Holy cow, Germany hands out serious cash to its homegrown game award winners: Signalis won €60,000 for 'Best Debut Game'

2023 German Computer Game Awards winners
(Image credit: Deutscher Computerspielpreis)

I'm sure a trophy from The Game Awards is a big deal for the winning developers, but is it better than cold, hard cash? That's what winners of Germany's annual Computer Game Awards go home with in the form of a national endowment, and I think I might take that over a handshake with Geoff Keighley.

This year's Deutscher Computerspielpreis (DCP), as the event is known in its native tongue, took place on May 11 in front of a live audience for the first time since 2019. "Especially this year, the creative minds behind the games deserved this big stage, because the award-winning games were created under the difficult conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic," German Games Industry Association managin director Felix Falk said.

"Outstanding games have been created that are attracting a lot of attention in Germany and abroad. This underlines Germany's enormous potential as a great spot for game development. We congratulate all the winners of the German Computer Game Awards 2023."

The top prize at this year's event went to the retro-RPG Chained Echoes, developed by Matthias Linda and published by Deck13, which earned a €100,000 ($109,000) "endowment" for Best German Game. Chained Echoes claimed another €25,000 for being nominated in the Best Debut category. The brilliant survival horror game Signalis won the Best Debut category and its €60,000 prize, along with €40,000 for Best Audio Design and €30,000 for a Best German Game nomination.

It might seem odd to throw around that kind of prize money at an industry awards event—you don't see Geoff Keighley cutting cheques for Hideo Kojima, after all—but the event is sponsored by Germany's federal government as part of its strategy to support and enhance its home-grown game development industry. (We do similar things here in Canada, mainly through tax breaks, although we toss out the occasional weird endowment now and then, too.)

"The strong performance of the up-and-coming teams is proof of the great potential of the German games industry," said Michael Kellner, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action. "The development of innovative games for the national and international market is an important factor for Germany as a business location. The task for the coming years will be to further develop the funding system in order to keep up with international competition."

For those of us outside of Germany, it's also a good way to get some insight into what's going on inside of it. Some of the winning games, like Signalis, are well known internationally, but others are lower-profile: Best Expert Game (that may be a translation issue) winner Touch Type Tale, for instance, is a really clever RTS-typing tutor crossover, and 2D puzzle platformer Thief of Smiles, a nominee for the Newcomer Award: Best Prototype, looks like it might be pretty groovy, too.

I also really like that they're called Computer Game Awards. I kinda miss the days when we called them "computer games" as a regular thing.

The full list of 2023 German Computer Game Awards is below. If you speak German, you can find out more about the whole thing at deutscher-computerspielpreis.de.

Best German Game (endowed with 100,000 euros for the winning game)

  • Chained Echoes (Matthias Linda / Deck13 Spotlight)
  •  The other two nominees receive 30,000 euros each:
  • Beholder 3 (Paintbucket Games / Alawar Entertainment)
  • Signalis (Rose Engine / Humble Games)

Best Family Game (endowed with 40,000 euros)

  • Die magische Bretterbudenburg (Meander Books)

Newcomer Award: Best Debut (endowed with 60,000 euros for the winning game)

  • Signalis (Rose Engine / Humble Games)
  •  The other two nominees receive 25,000 euros each:
  • Chained Echoes (Matthias Linda / Deck13 Spotlight)
  • Dome Keeper (Bippinbits / Raw Fury)

Newcomer Award: Best Prototype (endowed with 50,000 euros for the winning game)

  • Light of Atlantis (Alina Fasen, Luisa Höhne, Vincent Krenzke, Simone Mayer, Alexander Nham / HAW Hamburg)
  •  The other four nominees receive 25,000 euros each:
  • A Sister's Journey (Florian Lackner)
  • Mail Tail (Robin Heisterkamp)
  • Ova Magica (Claudia Gorsky)
  • Thief of Smiles (Lars Hinnerk Grevsmühl, Alina Hies, Felix Kosian, Marcel Zurawka)

Best Audio Design (endowed with 40,000 euros)

  • Signalis (Rose Engine / Humble Games)

Best Expert Game (endowed with 40,000 euros)

  • Touch Type Tale - Strategic Typing (Pumpernickel Studio / Epic Games)

Best Game Design (endowed with 40,000 euros)

  • Dome Keeper (Bippinbits / Raw Fury)

Best Graphic Design (endowed with 40,000 euros)

  • Abriss - Build to Destroy (Randwerk Games)

Best Innovation and Technology (endowed with 40,000 euros)

  • Beethoven // Opus 360 (agon e.V.)

Best Mobile Game (endowed with 40,000 euros)

  • Dungeons of Dreadrock (Christoph Minnameier)

Best Serious Game (endowed with 40,000 euros)

  • Beholder 3 (Paintbucket Games / Alawar Entertainment)

Best International Game (not endowed)

  • God of War Ragnarök (SIE Santa Monica Studio / Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Player of the Year (not endowed)

  • Pia Scholz (aka Shurjoka)

Studio of the Year (endowed with 50,000 euros)

  • Paintbucket Games (Berlin)

Special Jury Award (endowed with 10,000 euros)

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.