The SGDA gears up for the future

Strengthened Romandie representation, Philomena Schwab elected as first vice-president – results of the General Assembly 2018 of the Swiss Game Developers Association

On October 20th, the General Assembly of the Swiss Game Developers Association took place at the Impact Hub in Bern. The assembly reviewed the ongoing excellence of Swiss studios, its pioneering spirit with a continuous stream of releases and awards won.

Political key events

  • The Federal Council released a report discussing the cultural relevance of video games as a medium. The SGDA is pleased that the Swiss Federal Council recognizes the potential of games and is now requesting further action in terms of developing a sustainable funding strategy.
  • In Zurich, people recently voted on the “Film and new media promotion” initiative, which offered to open up additional funds for Swiss film makers and developers of new media projects. Despite the rejection of the initiative, the political landscape expressed strong support to further promote games as an industry and art form. The SGDA will hold a key role to further strengthen the importance of games among politicians and will seek partnership with stakeholders in the election year 2019 on a cantonal and on a national level.

New initiatives by the SGDA

Firstly, the general assembly reviewed the SGDA’s activities in 2018. Alongside yearly efforts, such as the Swiss Game Awards, exhibitions and meet-ups, many new activities joined the list. This list includes the Enter The Game event at NIFFF, an event to show career options in Switzerland, the Interactive Storytellers series with a final event in partnership with the Museum of Digital Art (MuDA) and Creative Zurich, as well as the SGDA New Reality Space where new technologies like AR and VR are explored.


The general assembly then went on to elect the board members. The assembly elected three new board members that extend the board of previous members:

  • Beat Kunz from Zurich, who runs his own game studio Fusion.Robot and has a background in Neuroscience. Beat Kunz wants to leverage Serious Games in Switzerland and strengthen member integration and volunteer initiatives for the SGDA.
  • David Javet from Lausanne, who organizes the Romandie Game Developers Meetup in Lausanne. David is part of the Numerik Festival team, co-founded the UNIL Gamelab and explorers game design topics within the Tchagata Games cooperative.
  • Qui Cung from Fribourg, who helps young minds to learn about games in the Swiss Game Academy and as coordinator at EPAC. Qui is also the founder of game studio Oniroforge.

Thanks to the newly elected board members David Javet and Qui Cung, and current board member Elias Farhan, the board now has an even stronger representation in the French speaking part of Switzerland. Stefano Maccarinelli will continue to represent the Italian speaking part. The general assembly also appointed Philomena Schwab as vice-president to work with president Matthias Sala. Philomena wants to further improve the associations communication for both members and non-members to advance the growth of the organisation. Reto Senn and Robbert van Rooden continue their work as members of the board in their roles as treasurer and strategic projects lead.

Thomas Frey retires from his position as board member and treasurer after supporting the SGDA for many years. Luca Cannelotto, the association’s General Secretary, will be stepping down by the end of 2018. The SGDA thanks both Thomas and Luca for their tremendous contribution to the associations standing in Switzerland over the past years and wishes them all the best for their future endeavours.

Game Design Regulations
Furthermore, a project group was formed to explore possible regulations of game design to compile a resource for members that tackles topics such as best practices for loot boxes. International resources will be reviewed and neighbouring disciplines such as psychology, neuroscience and legislation will come together.

Code of Conduct
To create a shared set of values throughout the association and the Swiss game industry in general, the SGDA will compile a code of conduct as general foundation for the members which acts as guidance for start-ups and seasoned game developers alike.

Junior Swiss Game Award: the submissions are open!

Once again, the SGDA partners with the GameZfestival for the award ceremony of the Junior Swiss Game Awards.

Pupils, apprentices and young adults of age 21 or younger (you can participate if you are 21 or younger) living in Switzerland or Liechtenstein can submit a game.

Submission form:

Deadline: Sunday, October 14, 2018, 23:59

The award ceremony will take place on Saturday, November 10, 2018, 18:00-18:30, Kunstraum Walcheturm, Kanonengasse 20, Zurich


The Museum of Digital Art and the SGDA present interactive stories

How are digital stories told? How do different disciplines deal with the art of storytelling and what can they learn from each other? The Museum of Digital Art and the SGDA invite you to a summer evening with stories and discussions about interactive narration.

Speakers are Janina Woods, game developer and author who will present her work around the character Sherlock Holmes in various media, David Roulin, developer of the adventure game Colorful Darkness and interactive visual artist Tunay Bora with his work Metaformose.

With the support of Migros Kulturprozent and Creative Zurich.

Date: July 12 2018, 18:00, MuDA, Zurich

Launch of the campaign for the vote on a Film and Media Promotion Act

On September 23rd, the population of the Canton of Zurich votes on the adoption of the Film and Media Promotion Act, which was initiated by Zürich für den Film and the SGDA. Film, games and media art are to be recognised and support is to be anchored in law. The SGDA is convinced of the pioneering character of the law for Switzerland and is pleased with the positive response that the initiative has already triggered – which is also reflected in the cross-party and cross-industry support committee.

The campaign will be launched on Tuesday, July 10 2018, 18:00 in the Park Hotel Winterthur.

Swiss Game Academy 2018

From 23 to 28 July, the Swiss Game Academy will take place in Fribourg, organised by the Swiss Game Center in cooperation with the SGDA. The Academy is a one-week course in which participants can learn about the exciting professions of game development. They will also develop a game in teams.

Dates: 23-28 July 2018, Haute Ecole d’Ingénierie et d’Architecture de Fribourg

Enter the Game: Successful first edition of the career conference

The first edition of the new career conference «Enter the Game» – a cooperation between the Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival (NIFFF) and SGDA – was a success. Among the speakers were representatives of schools such as EPAC, SAE, the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (Digital Ideation), and the Zurich University of the Arts, as well as nationally and internationally successful alumni such as Swan Keller (artist for various Swiss game studios), Don Schmocker (presented the critically acclaimed game FAR: Lone Sails) and David Stark (who told the success story of the Airships game). The great interest shows that such a format covers a need in Switzerland, as more and more people are looking for ways to gain a foothold in the games industry.

Video of the conference on YouTube.

Forward Festival: SGDA with talks about interactive storytelling at the new festival for creativity and innovation

The SGDA has partnered with the Forward Festival, a cultural event promoting creativity and innovation. The SGDA presents a talk with OZWE and Sycoforge, two Swiss game studios at the forefront of the development of VR games. They will talk about the creative process involved in the production of their projects as well as the importance of storytelling and interactivity for the medium and the impact on our culture as a whole.

Date: June 2nd, 2018, 15:15 PM CET, Kosmos, Zurich

SGDA at the UPC expert roundtable: «Culturally valuable: The Swiss gaming landscape between politics, science and business»

UPC will be hosting and live streaming a roundtable focusing on the topic of the Swiss game industry. The guests are experts in their relative fields: Matthias Sala, President of the Swiss Game Developers Association SGDA and founder of Studio Gbanga, Vinzenz Kögler, former President of the Swiss Esports Federation, Sylvain Gardel, responsible for Culture & Economy in the «Design & Interactive Media» section at Pro Helvetia, and Professor Ulrich Götz from the Zurich University of the Arts ZHdK.

Date: May 29, 2018, 1:00 PM CET

Watch the roundtable here.

Informatiktage 2018: SGDA offers game development workshops for kids

After last year’s very successful edition, the SGDA once again partners with eZürich for the Informatiktage, an event aimed at promoting the local IT sector. On June 1st and 2nd the SGDA will offer game development workshops for kids. The participants will learn the basics of game development and create a small game.

Dates: June 1st and 2nd, 2018