30 years SAZ – a success story!

In 1991, twelve game designers founded the Game Designers Association (SAZ). In the following 30 years, it has become a powerful interest group with 550 members from 21 countries (as of 09/2021), which also has a political impact. Its successes are impressive. Today, game designers have a stronger position vis-à-vis publishers and can act with greater confidence.

The Game Designer Association has achieved much during the 30 years of its existence and has become much more professional. This includes, among other things, the naming of game authors on game boxes, and increasingly, in the media. Other results are better contract conditions with publishers, the recognition of copyright protection for their work by the German Ministries of Justice and Finance as well as artistic recognition of their work by the German Social Insurance for Artists.

SAZ establishes the best possible analogue and digital contacts with publishers, for example, by organizing the Game Designers Convention in Göttingen. Additionally, support and training programs such as the German Young Game Designer Scholarship, the Game Development Conference, the SAZ Academy, the SAZ Points series of publications, and a variety of guides round off the range of services. Since 2015, the board has a manager to offer organizational support.

Politically, the SAZ is involved in the German Cultural Council and the Copyright Initiative. Since 2014, it has been pursuing the goal of including games in the collection catalogue of the German National Library. In addition to the desired official recognition of games as a cultural asset, this should create a comprehensive database for the distribution of library royalties by VG WORT to game authors and publishers, a legal claim that has so far only been rudimentarily honored! Corresponding questions from the SAZ to political parties in front of this year's German parliamentary elections were answered very positively. In this respect, we look forward to the coming legislative period with excitement. (Status as of October 2021 - in the meantime, this demand has been included in the Coalition Agreement of the new Federal Government).

Even though many activities of SAZ are currently focused on Germany, we see this as a model for local activism in other countries in the future.

Detailed information about the development of SAZ can be found in a dossier available here as a PDF download.