ALL EYES ON INDIE- Interview with the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg

ALL EYES ON INDIE is a matchmaking format of the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg. The focus is on indie games projects and publishers. We spoke with Vanessa Zeuch, location development officer at Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, about the criticism of the federal government’s games funding, how matchmaking works, and how ALL EYES ON INDIE complements gamesweekberlin.

ALL EYES ON INDIE- Interview with the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg

Vanessa Zeuch

Ms. Zeuch, how did the idea of such a matchmaking event come about?

Thanks to its many years of successful funding, the Medienboard is very well informed about the needs of the games industry in Berlin and Brandenburg. In addition, we actively strive for an open exchange and have introduced the format of industry roundtables for this purpose, where we talk about the current challenges of media creators in small, confidential groups with changing participants. Networking between developers and publishers has become more difficult due to the events that were cancelled due to the pandemic, and it is precisely this need that we are responding to with ALL EYES ON INDIE.

How exactly does matchmaking work and how were the participants, both publishers and investors as well as developers, selected?

In this first edition of matchmaking, we focused on indie games projects for platform/PC and also selected the publishers to ensure the best possible fit between portfolio and project. The matchmaking is free of charge and open to all developers from the capital region and all over Germany to create a low-threshold offer for all interested parties. We are very happy with the projects submitted, which reflect a wide creative range: Narrative Adventures, 2.5D Metroidvania, Card Games, Point & Click RPG, Co-op Survival Game, Single-Player VR and a Serious Game leave nothing to be desired.

While the developers are primarily local or national, they are also brought together with international investors. How great is the international interest in German indie games?

From the feedback we receive from publishers, it is very clear that the German and especially the Berlin-Brandenburg indie games industry enjoys a very good reputation – it is not for nothing that we have publishers from all over the world – from Canada to China. Overall, the Berlin games scene is very international and diverse. Our location is traditionally characterized by a strong, creative developer scene, and this is also appreciated by the international community. Sweden, for example, is the largest investor in the German video game industry. Working conditions and jobs are secure here, so the risk for investors is lower, and the funding – regional and federal – means that many teams bring secured equity.

The federal government’s games funding has been criticized for having major barriers for developers, as game recently reported. Is direct networking with industry funders a better way forward for the industry and small studios?

Federal funding is an important instrument and its volume is absolutely welcome as a sign of appreciation for games at the political level. The cumulation of regional and federal funding enables developers to handle larger project volumes, which in turn makes the projects more interesting for investors and publishers. We are therefore observing fundamentally positive developments emanating from federal funding. The project sponsor will certainly use the feedback from the industry to optimize the funding processes. However, it won’t be possible without a certain amount of bureaucracy, considering that the projects receive grants from taxpayers’ money, some of which runs into the millions.

Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg is a sponsor of gamesweekberlin. How is ALL EYES ON INDIE involved here and how does the cooperation work? How important are events like gamesweekberlin for Berlin’s reputation as a games location?

The Medienboard has been supporting gamesweekberlin and its predecessor, the German Games Days, for many years. There is no other event that appeals to such a diverse target group. In 2019, a total of 25,000 visitors from all over the world attended the event! The online edition of the conference last year was also able to provide a focal point for the international community, and with the variety of formats – from Womenize! to Dev Booster to Career Day and many other events – also represents the breadth of the location. For this reason, and also due to the long-standing very good partnership, gamesweekberlin is an excellent platform for ALL EYES ON INDIE – and the matchmaking event is a wonderful addition to the event.

We would like to thank Vanessa Zeuch for the interview. 

Read more about gamesweekberlin in our interview with Michael Liebe and Lena Alter.

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