It is said that the Spanish video game development industry has gone through several phases. A first period, the one that saw the greater quantity and quality of local productions and successful companies, revolved around the Spectrum and other 8 bit computers. This is what we call the Golden Age.
After every dream age comes some darker times – bigger consoles took the floor internationally and only a small number of companies survived the evolution of the platforms. It took a while until you could honestly give the “industry” that name again. However, it was during that dark period that the brightest beacon was lighted, although today it would be hard to say whether it keeps any of its records of sales and successes.
It is hard because mobile and the democratization of means and processes have triggered the renaissance of video game development. This is not an isolated fact just for the Spanish industry, but a globalized effect of the almost complete disappearance of entry barriers and the popularization of middleware to produce more effectively what is going to be sold: the video game itself, not the software tools to create it.
So as we see, there has always been video game development in Spain, but it still is a thorn in some people’s side that it still has not reached the peaks of our French neighbours, the sustainability of the German industry or the prowess of the British developers, not to mention the successes of the Scandinavians (who, put together, amount to about half our population).
The majority of video games productions in Spain is done by small teams (considering quantity of projects, not the size of their budgets). These teams are organized generally in companies that very rarely reach 20 people and, more often than not, have been founded no sooner than 5 years ago.
Our professionals, specially when we talk about art and artists, reach high quality standards, probably because of our plastic art tradition, but also because there has always been a good level of art education. Other areas, such as production or programming, suffer greatly from the general ignorance towards the industry, as no formal education or training was available until just very recently.
Both big companies and small teams find financing to be the biggest issue. In Spain, finding professional private investors is tough work, even though the quality of our work is up to par internationally. Proof of this can be found in the relocation of many subsidiaries of prominent companies to Spain, a trend which is not exactly slowing down.
Regarding public support, some steps have taken since the inclusion of video games in the list of cultural properties. Regional and state institutions are considering video games as a real source of income and quality employment, which in return is the only way to become a leading production country. Better laws, a more serious approach, real programs and professional investment.
Still, a repositioning of our brand should be designed and pursued by all stakeholders involved, meaning not only public institutions, politicians and lawmakers but also the companies and professionals directly involved.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eva Gaspar – In 1999 Eva began her professional career in the video game industry at the company Bit Managers. After working at different technology companies like “Strato AG”, in 2008 she joined Abylight as International Business Manager, where she became CEO in 2011.
Lawyer & Business Consultant, Eva has a Master’s Degree in IP&IT (Intellectual Property and Information Technology) by ESADE. In addition, she impulsed the creation of PAD (Professional Associated Developers) on 2013 and is President since its foundation.