Independent developers in Spain are today counting the cost of a ministerial decision to block €2 million (about $2.4 million) in European Union funding, designed to invigorate the local gaming scene.
According to a report in El Español, Spain's minister of Energy, Tourism and Digital Agenda, Álvaro Nadal, canceled the planned grant, which was planned to be sent to 20 different developers. Each company would have received between €50,000 and €150,000. Some of the money was specifically aimed at development teams of five persons or fewer which are working on their first game. It's not clear why the decision was taken.
Spain is Europe's fourth largest gaming market, according to research outfit NewZoo. But although the number of developers has increased in the past few years, many are start-ups with little or no funding, according to a report in El País.
Recent and forthcoming games developed in Spain include Crossing Souls from Fourattic, Metroid: Samus Returns from MercurySteam as well as Rime and The Sexy Brutale from Tequila Works.
On Jan. 11, the country's video game industry association, DEV, will present a white paper on the state of the games business in Spain. We'll have more on this as news emerges.
Update: Today we received word that a meeting between DEV, the Spanish ministers involved and other interested parties has been called for early next week, with an emphasis on restructuring the grant, rather than cutting it entirely. Ivan Fernandez Lobo, founder and managing director at European events organizer Gamelab Conference, said he will be part of the meeting. He told Polygon: “We are on the right track and we have the support of the government and the Ministry of Industry in growing the Spanish games industry. We always want to improve, but it takes small steps to go far.” We’ll update with any new details as they come in.