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European developers rally to crowdfunding, according to GDC Europe survey

European developers rally to crowdfunding, according to GDC Europe survey

July 11, 2014 | By GDC Staff

In an effort to better understand the European sector of game development right before GDC Europe, the Game Developers Conference has surveyed over 400 European games industry professionals who have attended GDC shows, read Gamasutra, or plan to attend GDC Europe 2014 in August.

The resulting GDC Europe State of the Industry report offers some interesting insight into which European country is perceived to be a premier development hub, as well as how European developers are adapting to emerging trends like crowdfunding and regional tax incentives for game development.

We've been running stories about the results all week, and yesterday we shared some data regarding tax incentives in the European game industry that suggests many developers are still sore about the subject, despite new tax breaks in the UK and other regions.

Today we dig even deeper into the data and share some anonymous feedback from survey respondents to try and get a better sense of how European developers feel about the state of crowdfunding outside of the U.S., as well as how Kickstarter and other crowdfunding systems can be improved for European use.

Less than ten percent of European developers use crowdfunding for their current project

A little over 6 percent of survey respondents said they were using crowdfunding in their current project. For comparison's sake, roughly 11 percent of GDC SF survey respondents said they accepted crowdfunding this year, up from 4 percent the year prior.

It's worth noting that the Netherlands and the UK are among the only EU countries where you can launch Kickstarters right now, which may explain why many developers wrote in to say Kickstarter was "too difficult" or "not available", while alternatives to Kickstarter were not considered trustworthy.

"There are only good options in the United States of America, which means you always have to convert to and from USD," wrote one survey respondent. "Handling things like VAT should be part of a good European crowdfunding system."

Almost half of European developers surveyed are planning to crowdfund in the future

Looking ahead, just over 41 percent of survey respondents said they were planning to use crowdfunding for their future projects. It's a remarkable surge in interest, and it's driven -- at least in part -- by the demonstrated success small-scale developers like Yacht Club Games (Shovel Knight and Subset Games (FTL).

One survey respondent wrote that crowdfunding platforms "provide opportunities which otherwise wouldn't be possible especially for small teams."

"Crowd-sourced funding is awesome, but could turn out to be some kind of double-edged sword in the future," wrote another.

Others worried that the rapid advent of crowdfuncing in Europe heralds meaningful change in the way games are made. "A game changes a great deal during dev," wrote one respondent. "What was imagined and paid for at the beginning may not be what is delivered at the end."

Some European developers also expressed concern about the challenges of running successful crowdfunding campaigns for new properties. One respondent said that the crowdfunding market is crowded and "led by industry superstars and oldschool IPs that we can't really compete with," making it "not a realistic option for now."

[Organized by UBM Tech Game Network, GDC Europe 2014 -- now in its sixth year in Cologne -- will run Monday through Wednesday, August 11-13 at the Congress-Centrum Ost in Cologne, Germany, co-located with Europe's biggest video game trade and public show gamescom.]

Gamasutra and GDC are sibling organizations under parent UBM Tech.

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