Tonight the winners of the Dutch Game Awards were announced at the leading award show for Dutch game developers. This twelfth edition of the award show took place during Dutch Media Week at Beeld en Geluid in Hilversum.

Winners

The Dutch Game Awards has several categories, from ‘Best Game’ to ‘Best Innovation’ and four special awards. The winners are chosen by a professional and diverse jury. In addition to an award, the winners also receive a place in the collection of Sound and Vision, where the titles are preserved as cultural heritage for eternity. And the winners are…!

Best Game: Horizon: Forbidden West – Guerrilla Games
Best Art: Horizon: Forbidden West – Guerrilla Games
Best Audio: Horizon: Forbidden West – Guerrilla Games
Best Innovation: Stacklands – Sokpop Collective
Best Technology: Horizon: Forbidden West – Guerrilla Games
Best Game Design: We Were Here Forever – Total Mayhem Games
Best Applied Game: Hackshield in de klas – HackShield Future Cyber Heroes
Best Debut Game: Cat Cafe Manager – Roost Games
Best Student Game: All Hands on Deck – Studio Mantasaur (HKU)

The jury chose Horizon: Forbidden West as winner in the categories Best Game, Best Art, Best Audio en Best Technology: It makes our Dutch hearts swell with pride that this console-selling masterpiece was created right in the middle of Amsterdam. Horizon: Forbidden West is a world class title where nothing has been overlooked or neglected. The art provides an immersive experience, the audio is among the highest level in the global industry and the game sets a new benchmark in AAA technologies. This game puts the Netherlands on the map for the worldwide game industry, and even the broader media press.”   

Total Mayhem Games picked up the award for Best Game Design with We Were Here Forever: “The jury really enjoyed the clever puzzle design. Even though the timed puzzles can be really frustrating, it is well balanced by the rewarding feeling of victory when the solution is achieved. True collaboration is key in the core of this game design. It teaches you to clearly describe what you see and to listen well. Even when you play this game with a complete stranger, it still creates a bond and there is this spark of joy when you are reunited with your fellow adventurer.“

Stacklands by Sokpop Collective wins Best Innovation: “The jury was very impressed by the clever implementation of the progression system and non-linear storybuilding. The true innovation here is how a simple mechanic is used to create satisfying and ever-challenging puzzles that leave you wanting more. Expect games “inspired” by Stacklands very soon.” 

All Hands on Deck is chosen as Best Student Game “because of the fresh take on local co-op gameplay! The jury never felt rushed by the game mechanics and enjoyed the straightforward and relaxing puzzles. The game comes with a good sense of humor and very polished gameplay. This game felt like one made by developers, skilled way beyond their young age!”  

Best Debut Game is won by Cat Cafe Manager: “The cuteness and characters actually build upon the game design and mechanics. Having those in balance creates a cat-tastic and compelling game experience.”

Hackshield in de Klas wins Best Applied Game: “Hackshield deals with relevant and current challenges in our society. The game offers a rich world with many themes and quests. The game is well implemented in the educational setting and shows a high production value.”

Special Awards
The special awards were created for the studios, individuals or initiatives that sometimes operate more in the background, but are important to the Dutch game industry. The winners of the Special Awards are:

Best Studio: Codeglue
Inclusion Award: Emily Jacometti
Career Achievement: Alessandra van Otterlo
Awesome Achievement: Sokpop Collective 

Codeglue wins the Best Studio award because: Studio owners Peter and Maurice have gone above and beyond to keep their staff safe and healthy during COVID, trying to keep them connected and motivated. To quote their staff: “Working at Codeglue feels like you’re with family. Peter and Maurice always try to find ways to make it even more enjoyable to work at Codeglue. They not only want employees to succeed at our studio, they want employees to succeed in every area of their life and be happy and healthy overall.”

The Inclusion Award goes to Emily Jacometti this year: In recent years Emily has really helped Flavour to lead by example when it comes to their inclusivity and hiring policy. Next to this, Emily is involved in several initiatives like FemIT from the HvA, Women in Tech, and as advisor to the HKU. As a board member to the DGA she’s been putting her best foot forward to develop a Code of Conduct for the Dutch game industry. Wherever Emily sees an opportunity to open up the industry for more diversity and break the mould, she’s on it.   

The Career Achievement award has been won by Alessandra van Otterlo: This award is a recognition of EVERYTHING she’s done for the games industry…so far! Next to keeping us all informed online through Control Online and Gamejobs.eu and managing countless live events like Control Conference, the European Game Showcase and in the past the Holland Pavilion and Festival of Games, she also handles countless volunteer jobs. She’s an advisor to several conferences, has mentored and helped multiple people to kick off their game careers, managed the Student GDC grant, the Amsterdam Game Borrel, etc. She connects you with relevant people in the game industry (whether you ask for it or not ;). Always ready to be the voice of the minority and a true fighter for diversity. Alessandra, rock on!”

Last but not least, the Awesome Achievement award goes to Sokpop Collective: Sokpop has its own take on how the game business works. Their business structure is a collective rather than a studio, where the success of one game flows back into supporting new creative work. Their business model of “one game per month subscription” is highly unusual. The community support they receive through their Patron subscriptions serve as proof that this community driven path is a success. We look forward to many more months of Sokpop games!

Find the complete jury reports on the Dutch Game Awards website. View the full ceremony recording here.

Key facts & figures from the Games Monitor 2022 have been presented today at Dutch Game Day in Hilversum (NL). The Games Monitor reports on trends and developments in the Dutch video game industry, such as the number of companies, jobs, and revenue. 

The Dutch game industry has grown significantly in the last three years. Dutch game companies benefited from the growth of the global games market. A growth in revenue of almost 18% annually on average for Dutch game companies (to €420-440 million in 2021) surpasses the global average in the industry. The number of jobs also increased with more than 5% annually to 4560 jobs. The growth in the number of jobs is particularly visible in larger companies with over 50 employees. The largest number of jobs in the Dutch game industry can be found in the Greater-Amsterdam region (including Schiphol). As the second largest region in terms of employment, Utrecht has the largest number of jobs in applied or serious game companies. Due to the effects of the COVID pandemic, applied game companies have grown less rapidly than entertainment game companies.

Key facts & figures Dutch video game industry (Source: Games Monitor 2022)

Furthermore, figures for the past ten years show an evolution in the way in which growth is realized. Initially, the sector increased mainly in the number of companies. Between 2015 and 2018 growth could be seen mostly in the number of employees and in the last three years revenue showed the most noticeable increase. “The significant growth in revenue and the number of jobs in larger companies shows that the Dutch game industry is on the road to maturity”, says Christel van Grinsven, coördinator of the Games Monitor. 

The Games Monitor 2022 is presented by Dutch Game Garden, Dutch Games Association and Videogame Federatie Nederland (VGFN). The full report will be published later this year. Want to be informed when it is published? Subscribe to the mailing list here.



We are happy to announce that the nominations for the Special Awards for the Dutch Game Awards 2022 are now open! This year we have a new category: the Awesome Achievement Award!

Awesome Achievement
Last year’s edition also had Special Awards, namely ‘Best Studio’, ‘Inclusion’ and ‘Lifetime Achievement’. This year we have added the ‘Awesome Achievement’ award category. With this award the Dutch Game Awards aims to give attention to the parties that do not qualify for the other categories, but that do contribute to the development and publishing of games.  

Please use the following links to send in your nominees for the Special Awards:

Of course, you can also still submit your games for the regular Dutch Game Awards categories! Deadline closes on July 31st 2022. Find all the info (and tickets) on the Dutch Game Awards website.

The Dutch Games Association is looking back on a very successful GDC! In cooperation with the Economic Affairs and Innovation Attaché Network at the Netherlands Consulate General in San Francisco we organised a Business Breakfast with a panel presentation about “the Metaverse”.

A big thanks to the speakers Jenna Seiden (Niantic Labs & LUMO Labs), Chris Bennett (Stanford Peace Innovation Lab), Tommy Krul (Super Evil Megacorp) and Barry Hoffman (ZeroLight) for sharing their insights!

Dutch Lounge

But that’s not all. In cooperation with MeettoMatch we hosted the Dutch Lounge to provide a quiet meeting space just 1 block away from the hustle&bustle from the Conference Center. Multiple Dutch game companies participated to make the Dutch Lounge a success.

To kick things off the Dutch Drinks on Tuesday night were well attended. Needless to say, all participants were excited to be back and network at a live event!

The Dutch Lounge will return at GDC 2023.

The Games Monitor is the research report that looks into the trends and developments for applied and entertainment games in the Netherlands. It aims to obtain insight into the economic development of the Dutch game industry.

In 2022, Dutch Game Garden, Dutch Games Association, and Video Game Federation Netherlands will provide the fourth edition of the Games Monitor. Recently, the survey was sent to Dutch game developers. We highly encourage you to fill in the survey. Please do so before March 31st. The results will be presented later this year. You can check out dutchgamegarden.nl/games-monitor/ for the previous editions.

If you have not yet received the survey but would like to participate, please contact
info+gamesmonitor@dutchgamegarden.nl and the link will be sent to you.

Thanks!

Are you a gamemaker or game studio looking for a new project idea or international partner? SpielFabrique is organizing the European Games Coproduction Market. The EGCM is a 6 months yearly program (June – November) that aims to promote coproduction projects between European indie game studios. Please apply before April 4th to join the program! Find all the info here: https://spielfabrique.eu/european-games-coproduction-market/

On March 30th there will be a webinar organized by Spielfabrique that is specifically aimed towards Dutch studios and game makers who are interested in joining the program. Register by March 29th via Sean Gilis: s.gilis@stimuleringsfonds.nl or directly via https://www.eventbrite.de/e/european-games-co-production-market-presentation-ama-webinar-tickets-294544429317

Dutch investment fund Midgame Fund was founded earlier this year to finance games by Dutch game developers. Nine months later, three projects have been funded with a total investment of ± €300.000,-.

Investors looked at 14 pitches since the founding of the fund earlier this year. Three projects were selected and funded: ‘Unsung Warriors’ by Osarion & Mountaineer, ‘Octopus City Blues’ by Ghost in a Bottle, and an unannounced game by Indiana-Jonas & Jasper Oprel. These games were selected for various reasons, among them the look and feel of the games, consumer interest, or promising collaborations. More information about these developers and games can be found through the Midgame Fund website.

Midgame Fund is a group of 35 successful Dutch game developers who hope to support the growth of the Dutch games industry with financial support, their experience making games, and their network. Game developers can pitch to the fund all year round, for funding between €10.000 and €150.000. The fund’s website lists the terms and the process to send your pitch.

https://midgame.fund

Good news! We have come to an agreement with Zilveren Kruis to give our members and their employees an attractive discount on their health insurance. This discount is also valid for their family members.

The following discounts apply:

  • 3,5% on basic insurance
  • 10% on supplemental insurance
  • 10% on dental insurance

You can choose the health insurance that works for you.
Choose a basic insurance policy and supplement it as desired. How extensively you want to be insured is up to you.

You are well insured with Zilveren Kruis.

  • To submit a claim for healthcare expenses, use the Zilveren Kruis-app or Mijn Zilveren Kruis.
  • To obtain medical advice, use the Zilveren Kruis Wijzer to quickly find answers to your medical questions, wherever you are.
  • If you want to live a healthier lifestyle, try Actify, the vitality coach for everything concerning your health.
  • If you need any additional help, the Care Coach will help you apply for and arrange your care.

Your benefits:

  • An insurance policy that fits your needs.
  • Attractive discount on the premium.
  • The extras from Dutch Games Association and Zilveren Kruis with supplementary insurance (see this brochure).

Interested and want to switch to Zilveren Kruis?
Send us an email via contact@dutchgamesassociation.nl, then we will send you all the details and the designated link to get your health insurance with discount. Sign up with Zilveren Kruis by no later than 31 December 2021 and they will arrange the switch for you.

Not a member yet? Please join the Dutch Games Association via this link: https://dutchgamesassociation.nl/become-a-member/

Dutch Games Association (DGA) will be hosting the twelfth Country Pavilion during gamescom 2021. They’re bringing a fantastic selection of Dutch developers with them, all looking to make new connections! Read on to find out who you want to meet and why, at the Holland Pavilion!

Join the conversation at the Holland Pavilion!

There are more than 25 studios attending gamescom under the banner of the DGA! Dutch developers are keen to make connections with the local and international communities. Indeed, for many developers it might be the main attraction – if you’re looking to connect with developers you’ll find fertile ground at the Holland Pavilion!

Eric Diepeveen, Steam Data Suite COO, points out how many networking opportunities gamescom offers: “No other event provides the opportunities that gamescom provides for a start-up like Steam Data Suite. ‘Ridiculously efficient’ is the phrase that comes to mind when I think of gamescom.”

That point is echoed by the creator of The Falconeer, Tomas Sala. As a busy indie dev you need to be able to focus your networking and business-to-business contacts without wasting any time, and gamescom is ideal for that. Sala says: “Being able to pitch the Falconeer straight to publishers and platform holders has been instrumental in making it both a reality and a sustainable success. Being a solo developer means that I cannot afford to rely on casual networking or continuous business development, I am dependent on focused events such as MeetToMatch to make vital connections on which the development and release of my games depend.”

Note the mention of MeetToMatch, which is another gamescom attendee enjoying support from the DGA! For them gamescom is a chance to demonstrate the value of their service and help other developers make vital contacts to help them grow. MeetToMatch helps people arrange their meetings and events, and will feature a Dutch Showcase on their platform during gamescom! As Adriaan de Jongh (co-creator of Hidden Folks) says: “gamescom is the main business event for game developers in Europe. I expect to have a busy week meeting with press, publishers, platform contacts, and players. Not often do all the big players come together; gamescom is certainly one of those few opportunities”.

Opportunities in the Dutch Games Industry

There’s a wealth of talent available in the Netherlands, fantastic projects looking for publishers, and investment opportunities are plentiful. The Dutch industry has even been starting its own initiatives to tap into the unused potential.

The Netherlands is an ideal location for game development, be it small indie studios or major AAA companies. With an exceptionally educated and motivated workforce, high living standards, and modern infrastructure, it’s a fantastic place to work. What’s more, the country occupies a prime position at the crossroads of Western Europe and Scandinavia. You can draw on game development talent from all over, and the priority given to gamescom by Dutch developers is a clear sign of the importance they attach to international connections.

There are challenges to overcome however- starting with the next generation of developers. Game dev students should be given entrepreneurial tools that will serve them well should they start a company of their own. Also, right now there’s an unfortunate lack of suitable investment vehicles, and funding opportunities apart from some trusty Dutch subsidies such as the WBSO, RVO and Stimuleringsfonds. Meaning there is a huge untapped potential ready to be unleashed, for which the Dutch industry has recently started to take action themselves.

One of these examples is The Midgame Fund, founded by Adriaan de Jongh, made headlines in March this year as more than 25 Dutch game professionals announced their plans to offer funding, advice and mentorship as a way of giving back to the Dutch games industry. One of the financiers is Rami Ismail, co-founder of legendary indie studio Vlambeer (Luftrausers, Nuclear Throne, and more).

The Breda Games City foundation is a new home-grown Dutch initiative to foster new studios. Founded in 2020 to encourage and highlight young game development talent in the Breda region of the Netherlands, their efforts are already bearing fruit with bold new studios setting up in the area.

Big international companies are already interested in what the Netherlands has to offer! Just recently, Rotterdam VR studio Vertigo Games was purchased by Koch Media for 50 million Euros. Koch Media later went on to purchase a second Dutch VR studio – Force Field VR – and merged them into Vertigo Games.

This summer, Sony acquired Dutch studio Nixxes to provide high quality in-house technical and development capabilities for PlayStation Studios. The industry veterans have worked on huge franchises including the PC version of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, and several Tomb Raider titles.

Who can you meet at the Holland Pavilion this year?

Derk de Geus, chairman of the DGA says: “One of the focus points for the DGA is the international presence of the Dutch game industry. As one of the biggest trade shows in the world, gamescom is the prime candidate for these activities. With the Holland Pavilion we aim to showcase the creativity and strength of the Dutch game industry, both to business partners and (through media channels) to consumers.” 

The Holland Pavilion is made possible by Creative Holland and the RVO. Here are just a few of the exciting projects and teams you can meet when you visit the Dutch delegation at gamescom this year:

The Falconeer was nominated for a BAFTA award this year (Best Debut Game), and has attracted attention for its stunning graphics, evocative lore, and sense of place. Developer Tomas Sala will be at gamescom to seek opportunities to expand The Falconeer’s story, universe and IP beyond video games.

Prolific indie studio Rusty Lake has released over 10 games and a movie. They will be bringing their recently launched publishing label Second Maze to gamescom and latest upcoming title: The Past Within. This two player puzzle game is inspired by the basic principles of classic early escape room Flash games.

Gamious are showing off their slice-of-life adventure game Lake. Play 40-something Meredith who is taking two weeks off from her big city career to fill in for her dad delivering mail in her rustic hometown.

There are also promising (ex)student projects, like the recent and very positively rated survival game ARID from students at the Breda University, and physics party game Push Your Family by Meteor Mug that has big news to share anytime soon…

There are too many games to list them all here of course… but check out most of them in the video trailer, and the full list below.

Dutch Showcase on MeetToMatch. Get access on https://www.meettomatch.com/cologne/

Have you already submitted your game for the Dutch Game Awards 2021? Less than three weeks remain until the deadline of July 31st! We have now also opened up the nominations for our Special Awards: Best Studio Award, Inclusion Award and Lifetime Achievement Award.

Please submit your nominations by 31st of July.

Best Studio

The studio does not need to have a physical location. Things to consider are employee health/benefits, creative environment, good leadership, teamwork, etc. Applicant does not need to own (part of) the studio, but does need to have a clear link with the studio. For example be an employee or client. Of course, the studio that you nominate should be a Dutch company.

Submit your nomination for Best Studio here

Inclusion Award

An initiative, person or company that has significant impact in improving inclusivity for the Dutch game industry.

Submit your nomination for the Inclusion Award here

Lifetime Achievement Award

Given to a person who has made a significant contribution to the Dutch game industry.

Submit your nomination for Lifetime Achievement Award here

And if you haven’t submitted your game yet, please head over to the Dutch Game Awards website to read the rules and criteria, and submit your game here!