We’ve asked some of the leading figures in the Danish games industry about how they feel about the new agreement concerning the future of the Danish cultural game support.
Last week, the political parties of the Danish Parliment finally reached a new agreement, outlining the future for the support for Danish film and game development. The agreement doubles the amount of game support to $1.68 million / year, but still falls short of the $2.5 – $4.17 million / year that had been suggested by the administrators of the game support, The Danish Film Institute, and the industry itself. To read more about the finer detail in the agreement, check out our rundown of the new agreement here.
We’ve asked some of the leading figures in the Danish games industry how they feel about the new agreement.
Klaus Hansen, CEO of Producentforeningen (trade association for Danish Game Developers)
“I think it important to point out that the agreement has four elements. (1) More money, but not enough, (2) The establishment of a game office, whose role I’m not completely sure about yet, but still a sign of an increased interest. (3) An acknowledgement that we have to look more at investment financing from the Vækstfond and others. Not really binding, but again, a sign of an increased interest and (4) that games are now a complete support area on par with the other support programmes in the Danish Film Institute.”
While we didn’t get what we asked for, it’s still an improvement, so it’s quite possible to see the agreement in a positive light
Klaus Hansen tells Nordic Game Bits that he also believes the politicians have felt that doubling the amount of money available for support was a very big thing to do, and that he felt there was an astonishment among the politicians, when they were told, that this was not enough.
He also says that one of the reasons there were no more money for the games part was, that there was a preset amount available for the agreement, and there was a political wish to not take money away from the film department. “They did not want to change the film part, which in their eyes also have some political success-parameters that are different than the ones games have, and have potential for.”
Hansen also emphasizes that this agreement shows that all political parties now show some interest in the games medium.
The big success in this process with the agreement, has been that games now have ambassadors in all political parties. Even parties that were previously staunch opponents of cultural support for games, have been converted.
Per Rosendal, serial entrepreneur in the Danish games industry and founder of a number of studios.
I think we need to be very critical of the new agreement. Your immediate reaction might be that double the amount sounds good, but numerically the amount is so small it’s almost laughable.
Per Rosendal tells Nordic Game Bits that while the new agreement allows for supporting a larger number of prototypes (which he remarks, rarely amounts to anything), the limited funds means that the support program will not be able to deliver meaningful support for actual production, which he sees as a vital item for the Danish games industry to evolve. And he is especially disappointed, because he feels that the agreement was a close call.
It was so little that was needed to make a significant difference, and apart from the government-forming parties, most of the other partners in the agreement were ready to do what was necessary.
Jan Neiiendam, Chief Project Officer at support organisation Interactive Denmark
“It’s positive, that there is a political backing for games among all the parties,” he tells Nordic Game Bits. “And seen in isolation, a doubling of the available funds is generous”
But it’s does not measure up with what the Film Institute and Producentforeningen’s estimates on what’s necessary to enable the creative potential and growth possibilities of the industry
However, Neiiendam does have some hope regarding the new “game office”, which is supposed to develop the innovative aspects of the Danish games industry. “I hope that this will allow us to have a continuous dialogue with the Film Institute, where both parties proactively and specifically will try and get the maximum number of synergies going between the cultural- and business possibilities in the Danish games industry, rather than having the Film Institute just act as administrators of the support programme.
Lau Korsgaard, Creative Director at KnapNok Games
“I think the intentions of the agreement are good. It’s good that support for production and launching are now available, and it’s good that they removed the criteria that all supported games had to be for kids and youth. ”
But there is just not enough money. The support for production, which is what could really makes a difference, I really can’t see how that can be afforded.
Korsgaard stresses that he doesn’t feel like the agreement is a complete failure. But the outcome means that we will still only see games be financed on purely commercial terms. “We will be able to get funding for prototypes and idea development, but it limits the projects you work on immensely, if you know, that you have to finance it commercially. We won’t get games that work in some specific Danish context and addresses Danish themes. Our market is just too small for that to work.”
Regarding the new game-office for innovation, he believes it’s usefulness will depend on how exactly it will end up working. “It can be fine, if it’s going to support grassroots initiatives like Lyst Summit, Exile Game Jam, Counterplay. But connecting it with DADIU and The Animations Workshop is really messy, and an example of politicians trying to make ‘their’ educations relevant. I think the tendency in film support, that almost only supports people educated from the Film School is very unfortunate, and somthing we have been able to avoid in the game support programme. I don’t hope this is a step in the wrong direction.”
And Korsgaard also has a final plea regarding the support for launching a game, which is also one of the new additions in the agreement.
I really hope it will only be support for Danish PR. Not because developers will like it, but because we as an industry need to market ourselves better in our own country. If not, we’ll find ourselves in the same position in four years, when the next film agreement will be negotiated.
Be sure to also check out our detailed rundown of the new agreement here.