GameCity Hamburg Infografik: Arbeitsmarkt Games-Branche Hamburg © GameCity Hamburg

gameCity:Hamburg sees slight drop in job numbers

Fewer titles and brands earning most turnover - developers' studios finding tough market

The number of jobs in Hamburg’s games sector dropped 5 per cent to 4,295 employees subject to mandatory social insurance contributions, a press release said Friday (December 16). However, the decrease was not as bad as anticipated, a survey conducted in 2016 by gamecity:Hamburg has found. The number of jobs was on a level similar to that of 2014. The survey counted employees in 171 companies along the entire value chain in Hamburg as well as in suppliers such as studios, publishers, sound studios, agencies, start-ups and freelancers outside the metropolitan region.

Huge wave of consolidation

Developers’ studios face a tough national and international market with many competitors. That led to a drop of 229 employees over 2015. Goodgame Studios and Daedalic Entertainment cut back on personnel while other players in Hamburg such as Gamigo Group, InnoGames, Bytro Labs and Xyrality hired personnel.

Oliver Redelfs, the new spokesman for gamecity:Hamburg, said: “Firms in Hamburg have not been spared the huge wave of consolidation in the German games sector. Yet despite stormy times, many games companies like Osmotic, Mooneye Studios and Sviper hoisted their sails successfully. gamecity:Hamburg provided independent studios with advice and assistance through its network activities. Hopefully, young entrepreneurs will have the courage to start up companies in 2017 as well and that those facing termination will stay in the branch with their know-how.”

Start-ups face competition

The divide between small companies with up to ten staff and large studios with over 50 employees is still big. Nine studios with over 50 employees are based in Hamburg. This contrasts with 162 firms with between one and 49 employees. The 9 per cent rise of freelancers and independent projects to 438 compares to an increase of just 40 jobs in 2015. Apart from restructuring in big firms, “Indi Treffs” or meets have pointed to the development in the past two years.

The survey also took views of general trends and market developments into account. The results revealed fears of a “monopolisation of offers” meaning fewer titles and brands are earing more and more turnover. Start-ups and alternative student projects still face competition from top app store games and producers. Mobile versus cross-platform and virtual reality versus retro are also important strategic points on the agenda for 2017.

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