Hipster Ground Zero (Happy Friday)

Game Summer Festival May 31, 2022 in Berlin (photo: GamesWirtschaft)

The German game industry got rid of its nerds in just ten years – and thus became compatible with the political establishment of Berlin.

Dear GamesWirtschaft reader,
Dear GamesWirtschaft reader,

“Industry is also not what it used to be.”

This sentence, which was a mixture of sighs of amazement and admiration, was made just before midnight at the games industry association’s summer party held on Tuesday evening in Berlin near the Chancellery. An acquaintance who was present spoke about it, he was once part of the industry himself, but now tracks outside trade with the necessary distance – that is, he is not considered a suspect when it comes to operational blindness.

Example: In the past, a larger association event would have been unthinkable without Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft. 2022 different: Ironically, at the first party after lonely months of closure, the first three events shone with their physical absence. The game industry in 2022 has almost nothing to do with the “old” game industry, where the marketing and sales silver coins of big publishers regularly accuse buyers and wholesalers of boiled spirits.

Happy Friday - the weekly column on GamesWirtschaft
Happy Friday – the weekly column on GamesWirtschaft

Finally, the ongoing consolidation and compliance of major multinationals contributed to rock’n’roll’s largely leaving the German gaming industry. Today we are faced with a mature industry that leaves the North Face lightweight jackets in the locker room to be on the safe side (“In case it gets cold later”), grabs a ‘vegetarian grilled’ tofu skewer and eats vegan, lactose-free and gluten-free organic cucumber-lemon ice cream.

“Hipster zero point”as another acquaintance used to describe this situation. This is Berlin.

The industry clearly draws in the spirit of the times to the full – also because she can afford it: fruit baskets instead of Kitkat. Gamescom’s groves are reforested and CO2 certifications are certified – just in time for Pride Month, the social media department is repainting the Instagram logo from blue and yellow to the colors of the rainbow.

Attempts to find the right key can be seen everywhere. The climax of the section We’re the good guys so far: “Diversity Space Tool”, anti-stereotype software that the game designers at Activision Blizzard use to screen characters in the game for cultures, ethnicities, age groups, gender, skin color, body shape and deviations from the “beauty ideal” are represented evenly enough.

Missing eye? Make four points. Egyptian? A clear 7 out of 10. Heterosexual tendencies? Zero points. This is what the Oscars are called in the Best Picture category.

What the industry used to be, with all its sucker and cliche, one could only guess on Tuesday – and explains why politicians are increasingly looking for closeness to the gaming industry. And not at a distance anymore, like ten years ago. Then, in spring 2012, CDU Minister of Culture Bernd Neumann, as the host of the official German Computer Games Award, was publicly ashamed that Crisis 2 how “Germany’s best game” was selected. First person shooter from Frankfurt, free from 18 years old – outrageous, something like that.

Large parts of the CDU / CSU factions were also dissatisfied with the overall situation. Media policy spokesman Wolfgang Börnsen was furious: “So-called killer games cannot be rewarded, even if they are technically mature.” Börnsen signaled on behalf of his party that the jury would be open to a new nomination.

The jury also included Thomas Jarzombek, then and now a member of the Bundestag on behalf of the CDU Crisis 2 they defended themselves as best they could, and were also noticed at the end of this year’s summer gaming festival.

At that time, Habecka’s secretary of state, Michael Kellner, and his entourage had already left the headquartersprobably still inspired by the round village romance and Nintendo sports. The waiter – which is certain from the beginning of February at the latest – replaced Dorothee Bär as the new leading ally of the German video game lobby. Not only because the Green politician likes to use the gamepad privately, but also because his ministry will donate several hundred million euros to German studies in the coming years.

On August 24, Kellner’s boss will come to Cologne-DeutzTo unlock Gamescom 2022: Robert Habeck, currently at the zenith of ZDF’s political barometer popularity, is the second economy minister and vice-chancellor at Gamescom after 2013, where his FDP predecessor Philip Rösler wandered around the site (the elders remember).

If so is the official fair motto “Gamescom Goes Green” that is, the manuscript of the speech is almost self-written.

Fresh, varied, inclusive, vegan, low alcohol, digital but somewhat climate neutral: If you still needed proof that the German game industry is no longer what it used to be, then you just had to wander the Games Summer Festival wide-eyed.

And honestly, that’s okay.

Have a nice weekend

Petra Happy
Editor-in-chief of Gry Wirtschaft

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