Video gaming in Germany
German production of popular video-games began principally on the 16-bit systems such as the Commodore Amiga and Atari ST in the 1980s, although a number of successful titles were also released on the Commodore 64 which dominated the 8-bit computer market in the country at the time. One of the earliest internationally successful companies was Gütersloh-based Rainbow Arts (founded in 1984) who were, among others, responsible for publishing the popular Turrican series of games. Other popular developers of the 16-bit era included Thalion, Factor 5 (who were responsible for developing the entire Turrican series) and Blue Byte. Blue Byte and Factor 5 remain in existence in 2006 and produce titles for systems such as Windows PCs and seventh generation.
German game production experienced something of a lull during the mid- to late 1990s, before picking up pace again at the turn of the millennium. One of the most famed titles to come out of Germany in recent years is Far Cry by Frankfurt-based Crytek, who also produced Crysis.
Ascaron produced the Elite homage Darkstar One and continued to produce the popular Anstoss (lit. "Kick off") football series of games, the first two installations of which were released under the title On the Ball in English-speaking countries.
Game developers from Germany
|Blue Byte||Düsseldorf||1988||The Settlers series|
|Crytek||Frankfurt||1999||Crysis series, Far Cry|
|Daedalic Entertainment||Hamburg||2007||Deponia series, The Whispered World|
|Piranha Bytes||Essen||1997||Gothic series, Risen series|
|Related Designs||Mainz||1995||Anno series, No Man's Land|
|Yager Development||Berlin||1999||Dead Island 2, Spec Ops: The Line|
|Ascaron||Aachen||1992 (Defunct 2009)||Sacred, DarkStar One|
|Attic Entertainment Software||Albstadt||1990 (Defunct 2001)||Realms of Arkania|
|Factor 5||Cologne||1987 (Defunct 2011)||Turrican|
|EA Phenomic||Ingelheim||1997 (Defunct 2013)||SpellForce|
|Massive Development||Mannheim||1994 (Defunct 2005)||AquaNox|
|Radon Labs||Berlin||1995 (Defunct 2010)||Drakensang|
|Spellbound Entertainment||Offenburg||1994 (Defunct 2012)||Desperados|
|Thalion Software||Gütersloh||1988 (Defunct 1994)||Amberstar, Ambermoon|
Game publishers from Germany
|Bigpoint Games||Hamburg HQ||2002||publisher and developer|
|Deep Silver||Planegg HQ||2002||publisher and developer|
|dtp entertainment||Hamburg HQ||1995||publisher and developer|
|Goodgame Studios||Hamburg HQ||2009||publisher and developer|
|Nintendo of Europe GmbH||Frankfurt||1990||publisher, and main HQ for Nintendo's European division|
|Kalypso Media||Worms HQ||2006||publisher and developer|
|Travian Games||Munich HQ||2005||publisher and developer|
|Wooga||Berlin HQ||2009||publisher and developer|
Popular titles from Germany
- Anno series
- AquaNox series
- Crysis series
- Far Cry
- FIFA Manager series
- Gothic series
- Risen series
- Spec Ops: The Line
- SpellForce series
- The Great Giana Sisters
- The Settlers series
- X series
Within Germany there is a popular taste for historical trade simulations that exceeds that of many other countries, including home-grown ones such as 1602 A.D. and its sequels and The Patrician (video game).
First-person shooters have also been traditionally quite popular in recent years, which has become a controversial debate. There has been much discussion about the violent content of first-person shooter games, and as such these games, especially uncut versions, are highly coveted in gaming circles. It is possible that this popularity has arisen out of a desire to "rebel" against the state, as a thriving trade in so-called "blood patches" (modifications which reinstate the blood and gore of a game into the German version, either hacked executables, executables from another localization, alternative texture files or modifications to configuration files) has been created in recent years.
From 2002 to 2008 the main video gaming trade fair in Germany was the Games Convention which was held annually in Leipzig, and was highly recognized by the press. Since 2009 it was discontinued, as the Gamescom in Cologne took the place of the major gaming trade fair in the world.
The USK and censorship
Violence in video games is a controversial subject in Germany, and German localisations of violent games are often heavily cut by the publishers to permit a public release. Usually this entails a simple removal or reduction of depictions of blood and gore, but often extends to cuts in the content or plot of the game, as was the case in games such as Phantasmagoria, Phantasmagoria: A Puzzle of Flesh, Counter-Strike, Grand Theft Auto, Wolfenstein: The New Order or South Park: The Stick of Truth.
All games that are released to the public are required to carry a certificate given by the USK (Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle - Voluntary Monitoring Organisation of Entertainment Software). If the USK refuses certification of a title, it may be, and often is, placed upon the index. The compulsory nature of the USK label was a consequence of the 2003 modification of the Jugendschutzgesetz.
The 2003 changes to the Jugendschutzgesetz also announced an intent to extend the restrictions on the depiction of violence in video gaming, leaving open the possibility of banning any depiction of violence in video gaming, which was met by widespread outcry from the video gaming community in Germany. The then in power CDU/SPD coalition government announced an intention to enact this in 2005, but in November 2006 it was announced that such restrictions would not be enacted at this time.
- "With 2.66 billions of revenue, Germany is Europe's top video game market, new data by Newzoo and G.A.M.E.". G.A.M.E. Association. 2014-03-01. Retrieved 2014-10-01.
- Mastrapa, Gus (2009-08-17). "Germany Becomes Europe’s Largest Videogame Market". Wired.com. Retrieved 2014-09-18.
- Tatár, Susanna (14 August 2014). "How NVIDIA Will Be Going Big at Gamescom, the World’s Biggest Gaming Show". Nvidia. Retrieved 17 September 2014.