Gamescom 2023: French video games under the microscope

Gamescom 2023: French video games under the microscope

18 August 2023
Jeu vidéo
Gamescom Koelnmesse / gamescom / Author" in your print and online

The European video games trade fair, taking place from 23 to 27 August in Cologne, is putting the spotlight on French companies. Independent developers, industry heavyweights, animation studios, VR specialists... The "French touch" is on full display at Koelnmesse.

Like last year, French video games are shining at Gamescom 2023 - Europe's biggest video game market, to be held in Cologne from 23 to 27 August. It will be welcoming a host of French companies, including no fewer than 36 in the French pavilion run by Business France, in partnership with the CNC and the Syndicat national du jeu vidéo (SNJV). This is an opportunity to meet the developers, publishers and service providers who embody the rich diversity of the French video game landscape.

On hand will be independent studios such as Oise-based developer 2.21, which is working on a reboot of the futuristic action-adventure game Little Big Adventure (1994); Nantes-based studio NEVERMIND, creator of the 2D open-world game Little Legend; and Paris-based developer Piece of Cake Studios, which specialises in collaborative experiences, such as the undercover game Hacktag (2018). Another independent studio making the trip to Cologne is Shiro Games. With one foot in development and the other in publishing, this Bordeaux-based company has made a name for itself with Dune: Spice Wars (2022), a real-time strategy game inspired by Frank Herbert's saga.

Visitors will also be able to discover more established studios such as DON'T NOD, a developer and publisher based in Paris and Montreal (Remember Me, 2013; Life is Strange, 2015; Vampyr, 2018 and more recently Harmony - The Fall of Reverie, 2023). The Paris-based studio is preparing a new action-RPG entitled Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden, scheduled for release in November 2023. Also on the programme are teams from Draw Me a Pixel, a studio based in Lyon whose point'n'click There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension (2020) won the prize for best game design at the Pégases 2021 awards.

Video Game IP adapted into Animation made in France

The mobile games sector will be particularly well represented, with developers such as Périple Studio (creator of Tales Up, which won best mobile video game at Pégases 2023), publishers such as Playdigious, and download and distribution platforms such as Gara. Animation studios, new technology specialists and artificial intelligence companies will also be in attendance, including Paris-based X&Immersion, which develops turnkey AI-based tools for the cultural and creative industries, and Umanimation, an XR production company based in Bordeaux which recently worked on the Dordogne video game.

An attractive ecosystem

Gamescom presents a golden opportunity to showcase the expertise of the French industry, which boasts an extremely dynamic business fabric. It will be represented at Gamescom by the trade union, the Syndicat national du jeu vidéo (SNJV) as well as the sector's eight regional trade associations such as Game Only, which brings together the video game industry in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in south-east France. In 2022, the French video game industry generated sales of €5.5 billion, making 2022 the third-best year for the sector.

France's appeal stems in part from the excellence of its animation and video game training courses (Rubika, Emile Cohl, Les Gobelins, CNAM, MAJIC, etc.), as well as the ability of its studios to reach an international audience, Arkane (Dishonored 1 and 2, Deathloop), being a prime example having opened a studio in the United States in 2006.

Among noteworthy industry events are Europa Game Night on 22 August, a European pitch competition organised by Business France, SpielFabrique and NRW; the SNJV breakfast on 23 August, which will present the latest news and upcoming initiatives from the French video game industry; and the CNC breakfast on 24 August, aimed at studios and developers, on the issue of adapting video game intellectual property to animation projects. This serves as a perfect opportunity to showcase French talent in this field, in the presence of French professionals from the sector.


CNC support for video games

The CNC supports the video game sector through two main mechanisms. Firstly, the Video Game Support Fund (FAJV), which supports creation at all stages of the life cycle of a work, from writing to production. This selective fund, which has an annual budget of €5 million, has enabled the support of 85 projects up to 2021. Secondly, the Video Game Tax Credit (CIJV), a tax incentive scheme that allows companies to benefit from a tax credit of 30% of eligible expenditure incurred in the creation of video games.