If you live in one of EU countries you can double your game development budget. You need to send an application to MEDIA EACEA/17/07 program. First deadline passed on November 15th 2007, though there is second deadline on April 15th 2008. There’s plenty of time to prepare.
How does it work?
You need to send an application and if it wins, you get 50% of development budget refunded. 75% upfront and 25% after project completion. So you can either double your development budget or increase ROI.
I sent my application 2 days ago. It was one of the easiest applications that I’ve seen to gain EU funds. It has 26 pages, but most of them is filled with instructions on what to do or just an honorable declarations that you need to sign. But don’t be fouled. When I filled up and printed it all it weighted 730g! That’s because you need to send your project description in 3 copies and you need to attach proof of distribution of one of your games. In my case it was a publishing deal (13 pages).
The hardest part about it was creating a design documentation for upcoming game. You don’t want to spend to much time on it, because you don’t know if you win and you need to make it as great as possible, so you’re chances of winning are as high as possible. The problem is that you need to think about the game that you will want (and be able) to start developing in 6 months (that’s when you’re going to find out if you won). You don’t want to start unless you know that you received funding. Another problem is that you should include a lot of elements such as GUI concept, visuals or interaction description (and it takes time to create it good looking).
Each country has it’s own consulting agency and all papers localized. The agency was pretty helpful, though I was the first one that was applying for game development so in many cases they didn’t know what proofs or documents should I supply.
The whole thing looks very indie friendly. While you can’t be an individual (you need to be a registered company), there is a lot of restriction that don’t let big companies take part in this program.
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