France Gives Tax Breaks To Culturally Relevant Video Games

from the oui? dept

The French government isn't shy about trying to promote local culture, and apparently they've decided that video games should be a decent part of that culture. The government has decided that it will now offer tax credits to local companies that produce video games "with a cultural dimension." They claim they need to do this to help keep video game production in France, but if there isn't demand for local video game production, then why should the French government subsidize it? If there is demand, then won't the market take care of it without French taxpayer money?

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  • identicon
    Joe, 1 Feb 2007 @ 10:57pm

    I'd have to disagree with Mike on this one

    Living in Canada, we have a long history of subsidizing Canadian Content (CanCon) to help promote our culture while being deluged with, lets face it, highly polished and quite brilliant American entertainment options. In the same manner, Quebec requires all bilingual signage to display the French twice as large as the English. Iceland requires all children to be given proper Icelandic names and so on. While easy to make fun of, over time, these things do have a positive cumulative effect.

    Market forces are best at finding efficiencies, but when it comes to culture, promoting less efficient options often have valuable, though less tangible long term benefits.

    The French video game will probably suck wind. All the kids will still want to play GTA and dress like a gangsta, but efforts such as this are still valid in their goal long term.

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  • identicon
    ScytheNoire, 2 Feb 2007 @ 12:01am

    Socialist Government at work

    Also living in Canada, I agree with the above. It's just typical for socialist governments, and especially the french culture. The french deem themselves superior to all others, and so it's important that they get more money to keep their important and superior culture alive.

    So, as a Canadian, I just want to know when we can kick those french bums out of Canada already and start distributing all the tax money the rest of Canada pays more evenly across Canada and not the majority to Quebec.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Weebit, 2 Feb 2007 @ 12:06am

    culture

    A little culture never hurt anyone. Todays youth need to learn their roots. After all they didn't come from a cabbage patch, and their family of three generations ago didn't go poof! and they was instantly in a new land or what ever. Many children probably can't even tell you how hard their family's had it back in their days.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    HappyKing, 2 Feb 2007 @ 12:31am

    movie industry parallel

    This is something similar to what is done with the movie industry in France. Yes it is subsidized, but it has managed to keep a french movie industry alive, producing many quality movies that are sometimes profitable sometimes not. At least they represent a welcome change from what Hollywood is typically feeding us with. There are much worse uses of Taxpayers money.

    In the same direction, this can help produce 'different' games, that would probably not be produced otherwise. Gaming industry has become really shy in producing things for which the massmarket appeal is not obvious.

    If this can be a step in the direction of more gaming diversity, why not?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ReallyEvilCanine, 2 Feb 2007 @ 12:46am

    The market

    If there were outright demand for it, the market would step up, but if there's only "possible interest", the market will play safe and take a more general route. By sweetening the pot the French government is offering a carrot and promoting some risk-taking. This could lead to more culturally-aware or --realistic scenarios in the future. I wouldn't mind playing GTA4: Pimpin' Paris, jacking cars in Roissy (with Citroëns and Renaults the EU version of the Rumpo) and boosting an A380 at CDG.

    The French are hardly the only culture out there doing whatever they can to prevent becoming irrelevant in a sea of American culture. Iceland's sole excuse for independence is their language which the Danish didn't think to stamp out during their 500-year occupation.

    Offering tax credits is a much smarter method than trying to compete with existing businesses by starting up government-subsidised or owned competition. This leaves the tasks to those already capable of performing them. Ideally, anyway. The reality is that MerdeSoft S.A. will probably release a quick-and-dirty craptastic "game" which meets the "cultural" requirements and use that break to offset costs on their real products.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    fuse5k, 2 Feb 2007 @ 3:01am

    French video games

    Am i the only one thinking what kind of video game are they going to make that represents French culture???

    How about some ideas for french games.

    Surrender Surrender, you play as france, you have to hold your hands up in the air, as the germans march through paris.

    or hows about snub the forigner, where you play a typical parisian, going to buy bread in a beret, spitting on tourists, and generally making the whole city of paris stink by throwing rubbish around.

    The only people worse than the french, are the french canadians. Its as if the americans had to have french near them too, so that they would beleive the brits as to how bad france actually is.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    fuse5k, 2 Feb 2007 @ 3:30am

    Im not racist, I hate everyone equally.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ugly American, 2 Feb 2007 @ 5:11am

    A video game that celebrates French culture?

    So then if they had a class of character in a RTS wargame that surrenders in the first round then that maker can get a tax break.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Martin, 2 Feb 2007 @ 6:19am

    Have you played Versailles?

    I remeber a quite nice game from a few years back called Versailles. It was an adventure game with a setting in the famous Versailles castle. The plot of course involved Louis XIV.

    I think it was quite successful too. This is an example of a videogame drawing on a strong cultural background and that is different from GTA or Doom.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      haywood, 2 Feb 2007 @ 7:31am

      Re: Have you played Versailles?

      I see GTA Rhine City as strongly representative of French culture. The main character would be a member of the oppressed, unemployed youth, overturning and torching parked cars boosting rides to other parts of the city to spread the mayhem, fighting it out with the authorities. Just like any other version of GTA but with a local flair. That would be a sure way to impress the local authorities and qualify for tax credit.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    jprlk, 2 Feb 2007 @ 8:51am

    I don't believe anyone here is racist/prejudice

    I am a Canadian too, living right next door to Quebec, and I to can't stand the separatist b@$tards, nor the "our language is going down the drain so let's shove it up EVERYONE's noses whether they like it or not on the off chance that we would forget about frenchy and his/her love of their sexist language" folks.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2007 @ 10:19am

    Abusing the system

    I see this as an oppurtunity to abuse "The System" - there'll be small startup one-man companies spewing out crap products just to get a cut of the tax-break...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2007 @ 11:03am

    Sounds like a good idea to me!

    Being an American who lives near the Canadian border, I can see the positive affects of Canada's support of the arts. The best bands come from Canada. Half the actors and comedians in Hollywood are really Canadian. Canada leads the world in family friendly & educational Children's programming - Kid's CBC is MUCH better than American PBS or other American offerings...and my children don't have to be subjected to junk food & McDonald's ads while watching Kid's CBC (Even PBS has ads now - It's sickening!!!) If you check the ending credits on most good "American" children's cartoons, you'll see that they were really made in Canada.

    And look at Canada's growing film industries... how many movies and TV shows are shot each year now in Canada instead of of the US? So I think France will only benefit as does Canada from supporting the arts...supporting a country's art & talents over time opens up unseen economic and tourism opportunities. If only the US would learn from this - but they won't.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    whats in a name?, 2 Feb 2007 @ 11:14am

    Lets make a game about croissants

    Wherein the protagonist must fight off the offensive tourists using his superior baking ability.

    Or perhaps we must chase down a lost toque that was stolen by someone who is non-french.

    Or maybe a game that asks you to conquor the land and convince everyone that you are superior in every conceivable way.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Matt Bennett, 2 Feb 2007 @ 11:49am

    France is a cheap whore trying to tell you she's Helen of Troy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Danno, 3 Feb 2007 @ 3:07pm

    Subsidies for a highly desirable market tend to be about encouraging producers to stay in a particular area instead of shipping their work to another location where smaller taxes and a cheaper labor force can be found.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, 4 Feb 2007 @ 7:56pm

    Good games

    THere could be a market for a 3 musketeers game, on the Wii, using the Wiimote as a sword., tohugh you would really want force feedback on it.

    I can see that the French governemnt would want their children to be learning French rather than English from thier films and games, but since they are surrounded by french anyway this is not really an issue. I would assume they are afraid of getting a Munich-effect in the whole of the French youth. (The munich effect is a name given to the fact hat in Munich, where the European Centtral Bank is located,most everyday business is conducted in English rather than German, even though there are no English speaking countries in the ECB except Ireland (and they have less garsp of Enlish than the Yanks do), but rather because the French won't speak German, the Germans won't speak French, and no-one understands the Eastern Eurpoeans or cares about the Dutch and Italians. THis leaves English as the linga franca (a phrase garunteeed to annoy the french when used of English).)

    The idea that eh ICelandic childern have to be given ICelendic names is crazy, and almost French in stupidity. I mean, look at English. While the basic syntax is Germanic, the words tend to get made up from other words wherever there is a need. Compare that with the French, who insist on making up thier own words to maintain the purity of thier language.

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  • identicon
    Freedom Fries, 7 Feb 2007 @ 7:04am

    French video games industry

    The French government is only supporting one of its most creative sectors. Like Quebec has been doing for years http://www.investquebec.com/en/index.aspx?page=1652 with a tax credit + a 15,000$ grant per job created. The cultural part is only to recognize that video games are now part of the culture like movies and comics. Personally I won't mind playing more good video games such as Ghost Recon, Raynbow6 Las Vegas, Ray Man, Splinter Cell, Dark Messiah, Assassin's Creed form Ubisoft or keep on playing WoW published by Vivendi Universal (oups another Frenchy) With 15 million regular players, France is a big market for video game industry that why all the big us companies are operating there. In 2004, there were more copies of GTA sold than of the Da Vinci code.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Freedom Fries, 7 Feb 2007 @ 7:04am

    French video games industry

    The French government is only supporting one of its most creative sectors. Like Quebec has been doing for years http://www.investquebec.com/en/index.aspx?page=1652 with a tax credit + a 15,000$ grant per job created. The cultural part is only to recognize that video games are now part of the culture like movies and comics. Personally I won't mind playing more good video games such as Ghost Recon, Raynbow6 Las Vegas, Ray Man, Splinter Cell, Dark Messiah, Assassin's Creed form Ubisoft or keep on playing WoW published by Vivendi Universal (oups another Frenchy) With 15 million regular players, France is a big market for video game industry that why all the big us companies are operating there. In 2004, there were more copies of GTA sold than of the Da Vinci code.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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