators “support” the introduction of European MMO’s is another example. It would probably be a different thing, when these companies would be pure governmental bodies, but this is not the case. The real losers of the loosening of network neutrality will be the independent European media industry. Let’s hope, it will not happen.

For NEM letter 2009 (unpublished)

Innovation policy

 In general yes, although EGDF supports a more open innovation strategy. Until now European innovation policies have relied purely on technological push, but this focus has not been as effective as the pure concentration on marketing and non-technological factors would have been. E.g. today business models interlink with technology and innovation is not necessarily technological. This means that technology in general follows the business model, not vice-versa.

 Thus EGDF welcomes all efforts to extend the definition of innovation from purely technological innovations to innovations related to content, services and business models. An intelligent innovation strategy should be both flexible and a combination of different elements of innovation, in order to make the difference. 

 Therefore EGDF would like to see even more user driven approach from Commission when it comes to innovations.  As Commission has concluded, non-technological aspects of the innovation process, such as design and marketing, are increasingly important to getting more innovative products and services in the marketplace.  But beside design and marketing, also content and business models are crucial areas of innovation.

 Consequently EGDF is pleased to note that Commission has now stated it to be necessary to better acknowledge the weight of services as an attribute of modern industrialised countries and their innovation potential for the economy and the society at large. Hence it should be one of the main priorities of Commission to better customise research and innovation support to the specific needs of services, as well as completing critical infrastructures and unlocking their potential with new services and applications. However, these maneuvers should be implemented in a non-discriminatory way in order to keep the level of competition high. 

 For example user driven technology (see also www.nem-initiative.org) can be seen in open combinations with different elements. E.g. game development studios are at the same time technological (R&D relevant) and creative (design relevant), but it shows often that the transition and the innovation do not follow these paths. Instead content and business models are real drivers of innovation on that area. 

 Another good example is the sector of online mobile music distribution. In this case innovation does not necessarily mean technological innovation network. Music downloaded from the Internet has made large parts of storage media (based on complicated technological standardisation procedures with strong European implications) obsolete. The real innovation lies not in the technology, but in the radical business model. This demonstrates how the relevance of content for the advancement of ICT technology has been underestimated in the current generation of ICT support.

 Furthermore, as in digital age one does not need large companies to innovate, the most of the innovative business models, services and content are developed by small entities. Therefore EGDF supports strongly a SME approach to innovation, as it should be remembered that innovation cannot be produced; real innovations are usually hidden where one would less expect to find them.

 EGDF is pleased to note that EU has introduced efforts to strengthen conditions for entrepreneurship and for growth of new ventures. Content and user driven SMEs like Europe’s game developer studios can really make the difference. But a SME approach needs not only to be preached, but also practised. This means that also in reality, not just in the level of political statements, SME’s have to be specifically taken care of, including that they are efficiently and successfully informed about their possibilities. Unfortunately so far this goal has been only partially reached.

 Consequently innovations should not be supported isolated from markets e.g. by relaying too much on just technological breakthroughs. SMEs or other market actors are needed to create jobs and growth from them. Thus one should be careful not be blinded by focusing solely on innovations; one should always see innovations just one important part of the economy as a whole.

 In addition, EGDF agrees with Commission that current economic recession is making fund-raising and the exit environment difficult for entrepreneurs. As there is currently no EU-funding program directed for the needs of the video came industry, preparations for setting up one for the new programme period 2014-2019 should be started as soon as possible.  Meanwhile, as EGDF finds the Lead Market Initiative (LMI) especially successful tool for supporting innovation, EGDF calls Commission to start a LMI of digital content as soon as possible. 

 When it comes to Joint Technology Initiatives (JTI) EGDF stresses that some of JTI models used do not necessarily support the goal of strengthening collaboration among different innovation actors and supporting mutual policy learning between innovation policy makers and public innovation support bodies at different levels.

 A successful implementation of JTIs, and the RTD policy of EU in general, requires strong involvement of relevant industry in the RTD framework. While engaging actors of the industry in the framework, it should be remembered that strong actions taken to support RTD of big well-established companies also create a serious risk of emerge of companies with dominant market position. In addition, it is in the interest of companies already having a dominant market position to do what ever is necessary to stop the emergence of rival companies. This kind of motive for co-operation clearly cannot be described as collaborative.

 When the model of JTI ‘Clean sky’ is used, the core owners of the JTI are fixed to the limited amount of named companies. Thus this model clearly carries a high risk of dominant market players using a JTI to secure their dominant market position also in the future. Consequently the model of JTI ‘Artemis’ should be favoured over the JTI ‘Clean sky’, because such an initiative can only be successful, if all major stakeholders of the field of industry are successfully represented and the process is dynamic.  This kind of openness should not only been preached, but practiced in the regulatory framework.

 On the other hand it is true that large European technology or network driven companies should for one reason or another participate in such an activity. However they should rather consider themselves as “supporting members” than as “owners” of such an activity. Thus JTI ‘Artemis’, that is run by an open industry association, is possibly more open, transparent and dynamic and thus it carries much lover risk of being used to secure dominant market position by major economic players on the field.

 EGDF would also like to point out that on the area of enhancing the governance of the EU innovation system EU should not place special focus just on best practice exchange with the US. Besides US, EU should substantially enhance the exchange of best practices with many Asian countries like Australia, South Korea and Japan that are currently raising more and more important role in global economy. 

 All in all EGDF underlines that EU should be very careful with new regulations considering digital services. As internal market for dematerialized goods and services is just emerging in Europe, it is currently at a very vulnerable state. Thus if EU wants to become the most competitive digital economy, it should pay special attention not give advantage to competing digital economies by over or under regulating its own markets. Thus at the moment all the regulation effecting on digital markets should be evaluated with extra care, as securing the competition in the markets is highly important.

 For example, the basis of innovation in the media sector in Europe in recent years was the free and neutral Internet. Before the most of the distribution chains in media content were in the hands of overseas distribution giants. European content makers received not enough to live and too much to die. The free Internet is and was the historical chance for European content producers to overcome post-war distribution structures and to touch down directly to the consumer. For those, who were able to find users, this was usually also an economic success.

 Few years ago network and Internet service providers had no systematic overview about the content in their network. Regulation did not allow a closer look. The separation of network infrastructure and online content was the man made “Holy Grail” of Internet regulation. But the situation changed: in the aftermath of homeland security policies of the Western world and the war on terrorism, providers started to install infrastructure to allow systematic scanning of content while being distributed. The legitimate fight against child pornography builds the second layer. Providers need to look even closer at the content in their sphere of responsibility. The next step seems to be the fight against piracy; this debate is still open.

 From a content perspective very legitimate motivations in every single case sum up to a new Internet – very different to the Internet which has been known so far. As a whole, there is a danger to network neutrality, the basis of freedom and innovation at this new frontier. The regulatory efforts face themselves constitutional and legal problems in the member states, but much more they might lead to an abrupt ending of innovation in the sector.

 There is a risk that infrastructure and service providers will try to leverage barriers-to-entry and key strategic positions into online distribution. This is a danger for content innovation.  Providers might misuse exceptions and “hide” behind it to prioritize their preferred content in order to recoup their investments on the network. In the meantime network capacity becomes more relevant – and even more priority becomes an issue.

 Thus easing up net neutrality raises a serious risk of dividing Europe based on national mobile and broadband networks, as network providers would have a possibility to slow down access to the virtual services competing with their own. Consequently this would also raise new boarders for the free movement of innovative services and knowledge inside EU.

The whole document you find here

Consultation on Community Innovation Policy

REGIO SUMMIT & BORN DIGITAL / GROWN DIGITAL IPTS Study

Study on of EU Commission on assessing the Future Competitiveness of the EU Video Games Software Industry

JRC-IPTS study on the Video games Industry, with a focus on two specific activities: online and mobile video games. The report starts by introducing the technologies, their characteristics, market diffusion and barriers to take up, and their potential economic impact, before moving to an analysis of their contribution to the competitiveness of the European ICT industry. The research is based on internal and external expertise, literature reviews and desk research, several workshops and syntheses of the current state of the knowledge. The results were reviewed by experts and in dedicated workshops. The report concludes that the general expectations for the next years foresee a speeded up migration of contents and services to digital, in a scenario of rapidly increasing convergence of digital technologies and integration of media services taking advantage of improved and permanent network connections. The role of the so-called creative content industry is expected to increase accordingly. Communication services and media industry will co-evolve on the playground of the Internet of services, along with a product to service transformation of the software market in general. In this general context the Video games Software industry plays and is expected to play a major role. The games industry may become a major driver of the development of networks as it has been in the past for the development of computer hardware.

  • Authors: G. De Prato, C. Feijóo, D. Nepelski, M. Bogdanowicz, J.P. Simon
  • EUR Number: 24555 EN
  • Publication date: 11/2010

This report reflects the findings of the

The fill report ios downloadable at

http://ipts.jrc.ec.europa.eu/publications/pub.cfm?id=3759

 You can find tfurther articles published by Deutsche Welle yesterday based on our report under the links below:

 Internet piece: http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,6299602,00.html

 Radio piece: http://mediacenter.dw-world.de/english/audio/#!/24349/Europe_s_shaky_relationship_with_video_games/Program=3126 

 REGIO SUMMIT MÜLHEIM

The PDFs of the presentations for this year’s Regional Summit is available online now:

Mülheim, 2010: http://games-ruhr.com/?page_id=250

Here are the other ones:

2009: Wien: http://www.zit.co.at/immobilien/regio-summit-2009.html

 2009: Hannover: http://www.gameforumgermany.de/index.php?id=118

 2008 : Stuttgart: http://www.visual-computing.de/2201.html

 Hamburg : 2007: http://www.hamburg-media.net/index.php?id=419&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=655&tx_ttnews[backPid]=351&cHash=d507133134

 2006 : Berlin: http://www.medienboard.de/WebObjects/Medienboard.woa/wa/CMSshow/1118941

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Ideas for simplifying the implementation of the EU RTD Framework Programmes

Make it visible,

Most of the innovations today come from small entities. Therefore particularly SMEs form a

flourishing field of innovations, but unfortunately the programme has rarely been able to reach

innovative SMEs due to the invisibility of the programme among those actors who actually

could benefit the most of it.

The programme should be able to communicate its possibilities also to the innovative actors

under the surface of big companies and actors specialised on writing project applications.

Only those who are interested in EU RTD framework anyway will travel to Brussels to

participate to events organized to promote it. EU RTD framework should be present on major

industry evens, where its target group is gathered anyway.

Make it simple,

Considering the demanding nature of preparing a FP7 project, one of the understandable byproducts

of EU RTD framework has been the emerge of enterprises and officials burying

themselves in mastering ever-changing framework regulations. As a result, there is a

remarkable risk of framework funding ending up to the most brilliant project applications

instead of the most innovative ICT solutions.

In addition to making structures of funding clearer and simplifying the participation rules, in

order to reach the most innovative actors, the EU RTD framework has to be much more risktaking,

risk tolerant and competent to identify the most innovative initiatives behind the formal

quality of applications. If more support from EU RTD framework would be successfully

targeted to the needs of the most innovative SMEs, it would lead to increased competition on

European single markets and direct the funding to the most successful European products.

Research has to support enterprises, not compete with them.

Current FP7 programme makes universities, research institutions and their spin off

enterprises to compete from same funding. This easily leads to a situation where

institutionalized research institutions eat emerging enterprises alive. As innovations are

mainly driven by enterprises and the transform of innovations to economic growth happens

mostly in them, the research funding should be concentrated in general to institutions, whose

mission is to support SMEs.

SME focus should come visible in reality

The successful implementation of EU RTD policy for creating jobs and growth requires strong

involvement of relevant industry in the RTD framework. While engaging actors of the industry

in the framework, it should be remembered that strong actions taken to support RTD of big

well-established companies also create a serious risk of emerge of companies with dominant

market position. In addition, it is in the interest of companies already having a dominant

market position to do what ever is necessary to stop the emergence of rival companies.

Therefore, in all levels of EU RTD framework it should be secured that a broad base of

companies, especially SMEs, are benefiting from it. In particular, SMEs should always be

present in the core of the framework projects, also when it comes to JTIs.

Open JTIs are less risky for markets

In order to avoid market failures, it is important to take into account the specific economic

situation of different markets and their actors while building up JTIs. When the inflexible

model of JTI ‘Clean sky’ is used, the core owners of the JTI are fixed to the limited amount of

named companies and therefore this model clearly carries the risk of dominant market

players using a JTI to secure their dominant market position also in the future.

Consequently the model of JTI ‘Artemis’ should be favoured over the JTI ‘Clean sky’, because

such an initiative can only be successful, if all major stakeholders of the field of industry are

successfully represented and the process is dynamic. JTI ‘Artemis’, that is run by an open

industry association, is possibly more open, transparent and dynamic and thus it curries much

lover risk of being used to secure dominant market position by major economic players on the

field. (…)

Focus to the innovative business models

EU RTD framework must be built in the context of the real media distribution system on the

area of ICT. In every single project the relevance of content and relevant business models

should be justified, as the end user’s perception of media happens through the content layer.

It should be noted that business models interlink with technology and innovation is not

necessarily technological. Today it is the technology that follows the business models, as in

the end new business models are the innovations that make the technological innovations to

create jobs and growth. Similarly, the content is the main driver for technological innovations

as it fuels the demand for new technologies. Therefore testing and developing them should

be one of the priorities of EU RTD framework.

It takes innovations on services to generate growth

At the moment ICT focus of EU RTD framework does not fully include creative industries

using ICT as medium of their creative cultural products and services. As European ICT

markets are getting more and more driven by digital content, there is a clear need to

modernise aid frameworks to reflect the changes brought by the digital world.

TEKES, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, has taken a broadbased

view on innovation: besides funding technological breakthroughs, TEKES emphasizes

the significance of service-related, design, business, and social innovations. This approach

should be largely adapted also when it comes funding for ICT in EU RTD framework. By

extending the definition of innovation and the focus of it in ICT RTD funding, EU will secure its

competitive edge on the rapidly expanding content industry.

Here you can find the whole statementconsultation on simplifying FP7

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Browser Games und die Wirtschaftskrise

Frage 1: Nun hätte man ja vor einigen Jahren im Game Verband noch in keinster Weise mit Browser Games assoziiert. Unterscheiden sich die Bedürfnisse von Browsergamesentwicklern und den Entwicklern von Vollpreistiteln überhaupt noch merklich?

Antwort MB: Die Entwicklung ist vielschichtig. Natürlich hat ein Entwickler von Vollpreistiteln oder gar Next Generation Konsolentiteln andere Bedürfnisse als ein Entwickler von Browser Games. Auf der anderen Seite sind die Interessenlagen häufig sehr ähnlich. Es geht ja darum, Computerspiele zu entwickeln, also sich auszudenken und ihre konkrete Umsetzung zu betreiben. Browser Games sind eben deswegen sehr erfolgreich, weil man den Client nicht herunter laden muss, das heißt die sind ein spezieller Bereich von Computerspielen, die besonders in Deutschland erfolgreich sind. Aber sie sind Computerspiele und daher ist es völlig richtig, dass die Browsergamesentwickler alle dem Game Bundesverband in den letzten Jahren beigetreten sind.

Frage 2: Obwohl die US Spieleindustrie im Februar noch von zweistelligen Wachstumsraten spricht, hört man bereits von drastischen Sparmaßnahmen bei Firmen wie EA oder Sony, der Gaming Sender Giga muss sogar seinen kompletten Sendebetrieb an den Nagel hängen. Was ist denn nun der Fall? Steck die Spielebranche allgemein betrachtet tatsächlich in einer finanziellen Krise oder ist sie davon weitgehend unberührt?

Antwort MB: Durch die Computerspieleindustrie geht ein tiefer Graben. Computerspiele, die traditionell im Box-Bereich über den Einzelhandel vertrieben werden, seien es PC Spiele, die in besonderem Maße betroffen sind oder Konsolenspiele, die weniger betroffen sind, müssen mit der Wirtschaftskrise umgehen, denn Computerspiele sind ein teures Unterhaltungsmedium, dass im besonderen Maße natürlich auch von den Kürzungen betroffen ist. Es hat keinen Sinn daran herumzureden. Auf der anderen Seite steht der Onlinebereich. Der Onlinebereich profitiert in besonderem Maße von der Wirtschaftskrise. Denn viele Computerspieler gehen nun auf Free-to-Play-Games über, die besonders stark in Deutschland sind. Daher können wir nur feststellen, dass sich der Wandel vollzieht und insofern ist die Wirtschaftskrise eine wichtige Grundlage für den wichtigen Strukturwandel. Es sei in diesem Zusammenhang deutlich gesagt, dass wir in Deutschland und möglicher Weise auch in ganz Europa die Entwicklung hin zu Online Games als einen Beitrag zu der Verselbstständigung der deutschen und europäischen Computerspieleindustrie sehen können, denn viele Elemente in der Distributionskette fallen weg und die Entwickler und Hersteller werden stärker. An dieser Stelle ist hier Europa am stärksten.

Frage 3: Oft kursiert sogar die Meinung, dass die Unterhaltungselektronik profitiere von Krisen, da die Leute in solchen Zeiten öfter spielten. Ist da etwas Wahres dran?
Antwort MB: Ja, das kann durchaus sein. Natürlich ist die Entwicklung dahin gehend, dass sich Menschen gerade auch in Krisensituationen stärker mit Computerspielen befassen. Genauere Studien dazu kenne ich jedoch nicht.

Frage 4: Um nun wieder zu den Browser Games zurück zu kommen: Die Gameforge AG beispielsweise legte erst kürzlich Berichte vor, wonach das Unternehmen derzeit um 350 Prozent wachse und hunderte neue Mitarbeiter einstelle. Gibt es in der Browser Games-Branche bezüglich der Wirtschaftskrise vergleichsweise tatsächlich besser als der herkömmlichen Spieleindustrie?

Antwort MB: Ja das kann man so sagen. Natürlich sind die Online –und Browser Games im besonderen Maße auf Profiteure der Entwicklung der Breitbandverkabelung die nun gerade stattfindet und der sog. Netzwerkneutralität, also der Tatsache, dass die Internetprovider und die Infrastrukturunternehmen dem Content diskriminierungsfrei in gleichem Maße liefern müssen wie alle anderen Inhalte. Solange das so bleibt, wird es im Onlinebereich, gerade in Deutschland und Europa, einen besonders großen Wachstumsbereich geben. Es ist wichtig, dass wir diesen Wachstumsbereich so gut wie möglich unterstützen, denn er ist eine einmalige Chance für Europa, in diesem komplizierten Umfeld wieder auf das Weltniveau aufzuschließen.

Frage 5: Sehen Sie ein Problem darin, dass die meisten Browser Games durch den hohen Anteil an externen Werbeeinnahmen in speziellem Ausweis vom Wohlergehen anderer Wirtschaftszweige abhängig sind?

Antwort MB: Das ist sicherlich nur ein Teilbereich. Die größten Einnahmen erzielen Computerspieleentwickler im Browser –und Onlinespielebereich ja durch Scriptions bzw Item Celling Models, d.h. die Bezahlwege funktionieren im Wesentlichen nicht über Werbefinanzierung sondern anders. In sofern ist es sicher so, dass eine Abhängigkeit vom Werbemarkt, wie es etwa während der ersten .com-Aera zu verheerende Folgen gehabt hat, im Online –und Browserspielebereich niedriger ausfallen wird. Insofern ist hier ein Zusammenhang nur in gewissen Grenzen sichtbar. Es ist allerdings richtig, dass natürlich auch Werbefinanzierte Online-Computerspiele existieren. Deren Werbung bezieht sich aber häufig nicht auf klassische Industriegüter, denn die Computerspieler sind ja typischer Weise nicht zwingend die Kernfokusgruppe solcher Produkte.

Frage 6: Auf Antrag des Game Verbandes hat das Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie der GGC nun einen deutschen Gemeinschaftsstandort organisiert, der auch kleineren Anbietern unter dem Motto „Made in Germany“ einen Ausstellungsraum bietet und an dem sich unter anderem auch Big Point beteiligt. Da Sie gerade dort hin unterwegs sind, können Sie uns Näheres über das Konjunkturpaket „live“ verraten?

Antwort MB: Der Game Bundesverband hat schon lange für einen guten Beziehung zum AUMA (Ausland messe Ausschuss) unter einem Stand der … nun schon zum vierten Mal durchgeführt. Das hat mit der Konjunkturkrise an sich nichts zutun. Sondern es ist eine Chance, der weltweiten Rolle Deutschlands in diesem Umfeld gerecht zu werden. Wir sind sehr froh, dass die AUMA uns im Auslandsmesseprogramm aufgenommen hat.

Frage 7: Zu guter Letzt noch ihre Einschätzung. Werden Browser Games die herkömmlichen kleinen Spiele eines Tages vollends überflügeln, oder stößt das scheinbar exponentielle Wachstum zu Branche bald an ihre Grenzen?

Antwort MB: Ganz sicher ergänzen sich klein basierte und Browser Games im Markt. Sie spielen nicht die Selbe Rolle sondern sind in ihrem Spezifika sogar aufeinander angewiesen. Man muss das Verhältnis zwischen Browser Games und Client Base Games ähnlich sehen wie das Verhältnis in einem biologischen Symbionten. Browser Base Games sind leichter zugänglich und können deswegen auch als Werbemittel für Client Base Games genutzt werden. Gleichzeitig haben Client Base Games natürlich eine viel größere Bildschöpfungstiefe, weil sie sehr viel mehr Inhalte platzieren können. Und das Erlebnis der Client Base Games ungleich höher liegt.

2009 veröffentlicht

CREATIVE CONTENT IN EUROPEAN SINGLE MARKET

CONCERNING THE CONSULTATION ON CREATIVE CONTENT IN EUROPEAN SINGLE MARKET (Spring 2010)

Executive Summary:

 

 

European Games Developer Federation (EGDF) supports by principle the creation of a modern, procompetitive, and consumer-friendly legal framework for a genuine Single Market for Creative Content Online. However in relation to the ambitious goal of the reflection paper paper is too narrow. EGDF is disappointed that the role of the video games as a driving force in an innovative new media is not sufficiently addressed in the reflection paper. The one and only paragraph considering video games in the paper is a good example of common underestimation of challenges faced by the European computer games industry. The description is very thin and not really pure, but reflects the little attention commission has given to the computer games industry during the recent years. This has to change.

Games and more specific gameplay should be protected in copyright legislation from plagiarism. Similarly games should be included in the legislation as their own category equal to e.g. works of visual art or films. Due to complex and territorial management of digital reproduction rights and “making available” rights contemporary European computer games have rarely access to contemporary European music, although on global markets both sides would benefit from closer co-operation. In the end, this situation is hindering the use of European content in European interactive media. Thus EGDF encourages strongly the simplification of European music licensing.

The pure amount of languages in Europe poses a serious problem, as games have to be usually localized. Therefore a licence system should be developed, which would allow a publisher to buy a licence on a game for a certain language instead of certain territory. It should be remembered that for many European languages there are constantly growing global market (e.g. Portuguese, Spain and French). Thus multilingualism is a great opportunity for Europe. Also orphan works exist on the field of games. But unlike on field of books or films, currently there are only few public institutions storing them for upcoming generations. Due to rapid technical development software and hardware required for playing games becomes quickly non-existent or falls apart due to aging. On the field of online games all existing copies of a game are lost when a game studio quits supporting it. 

 

 

If we do not want the cultural heritage of Europe to end on the eve of the digital age, libraries or museums should be eligible to emulate games so that they are in general able to keep the digital heritage of Europe alive. When the copies are used only for research purposes and they are not made publicly available, these bodies should be eligible to save games for future generations, although copyright owners would be against it. 

As piracy affects significantly on games industry, EGDF has been trying to find a sustainable solution to it for years. During last years most of the legislative actions have not brought desired results, fighting against piracy rings and educating public has helped a little, but the best results have been achieved by developing new almost piracy proof business models (e.g. free-to-play online games). The further implementation of these successful business models requires public support to develop them and a well functioning and easy to use European wide payment system, not further anti-piracy measures.

The endangerment of network neutrality places a serious risk for those business models. After the debate considering this package the EP and the EC reached an ambiguous compromise on network neutrality during 2009. The time will show how it will be implemented on the online single market. The French three-strike model, coming from the anti-piracy movement, can be seen as an example of this in this light. It has more to do with the attempt to control the Internet distribution than with a fight against piracy. Some ISPs have already locked or reduced the use of strong online computer games for capacity reasons. This can lead to a situation, where specific independent contend producers have a discriminated position to those who are working directly for the network operators.

The integration of mobile operators, internet service providers (ISPs), telecom companies, broadband technology companies, websites, online shops, online rights aggregators and social networking platforms rises a serious risk of creation of oligopolies in the field of creative content. Consequently, all in all an important source for growth and innovation in this sector is a clear regulatory differentiation between networks and media content. This also means that services based on access subscription should not be tied to a particular ISP.

For game developers, it is highly important to maintain competition on every level of the value chain also by using legislative measures. Currently access to games industry is often controlled by game platform owners. Therefore governments should lower market entry barriers for content producers in Europe e.g. by making sure that the European games industry has equal access to technology and that the access is fair and reasonable for all European companies.

At the moment, rating does hinder the free movement of content dramatically. However, protection of minors is a crucial aspect when distributing games or movies, and it must not be weakened in Europe. As the ongoing digitalization has made game developers one  of the main providers of creative digital content for minors, they should also have a central role in the PEGI system. The PEGI system as selfregulatory body should offer real influence in the system for EGDF, so that the PEGI will not be used to create regulatory barriers hindering game developers access to market in favour of game publishers.

In the reflection paper cultural diversity is understood as the co-existence of professionally produced and user generated content. For Europe it is highly important to secure this fruitful co-existence, but if cultural diversity is understood as securing the digital blossoming of all European cultures, one of the most important measures is to make computer games legally eligible for public funding for culture and innovation in order to secure the cultural diversity and technological development.

In addition, in order to promote the creative content online sector the Union has to focus on providing a legal environment in which SMEs can survive and freelancers and independents can operate more freely.

The full statement can be found here: Consultation on content online (EGDF)

 

 

 

Content online

EGDF welcomes, in principle, the efforts of the European Commission to better regulate the field of Online Content Distribution. This has grown significantly throughout recent years, while regulatory measures are still discussed. EGDF therefore supports the idea of a continuous update of the media research backing regulatory activities. Concerning the introduction of DRM systems EGDF wishes to underline that these systems are often seen with great skepticism. In general the DRM system problems are more political and economical than technical. They are by many seen as a means to leverage barriers-to-entry and key strategic positions in offline distribution systems, perpetuating them into the era of online distribution. Hoping for seamlessly interoperable proprietary solutions, that compete and provide reliable DRM protection at the same time, is not very realistic. Competing standards linked with license business models will not bring the considerable changes envisaged.

In order to grow the market, most likely only open and free standards will make a difference to the SME’s that produce content and offer it for direct distribution online. In general, it seems necessary that the Commission insists on an open standard, and at the very least opens discussion on this option with the industry. Whilst important, it is not enough to better inform consumers, to introduce standard labels, standard end-user contracts, or other means for making DRM systems more transparent to the end user.

At their opposite ends of the value chain, the content producers and the empowered end-users need a reliable, open, and free end-to-end scenario. Non-discriminatory access and treatment needs to be enforced and permanently secured in every link of the value chain, and this can only be guaranteed by the public sector.

The games marketplace is today controlled by non-European companies and most of our members do most of their business in the Dollar-zone. Online

distribution has much stronger network effects than physical distribution, especially when protected by proprietary platforms and proprietary DRM systems. In consequence the so called winner-takes-it-all phenomenon will become even stronger, and this is happening right now. In order to establish a competitive, level playing field on the content production side, it is necessary to support those who still try to compete in the sector from a European point of view.Online distribution provides enormous opportunities for opening up the market for new, creative, quality driven and European content, but only if our policy makers help ensure fair trading practices, something that is lacking today. Issues regarding of multi-territory licensing play a very minor role in today’s computer games business. The main actors are all global already, with vertically integrated, or fully controlled, distribution channels. This may change in the future.

February 2008

See the whole doc here EGDF Content online position Feb 2008

Was ist los in NRW ?

Mit der erneuten Insolvenz von Ascaron wurde es wieder deutlich, die deutsche Spieleindustrie ist verwundbarer als viele denken. Noch vor kurzem galt Ascaron nicht nur als der größte deutsche Entwickler, sondern auch als Pionier im Bereich des Selfpublishing. Ascaron, der Musterknabe, kommt aus NRW. In NRW sind in den letzten 10 bis 15 Jahren einige Computerspielstudios zusammengebrochen. Das Bundesland NRW, das z.B. jährlich über 30 Millionen EURO an Steuergeldern in die Filmproduktion investiert, hat sich dafür leider nie interessiert. Junge Unternehmen wie Xybris Entertainment verlassen das Bundesland in Richtung Berlin. Erfahrene Spielemacher wie Teut Weidemann verlegen Ihre Aktivität von Nordrhein Westfalen nach Berlin und Hamburg.

Was ist los mit Nordrhein Westfalen? Noch vor 10 Jahren war dieses Bundesland unbestritten das Zentrum der deutschsprachigen Spieleentwicklung. Das ist lange her und manchmal hat es den Anschein, als ob das damals seitens des Landes niemand gemerkt hat. Insgesamt ist NRW als das größte und bevölkerungsreichte Bundesland nicht nur der größte Teilmarkt Deutschlands, sondern auch federführend für alle Bundesländer für den Jugendschutz im Computerspielbereich. Mit der GamesCom wird NRW weiterhin in Zukunft voraussichtlich die größte Computerspiel-Messe Europas beherbergen. Wie kommt es also, dass gerade NRW für Spieleentwickler, also für Unternehmer die konkret Arbeitsplätze der Zukunft schaffen offenbar wenig Aufmerksamkeit und Zuwendung schenkt?

Ursachen für diese Entwicklung sind vielfältig und haben natürlich zunächst mit dem Markt selbst und individuellen unternehmerischen Entscheidungen zu tun. Aber es kann auch sein, dass ein Zusammenhang besteht mit der intransparenten und letztlich wenig entwicklungsfördernden Politik des Landes. Zwar hat Nordrhein Westfalen mit der NRW-Bank und dem Wettbewerb Medien@NRW erste Anstrengungen unternommen um auch Spieleentwicklung zu fördern. Aber eine gamesspezifische Förderung wie Sie andernorts mittlerweile angeboten wird, so in Hamburg, Berlin und im Nordmedia/MDM Raum (vom Ausland ganz zu schweigen),  aber nun auch in Bayern, gibt es in Nordrhein Westfalen nicht. Möglicherweise schreckt die Landesregierung vor pragmatischen Lösungen zurück. Denkbar sind ideologische Gründe einerseits im Bereich des Jugendschutzes, andererseits im Bereich des grundsätzlichen Zurückhaltens bei industrie-politischen Maßnahmen.  Denkbar ist auch, dass in diesem Bundesland Unternehmen erst ab einer Größe des Opel-Werkes in Bochum von der Landesregierung überhaupt wahrgenommen werden. Dass es im digitalen Zeitalter nicht nur auch umfangreiche industrielle Fertigung ankommt, ist vielleicht dort noch nicht so bekannt. Denkbar ist auch, dass sich einige Entscheidungsträger in einer elitären Attitüde den tatsächlich stattfindenden Veränderungen des kulturellen Umfeldes verweigern. Diese Förderpolitik bzw. diese Abwesenheit von Förderpolitik schlägt sich eben leider auch ganz konkret in Unternehmen nieder.

Die kleinteilige Contentetwicklung gerade auch im Bereich Computerspielen ist sehr risikoreich. Es kann jederzeit passieren, dass ein Spieleentwickler Insolvenz anmeldet. Das kann auch auf eigenen unternehmerischen Fehlentscheidungen beruhen. Aber häufig ist dies nicht einmal der Fall. Im Contentbereich ist der Markt sehr volatil und die Cashflow- und Produktionsbeziehungen sehr verletzlich. Aber wie in allen Contentindustrien gilt auch in der Spieleentwicklung: The Winner takes it all. Deswegen ist gerade im Bereich Prototypen, also am Anfang des Entwicklungsprozesses, das Risiko besonders groß, sehr viel höher als etwa in der Film- oder Musikindustrie.

Mit reinem Clustermanagement kann man diesen Herausforderungen nicht begegnen. Netzwerkveranstaltungen sind hilfreich, ein sinnvoller Baustein, der einem Standort auch Prestige bringen kann.   Aber zu einer intelligenten Förderpolitik, die Unternehmen in den riskanten Phasen der Produktion konkret hilft gibt es keine Alternative. Dies gilt umso mehr für einen Bereich wie die Gamesindustrie, die in zahlreichen anderen Ländern massiv gefördert wird, denn mit den Produkten konkurrieren die Unternehmen aus NRW jeden Tag beim Endkonsumenten. Die EU Kommission lässt neuerdings kultur-wirtschaftliche Förderungen in den Mitgliedstaaten in erheblichem Umfang zu. 

Es bleibt zu hoffen, dass das Land Nordrhein Westfalen die Gelegenheit nutz und zur GamesCom ein glaubwürdiges und transparentes Förderungsprogram für Computerspielentwicklung in Nordrhein Westfalen vorlegt auf dem nicht nur „Computerspielentwicklung“ drauf steht sondern bei dem auch „Computerspielentwicklung“ drin ist. Die Messe allein wird es nicht richten; auch in Leipzig ist keine große Spieleentwicklerszene entstanden. Erste vorsichtige Hoffnungszeichen gibt es aus dem Ruhrgebiet. Ob die dortigen Initiativen aber weit über die Vermittlung einer Immobile hinausgehen werden, wird sich noch weisen müssen. Denn noch wäre der Niedergang der  einst großen Spieleentwicklerszene in NRW möglicherweise aufzuhalten, was aber weg ist, bleibt erstmal weg. Möglicherweise für immer. 

Erschienen 2009 in GAMESMARKT