That’s a wrap on the first day of gamescom 2018 and what a day it was! From politicians (with in their wake a real press army) checking out games left and right, over exciting publishing announcements, to yet another memorable award, gamescom couldn’t have started any better for the #BelgianGamingIndustry.
Last night at our Belgian Beer Cafe Flemish minister of Media, Culture, Youth and Brussels Sven Gatz delivered a powerful speech. The 30 companies exhibiting at this year’s gamescom have generated a total turnover of 86 million euros in 2017. A very large part of that is thanks to the enormous success of Larian’s Divinity: Original Sin 2 – who were able to add the gamescom award for best RPG to their already impressive trophy cabinet yesterday.
The major challenge is to try and get more Belgian studios competing internationally on the same level. To reach that goal, the Flemish government has approved a plan of action for the Flemish games industry. Increasing the strength and funding power of VAF Gamefonds was one of the first steps, but there’s more where that came from.
Acknowledging the need for a bigger international presence, he announced that during GDC 19 the Flemish games industry would get their very own exhibition booth, courtesy of FIT. In addition, an on-site program with showcases and networking events will be organised by Flanders DC, VAF, the Department of Culture, Youth and Media and a number of partners such as Cronos Interactive and HOWEST. Our third consecutive mission to San Francisco will prove the biggest yet, so stay tuned for more information in the coming months.
But we also need to celebrate local talent within our own borders. This will happen at the just announced Belgian Games Awards 2019, taking place on February 15 during 1UP Conference in Kortrijk Xpo and hosted by gaming enthusiast William Boeva. More information on how to enter the competition will follow shortly.
Finally, the minister expressed his continued support for a federal tax shelter, as financing remains a big challenge for our studios. The latest news on this is that two political parties (Open VLD, followed by CD&V) have submitted a proposal. Both parties are now discussing how to come to an agreement that parliament can fully support. No white smoke yet, but at least the topic has made the political agenda.
These measures go a long way in improving the strength of our beautiful industry. Here’s hoping that it all results in more quality game experiences that will get international acclaim. With highly promising games like Flotsam and Ary & The Secret of Seasons (find and play them all week at the IndieArenaBooth in Hall 10) scoring major world wide publishing deals recently, we are certainly moving in the right direction.
As always: a warm thank you to the wonderful people at Flanders DC, who turn gamescom into an essential experience. They couldn’t do that without the valuable support of Digital Wallonia, Brussels Invest and Export, Screen Brussels, VAF Gamefonds, WALGA, Creative Europe and ADN. Thank you all!