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Felix Zimmermann

To person

is a scholarship holder of the a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School for the Humanities Cologne. His research on digital games moves at the interface between public history and game studies. [email protected]

Computer and video games or "digital games" - as the scientific term is - are a global phenomenon. So if this article asks about the importance of digital games and the digital game industry in Germany, then the German must always be seen as part of an international industry. [1] Game manufacturers such as Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts or Ubisoft are now producing all over the world and are increasingly expensive. Digital games are often developed in parallel in several studios on different continents, and the production costs of individual game titles can well be several hundred million US dollars. The key players in the industry are generally reluctant to provide precise figures on production and marketing budgets; However, an impression of the extent of the prominent large-scale productions is provided by the reports of new sales successes that are in no way inferior to the box office results of Hollywood film productions: For example, the Wild West adventure game "Red Dead Redemption 2" played over 725 in just three days in October 2018 Million US dollars - the second most successful release of an entertainment product to date and only surpassed by one other game, "Grand Theft Auto V", which raised over a billion US dollars in the first three days after its release in 2013. [ 2]

How can the German digital games industry be classified in this international context? Between lighthouse projects such as "Grand Theft Auto" and the first attempts at programming on the home computer, there are countless versions of digital games that can give impetus even without a budget of millions and can reach a large group of players. There are also games from Germany that are created by multinational teams of designers, producers, graphic artists, programmers, authors, composers and testers (hereinafter simply referred to as developers ) - and in this country too, the industry has grown in importance culturally, economically and politically in recent years.

To get closer to the digital game industry, I will first give an overview of the key players and describe how certain discourses have shaped the German digital game landscape. Then I will go into the economic (and thus political) importance of the games industry and take a closer look at Germany as a production location and sales market for digital games, in order to conclude with a brief outlook.