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To its fourth anniversary game – the German Games Industry Association grows to more than 350 member companies

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To its fourth anniversary game – the German Games Industry Association grows to more than 350 member companies
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•  Younger companies and start-ups are well represented among the companies joining the association

•  ‘Since completing our merger, our association has been even more effective at representing the entire industry and making ourselves heard – allowing us to contribute to an unrivalled boom and a new social and political significance for the games industry in Germany’

game – the German Games Industry Association has marked its fourth anniversary by cracking the 350-member mark, continuing the strong growth of the association’s membership rolls since the merger. In early 2018 there were approximately 180 companies and institutions on board, including almost all small and medium-sized firms in the industry and all of the biggest games companies in Germany. Start-ups and other younger companies have been particularly prominent among the ranks of those joining the association recently. This is in keeping with developments in the German games industry as a whole – the introduction of a national funding programme for games companies in particular has helped give rise to an extremely upbeat mood: in 2020 alone, the number of games companies in Germany increased by 20 per cent. In recent years, game has sharply expanded its offers in areas that are especially important to these young companies, including guides and contract starter kits, as well as the opportunity to find out about national and regional funding opportunities and to take advantage of individual funding consulting by game. Another new service: an individual mentoring programme. The association works to promote dialogue with other games companies – be it on-site at General Assemblies, in working groups, at the joint gamescom exhibition stand, or at the game summer party, or digitally, such as in the members’ area of game.de or in the shared Slack workspace for members.

According to Felix Falk, Managing Director of game: ‘The games industry has made a huge leap forward in Germany in recent years. Since completing our merger, our association has been even more effective at representing the entire industry and making ourselves heard – allowing us to contribute to an unrivalled boom and a new social and political significance for the games industry in Germany. The sheer diversity of our members has made us even stronger, with international top players, German small and medium-sized enterprises and newly established indie studios all under the same umbrella. We will continue to use this power to make conditions even better for the games industry and to foster the development of companies here in Germany. The growth in our membership makes it clear that our approach is the right one.’

Central Europe

New Metaverse Game Star Life by iCandy’s Flying Sheep Receives German Government Funding

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New Metaverse Game Star Life by iCandy's Flying Sheep Receives German Government Funding
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Flying Sheep Studios, a subsidiary of iCandy Interactive, an Australian-listed international games studio, is proud to announce it is developing Star Life, a social massively multiplayer online (MMO) game focused on cooperation, and community-driven experiences that will prioritise socialising and being the party and event part of the metaverse, eventually hosting events and concerts.

iCandy Interactive has an international footprint of having other video games studios across Asia (Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia) and Flying Sheep Studios is its first major investment made in Europe.

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action has agreed to support the development of Star Life with a generous funding of approximately EUR 1.1 million (approximately USD 1.2 million). Flying Sheep Studios, known for its expertise in HTML5 web-based game development, is utilizing its skills to create a sophisticated web-based metaverse game.

High-Availability Metaverse

One of the key features of Star Life is its high accessibility, making it conveniently playable from any browser on any device without needing downloads, installations, or high-end technology.

Players can start entering the Star Life metaverse with just one click via a web browser on both desktop and mobile devices. The game also prioritizes diversity, offering players various options for character creation, shopping, and community-driven events, such as concerts and exhibitions.

In addition, Star Life will incorporate optional blockchain-enabled items, or NFTs, giving players more ownership and agency over their virtual belongings. These belongings can be transferred and used on different platforms, making the process streamlined and convenient. Star Life will be a free-to-play game available to everyone.

“We are grateful to the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action for their support and trust in our project. This funding demonstrates the federal budget for video games working as intended, fostering the development of cutting-edge technical know-how ‘made in Germany’ and creating and securing jobs,” says Thomas Rössig, Founder and Managing Director of Flying Sheep Studios.

 

Addition of Senior European Industry Talent

For the development of this groundbreaking project, Flying Sheep has also hired additional talent, including four industry veterans:


Renke Bahlmann
Lead Game Designer

With 12 years of experience working on browser games for industry leaders such as Bigpoint, game development allrounder and media technology expert Renke Bahlmann is the perfect fit for the position of Lead Game Designer. He will guide the team in creating a highly engaging game experience.

Frank Reitberger
Lead 3D Developer

Flying Sheep’s new Lead 3D Developer Frank Reitberger is renowned for his work as a Designer and Programmer. In the past two decades, he has worked for well-known brands and customers such as Porsche, IBM, and Activision Blizzard.

Daniel Schemann Head of Back-End Development

Cultivating his passion for multiplayer experiences in the early days of MUDs, Daniel Schemann founded his studio Silent Future in the early 2000s and would later work on free-to-play MMO Earthrise. In his new position as Head of Back-End Development at Flying Sheep, he will create the foundation for the multiplayer experience of Star Life.

Nina Kiel Head of Diversity & Inclusion

As one of Germany’s foremost game diversity experts, Nina Kiel has worked in various industry-related fields such as games journalism, game development, game event management, game studies and media education for over a decade, and published several books. Now they’ve joined Flying Sheep as Head of Diversity & Inclusion to support the studio in making diversity and

inclusion a key part of their endeavors.

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IRINA RUF IS NEW MANAGING DIRECTOR AT MERKUR CASINO

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IRINA RUF IS NEW MANAGING DIRECTOR AT MERKUR CASINO
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Gauselmann subsidiary with new management line-up

With immediate effect, Irina Ruf has assumed the role of Managing Director International at Merkur Casino GmbH. The subsidiary of the Eastern Westphalian Gauselmann Group operates around 800 arcades in Germany and across Europe. As new managing director, Irina Ruf is responsible for securing and growing the existing markets as well as for driving forward new acquisitions in the international arena. Ruf is thus stepping into the shoes of Stefan Bruns, who will in future represent the Sports Betting and Online Gaming business segment on the Management Board of the Gauselmann Group.

“We are delighted that in Irina Ruf we have been able to win a new managing director with extensive expertise and experience in particular in international operations,” explains Dieter Kuhlmann, Gauselmann Group Management Board member with responsibility for Gaming Operations. Hailing from Bremen, Irina Ruf looks back on an almost 15-year career within the Group, most recently as Executive Operations Director International at Merkur Casino GmbH. “Based on her wide-ranging career path to date, Ms Ruf brings to the job all the prerequisites to successfully continue and expand Merkur Casino’s international business activities,” Kuhlmann adds.

For her part, Irina Ruf is also ready to embrace the challenges that the position of managing director brings with it: “I am looking forward to developing new geographical markets and implementing exciting projects together with my team. One particular focus will be on developing the online markets.” The new head of Merkur Casino has ambitious plans: “Our goal is to maintain Merkur Casino International’s strong position and to confidently rise to the ever-growing demands,” Ruf concludes.

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Gauselmann Group Appoints Stefan Bruns as Management Board Member

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Gauselmann Group has announced the appointment Stefan Bruns as Management Board Member responsible for Sports Betting & Online Gaming. Bruns will assume his new role with the company effective from April 1, 2023.

The tasks of the newly created Management Board position include strengthening the land-based and online sports betting offering, strategic expansion of virtual slot gaming and advancing the internationalisation of these two areas of activity.

“I am delighted to welcome Stefan Bruns, who has held management positions in the company for nine years, as a new member of the Management Board. His experience and expertise are excellent prerequisites for successfully managing the newly created Sports Betting & Online Gaming business segment. Sports betting and online gaming are promising prospective markets in which Mr Bruns will further grow and strengthen our business activities. I wish him a lucky hand and every success in carrying out his important and responsible tasks,” said Paul Gauselmann, company founder and Chairman of the Management Board.

Stefan Bruns studied Economics at Osnabrück University, majoring in production, marketing and information systems for business. Following his studies, the business administration graduate headed up Marketing, Training and CAD Sales at the software provider 2020 Technologies before being appointed Management Board Chairman of I2S Business AG in 2002. Two years later, he made a career move to Harting Systems in Espelkamp, where he served as Managing Director for ten years.

Stefan Bruns started his career with the Gauselmann Group on 1 April 2014. After holding various management positions at the adp Merkur subsidiary, he was appointed to the management of the fellow subsidiary Merkur Casino in February 2017. This position came with responsibility for all of Merkur Casino’s international activities – including operation of more than 450 gaming arcades as well as online and live game casinos in other European countries with over 4800 employees. In future, this task will fall to Irina Ruf, who has held the position of Executive Operations Director International at Merkur Casino for the past several years.

“I would like to express my thanks for the trust placed in me and I look forward to tackling the challenging tasks that lie ahead. The focus will be on the strategic expansion of the online and land-based sports betting offerings as well as on consolidating all worldwide online gaming activities. Our goal is to create sustainable structures and products in order to consistently expand our market shares in the sports betting and online gaming markets and to successfully position the Merkur brand for the long term,” said Stefan Bruns.

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