Updated April 2
The outbreak of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) has the modern world facing its biggest health crisis ever. This blog post contains useful information and tips regarding the coronacrisis and the effects on the #BelgianGamesIndustry. We’ll update this post regularly to reflect the most recent and relevant information.
Polling financial impact
Of course we wish our beautiful industry will be spared for the most part, but there’s a very real chance the #BelgianGamesIndustry will be impacted on the long term by this enormous health crisis. At a later time, we will be polling you about the exact financial impact of COVID-19 on your business. The more data we have, the better chance of getting even better support. In the meantime don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have specific questions. And please scroll down for more information.
VLAIO lists all existing support measures that are in effect (links in Dutch) with additional information on how to proceed.
Here are some direct links to a few support measures that can be of help to your business.
- There is a compensation of €3.000 for any entrepreneur or company losing at least 60% of income these past few weeks due to the coronacrisis.
- If you’re self-employed and you decide to suspend your activities (link in Dutch) for at least 30 days, you can get up to € 1624 per month (with a max. of 12 months). If there’s no way you can make use of your employees, there’s also special rulings concerning temporary unemployment (link in Dutch).
- You’re allowed to request a delay or remission of payment for social contributions (link in Dutch) for yourself, a co-working partner, or your employees (link in Dutch).
- Business affected by the coronacrisis can request special payment plans for their taxes (link in Dutch). On top of that property tax (link in Dutch) won’t be collected before autumn.
- Some cities and municipalities (link in Dutch) are offering special subsidies and payment breaks to local businesses.
- The terms of certain allocated VLAIO subsidies and PMV loans will be altered.
These measures were announced in waves, on March 6 the government launched 10 measures, on March 20 a second package of measures was launched. On March 22, the Cabinet of Finance together with our national banks announced financial guarantees for a total amount of €50 billion. And more recently, the government decided that VAT repayments will be processed faster (all links in Dutch).
In light of the ongoing crisis VAF/GAME made changes to their support directives and guidelines (link in Dutch), providing our local studios more time and flexibility until the end of this year.
They are also polling financial and economic impact on our sector. Please do contact them if you encounter difficulties and could use support from them.
Help by other partners
FlandersDC is keeping track of creative ways to battle the virus (link in Dutch), including some local videogame initiatives we also reported on. FlandersDC also boasts an overview of all temporary measures, neatly summed up in Dutch.
Cultuurloket is offering advice and support for the cultural sector (link in Dutch).
FIT published information on their approach (link in Dutch) and also compiled a dossier with best practices regarding international entrepreneurship (link in Dutch) during the coronacrisis.
Unity is offering complimentary access to Unity Learn Premium for 3 months (March 19 through June 20). Get exclusive access to Unity experts, live interactive sessions, on-demand learning resources and more.
Events and deadlines
There’s a lot of game events and deadlines that have been axed or postponed, online events have popped up. Calendar Man continuously updates our event calendar. Check it out or better yet, subscribe to stay up to date.
- E3 2020 (US) has been cancelled.
- EGX Rezzed (UK) has been postponed to July 2-4.
- FACTS Spring Edition (BE) has been cancelled.
- Quo Vadis (GER) has been postponed and will now run next to EGX Berlin, October 29-30.
- A MAZE (GER) has been postponed to July 22-25.
- Others events are replacing their physical happenings with digital ones for the time being.
- There’s also completely new virtual events, such as Pocket Gamer Connects Digital (April 6-10), gamedev.world (March 27-April 3), Global Games Pitch (April 16-17) and more.
gamescom preparations are going ahead as planned for now, the fair will not be postponed according to organizers, but they also announced that gamescom could switch to digital only. This decision will be made mid May. Registrations for #BelgianGamesIndustry booth will not launch before that decision and we advise you to hold off on any planning that can lead to costs (e.g. for travel, book with free cancellation option).
Work from home
One of the most important things you can do is follow the government guidelines (link in Dutch). Limit your human interactions, and work from home if possible. A lot of Belgian studios are working from home already.
This may get more complicated if you have small children that don’t go to school (we are currently writing this with a toddler humming in the background), but try to work out a schedule so you can still get some work done.
Stay safe and help others
Our industry has always been known for its close-knit community. We’re always willing and able to help each other out and that’s a trait we will need more than ever in the coming weeks. So apart from all the economics, it’s perhaps even more important to look out for each other and care for one another. We can only beat this beast with our most fierce power: being human. Stay safe, everyone!