Video games in Germany

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Germany has the second-largest video games market in Europe, with 44.3 million gamers in 2018, after Russia.[1][2][3] Consumers in Germany spent €5.87 billion on video games over the course of 2021, a 3 percent year-on-year increase from 2020.[4] The video game market in Germany grew by 6 percent to €6.2 billion ($6.7 billion) in 2019.[5]

The annual Gamescom in Cologne is the world's largest video game expo by number of attendees.[6]

Home production[edit]


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. 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 Windows PCs.

Modern day[edit]

By 2002, German games were heavily tilted toward construction and management simulations, according Der Spiegel's Frank Patalong. He noted that "nowhere else in the world are simulations as successful as here at home. Titles such as The Settlers, Die Völker [and] Anno 1602 have dominated the German sales charts for years".[7] Released in 1998, Anno 1602 by Sunflowers Interactive was Germany's best-selling computer game of all time as of December 2002, with sales of 2.5 million copies worldwide and 1.7 million in the German market.[8] Its sequel, Anno 1503, broke its sales record to become Germany's fastest full-price computer game to reach 500,000 domestic sales.[9] It ultimately sold over one million units in German-speaking countries,[10] and, when combined with its predecessor, reached 4.5 million sales worldwide by October 2006.[11] The titles began the Anno series.

One of the most famed titles to come out of Germany is Far Cry by Frankfurt-based Crytek, who also produced Crysis. Factor 5 had been concentrating on the Star Wars: Rogue Squadron series of video games from 1999 until 2003, and released Lair, an action game for the PlayStation 3, in 2007.

Ascaron produced the Elite homage Darkstar One, and continued to produce the popular Anstoss (lit. 'Kickoff') series of football games, the first two installations of which were released under the title On the Ball in English-speaking countries.

The German Government, as a part of the Gamescom fair, has introduced an investment programme aimed towards the countrywide online games industry, with a purpose to offer assistance of as much as 50% of the cost of development.[12]


Game developers from Germany[edit]

Company Location Founded Known for
A Grumpy Fox Frankfurt 2017 Lunistice
Aesir Interactive Munich 2013 (Founded) Police Simulator: Patrol Officers
Animation Arts Creative Halle 2003 Secret Files series, Lost Horizon, Lost Horizon 2
Black Pants Studio Berlin 2010 Tiny & Big in Grandpa's Leftovers, About Love, Hate and the other ones series, On Rusty Trails
Bytro Labs GmbH
(DE wiki)
Hamburg 2009 Supremacy 1914, Call of War 1942, Conflict of Nations: WW3, Iron Order 1919.
Ubisoft Blue Byte Düsseldorf 1988 The Settlers series, Assassin's Creed Identity
Ubisoft Berlin Berlin 2018 Far Cry series
Chimera Entertainment
(DE wiki)
Munich 2006 Angry Birds Epic, Angry Birds Evolution
Clockwork Origins Erlangen 2018 Elemental War series, Tri6: Infinite
Common Colors Langen 2016 PRIM
Crytek Frankfurt 1999 Crysis series, Far Cry, Warface
Daedalic Entertainment Hamburg 2007 Deponia series, The Whispered World
Deck13 Frankfurt 2001 Ankh series, Jack Keane, Blood Knights, Lords of the Fallen, The Surge
Egosoft Würselen 1988 X series
Elaborate Games Würzburg 2019 Elaborate Lands
Electrocosmos [a] Berlin 2012 Runic Rampage, The Plague Doctor of Wippra
Encrypt Games Germany 2020 Lake Haven
Fluppisoft Aschau im Chiemgau 2015 Brick Rigs
Gaming Minds Studios Gütersloh 2009 DarkStar One, Patrician IV, Port Royale 3, The Dark Eye: Demonicon, Railway Empire
Gentlymad Studios UG [b] Wiesbaden 2014 In Between (2015), Endzone: A World Apart
Hexagon Sphere Games UG Hanover 2020 Sphere - Flying Cities
InnoGames Hamburg 2007 Tribal Wars, Forge of Empires
Joymania Development GmbH [c]
(DE wiki)
Mülheim 1997 (Founded) Knights and Merchants, Santa Claus in Trouble (series)
Keen Games [d]
(DE wiki)
Frankfurt 2005 Secret Files: Tunguska, Anno: Create A New World, Sacred 3
King Art Games Bremen 2000 The Book of Unwritten Tales, The Dwarves, Iron Harvest
LAB132 Ostfildern 2017
Limbic Entertainment
(DE wiki)
Langen 2002 Might & Magic Heroes VI series (Co-dev.), Might & Magic X: Legacy, Might & Magic Heroes VII series, Tropico 6 series
Mad about Pandas UG
(Ex-kunst-stoff GmbH till ~2016) [e]
Berlin 2005 Hitchhiker - A Mystery Game
Mimimi Games Munich 2011 Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun, Desperados III
Navel GbR Ludwigsburg 2013 Mimics, Tilt Pack
Nine Worlds Studios Munich 2021 Tropico 7
OMYOG Games Cologne 2020 Project Ferocious
Piranha Bytes Essen 1997 Gothic series, Risen series, ELEX
Proxy Studios Erlangen 2009 Conquest: Divide and Conquer, Pandora: First Contact, WH40K: Gladius – Relics of War, ZEPHON
Radical Fish Games Saarbrücken 2010 CrossCode
Randwerk Cooperative Berlin 2020 ABRISS - build to destroy
Realmforge Studios Munich 2008 Ceville, M.U.D. TV, Dungeons, Dark, Spacebase Startopia
Related Designs (Blue Byte Mainz) [f] Mainz 1995 Anno series, No Man's Land, Might and Magic: Heroes Online
SureAI Tutzing 2003 Mad Restaurant People, Dreadful River. Mods for The Elder Scrolls & Fallout series.
Yager Development Berlin 1999 Dead Island 2, Spec Ops: The Line

Former studios[edit]

Company Location Founded Known for
Ascaron Gütersloh 1992 (Defunct 2009) Sacred, DarkStar One
Attic Entertainment Software Albstadt 1990 (Defunct 2001) Realms of Arkania: Shadows over Riva
Coreplay [g] Munich 2007 (Migrated to THQ Nordic as Grimlore Games in 2013) Germany's Next Topmodel 2009, Ion Assault, Jagged Alliance: Back in Action
EA Phenomic Ingelheim 1997 (Defunct 2013) SpellForce: The Order of Dawn
Factor 5 Cologne 1987 (Defunct 2011) Star Wars: Rogue Squadron (series), Turrican
Fusionsphere Systems Aichach 2006 (Defunct 2017)
(Merged into Animation Arts)
Secret Files series
House of Tales Bremen 1998 (Defunct 2010) The Mystery of the Druids, The Moment of Silence, Overclocked, 15 Days
Intergenies Coesfeld 1999 (Inactive after 2017) DoveZ - The Second Wave
Kritzelkratz 3000 GmbH Würzburg 1996 (Inactive after 2016) Go Kart Challenge (1999), Far West (2002. Co-dev.), Railroad Pioneer
LightBrain GmbH Ellerau 2001 (Defunct 2009) BomberFUN
Massive Development Mannheim 1994 (Defunct 2005) AquaNox
Master Creating GmbH Hamburg 2001 (Defunct 2007) Krakout Unlimited, Restricted Area, Legend: Hand of God
NEON Software GmbH [h]
(DE wiki)
Germany (Frankfurt?) 1993 (Defunct 2005) Mr. Nutz: Hoppin' Mad, Tunnel B1, Armorines: Project S.W.A.R.M. (GBC), Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX (GBC), Legend of Kay
NumLock Software Ludwigshafen 1994 (Defunct/inactive 2008) Metalheart: Replicants Rampage, Campus: Student Life Simulation
Playcademy Germany 2012 (Est.) (Defunct 2018) Mobile/Hidden object games: eg. Farmington Tales, Tales of Lagoona
Radon Labs Berlin 1995 (Defunct 2010) Drakensang: The Dark Eye
Software 2000 (Ex-Cybernetic Corporation) Eutin 1987 (Defunct 2002) Pizza Tycoon, Exploration, Ocean Trader, Swing (1997), Fast Food Tycoon
Spellbound Entertainment Offenburg 1994 (Defunct 2012) Desperados: Wanted Dead or Alive, Robin Hood: The Legend of Sherwood
Thalion Software Gütersloh 1988 (Defunct 1994) Amberstar, Ambermoon
Wings Simulations GmbH
(DE wiki)
Hattingen 1996 (Closed by JoWood in 2005) Panzer Elite, Söldner: Secret Wars


Company Location Founded Known for
MAWI United GmbH Wuppertal 2009 Sells AAA environment asset packs; makes high end animations, VFX, cinematics, pipeline development & real-time 3D renders (including tech demos).

Game publishers from Germany[edit]

Company Location Founded Type
Aeria Games [i] Berlin HQ 2006 (Founded in San Francisco) publisher (online games) (DE wiki)
Application Systems Heidelberg 1985 publisher, distributor and developer. (DE wiki)
Assemble Entertainment Wiesbaden HQ 2016 publisher and developer. (DE wiki)
Astragon Düsseldorf 2000 publisher
Bigpoint Games Hamburg HQ 2002 publisher and developer
bitComposer Interactive Eschborn HQ 2009 publisher and former developer
Blankhans Oberhaching HQ 2021 publisher and developer (online)
Broken Lobster Berlin HQ 2021 publisher and developer
ByteRockers' Games Berlin HQ 2008 publisher and developer (casual)
CipSoft Regensburg 2001 publisher and developer (online games). (DE wiki)
Competition Company GmbH Munich HQ 2020 publisher, marketing and developer (sims)
deCode GmbH Freising HQ 2018 (Ex-Descape GmbH till 2020) publisher and developer (websites, also games)
FDG Entertainment Munich HQ 2001 core publisher and mobile developer.
GameDuell Berlin HQ 2003 distributor and developer
Gameforge Karlsruhe HQ 2003 publisher
gamigo Hamburg HQ 2000 publisher. (DE wiki)
Goodgame Studios Hamburg HQ 2009 publisher and developer
HandyGames Giebelstadt 2000 publisher and developer
Headup Games Düren 2009 publisher and developer
HH-Games Frankfurt 2018 publisher and former developer (casual)
Kalypso Media Worms HQ 2006 publisher and developer
MegaZebra Munich HQ 2008 publisher and developer
Mooneye Studios Hamburg 2014 publisher and developer
Nintendo of Europe GmbH Frankfurt HQ 1990 publisher and main HQ for Nintendo's European division
Overhype Studios Hamburg HQ 2014 publisher and developer
Pixelsplit Simulations Frankfurt 2017 publisher and developer
Rohn Media GmbH Leipzig HQ 2014 publisher and developer (mobile/web)
TopWare Interactive Karlsruhe 1996 publisher and former developer
Travian Games Munich HQ 2005 publisher and developer
Ulisses Digital Waldems HQ 1991 publisher and developer. (DE wiki - Board games firm)
United Soft Media Munich HQ 1994 publisher. (DE wiki)
Wooga Berlin HQ 2009 publisher and developer

Former publishers[edit]

Company Location Founded Type
dtp entertainment Hamburg HQ 1995 (Defunct 2012) publisher and developer
Rainbow Arts [j]
(DE wiki)
Gütersloh HQ 1984 (Defunct 1999) publisher, developer, producer and porting


Popular titles from Germany[edit]


Within Germany there is a popular taste for historical trade and warfare simulations, notably exceeding that of many other countries. Some German-developed titles in this genre, such as 1602 A.D. and its sequels, and The Patrician, have also been successful abroad.

Vehicle simulator games are also very popular in Germany.[15] Many add-on developers for established simulator franchises, including Train Simulator and Microsoft Flight Simulator, are based in Germany, with one of the most popular, Aerosoft, being based in North Rhine-Westphalia.

First-person shooters have also been traditionally quite popular in recent years, and there has been considerable debate about and censorship of the violent content of many such games. Consequently these games, especially uncut versions, became highly coveted in gaming circles for many years (though the modern Internet and VPNs allow players virtually anywhere to obtain a game from, or play on a server hosted in, virtually any other jurisdiction today).

Trade fairs[edit]

Games Convention 2006 in Leipzig, Germany

From 2002 to 2008 the main video game 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 video game trade fair in the world.

The USK, BPjM and censorship[edit]

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 Phantasmagoria, Phantasmagoria: A Puzzle of Flesh, Counter-Strike, Grand Theft Auto, Wolfenstein: The New Order, and 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). The compulsory nature of the USK label was a consequence of the 2003 modification of the Jugendschutzgesetz or youth protection law. If the USK has not issued a label, a game may be placed upon the "index" of media harmful to youth kept by the BPjM (Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons). This results, at least, in a ban on promoting the game in any way and strict requirements for age checks. As prosecutors are inconsistent on whether reviews are a form of promotion this creates a chilling effect on games journalism for the affected titles. The strict requirements for age checks frequently lead to a game being taken off the market entirely, or only being made available in a cut version even for adults, due to economic considerations by developers/publishers. Independently, courts may also issue confiscation orders against games deemed to be especially egregious, resulting in an outright ban.

The 2003 changes to the Jugendschutzgesetz also announced an intent to extend the restrictions on the depiction of violence in video games, leaving open the possibility of banning any depiction of violence in video games, which was met by widespread outcry from the video game community in Germany. The then in power CDU/SPD coalition government announced an intention to enact this in 2005, but in November 2006 such restrictions were not enacted at that time.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Electrocosmos also does co-dev & apps.
  2. ^ Gentlymad Studios was acquired by publisher Assemble Entertainment in Oct 2017.[13][14]
  3. ^ Joymania Entertainment's founders previously worked at Blue Byte Software GmbH. Their new studio was initially named "Ohlmann Peter & Sprys Adam GbR" in 1997-1998. Ex-Joymania Entertainment in 1998-2002.
  4. ^ Keen Games GmbH & Co. KG is the spiritual successor to Neon Studios with several of its co-founders.
  5. ^ Mad about Pandas UG's prior firm name 'kunst-stoff' also did co-dev, edutainment, gamification, AR/VR & interactive apps.
  6. ^ Related Designs Software was renamed Ubisoft Mainz in 2019.
  7. ^ Coreplay's co-founder Peter Ohlmann previously worked at Blue Byte Software GmbH and early version of Joymania Entertainment.
  8. ^ NEON Software GmbH (aka. Neon Studios) was bought by JoWood in 2000, but then closed down due to latter's financial difficulties. Different co-founders/shareholders later founded ZEAL GmbH, 49Games GmbH, & Keen Games. One co-founder previously founded Kaiko GmbH.
  9. ^ Aeria Games merged with gamigo in mid-2016.
  10. ^ Most of Rainbow Arts people moved to or formed new companies in the late 1980's/early 1990's (e.g. Blue Byte, Factor 5, Spellbound Entertainment). Rainbow Arts became part of Softgold/Funsoft, then bought out by THQ in 1999.


  1. ^ "Germany Games Market 2018", New Zoo, July 25, 2018
  2. ^ "With 2.66 billions Euros of revenue, Germany is Europe's top video game market, new data by Newzoo and G.A.M.E." German Games Industry Association (GAME). 1 March 2014. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  3. ^ Mastrapa, Gus (17 August 2009). "Germany Becomes Europe's Largest Videogame Market". Retrieved 18 September 2014.
  4. ^ "Germany's Gaming Market". 31 October 2021.
  5. ^ Kerr, Chris (23 April 2020). "The German game market grew by 6 percent in 2019 thanks to in-game spending".
  6. ^ Tatár, Susanna (14 August 2014). "How Nvidia Will Be Going Big at Gamescom, the World's Biggest Gaming Show" (Press release). Nvidia. Archived from the original on July 30, 2016. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  7. ^ Patalong, Frank (January 11, 2002). "Wuselige Zeitreise". Der Spiegel (in German). Archived from the original on November 30, 2018.
  8. ^ "Platin für Anno 1503". n-tv (in German). December 26, 2002. Archived from the original on November 30, 2018.
  9. ^ Steininger, Stefan (January 21, 2004). "Anno 1503 schlägt Anno 1602". GamesMarkt (in German). Archived from the original on November 30, 2018.
  10. ^ "FIFA 17 verkauft eine Millionen Units auf PS4 in Deutschland". GamesMarkt (in German). May 15, 2017. Archived from the original on December 1, 2018.
  11. ^ "Teuerstes Spiel aus Deutschland". n-tv (in German). October 23, 2006. Archived from the original on January 1, 2010.
  12. ^ Cooper, Jonathan (2019-01-14), "The Game Development Environment", Game Anim Video Game Animation Explained, Boca Raton, FL: A K Peters/CRC Press, pp. 11–26, doi:10.1201/b22299-2, ISBN 978-1-315-10587-1, S2CID 68062426, retrieved 2022-04-30
  13. ^ "Assemble Entertainment acquires Gentlymad Studios". (in German). GamesWirtschaft. October 26, 2017. Archived from the original on December 4, 2022. Retrieved 25 January 2023.
  14. ^ Madeline Ricchiuto (November 2, 2017). "Assemble Entertainment Has Established Their First Internal Development Studio". Bleeding Cool. Avatar Press. Archived from the original on January 13, 2022. Retrieved 25 January 2023.
  15. ^ "How Germans do escapism". Archived from the original on 2017-06-07. Retrieved 2017-06-02.