Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
September 23, 2014
arrowPress Releases
September 23, 2014
PR Newswire
View All





If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


Quebec Blocks English-Only Games When French Version Exists
Quebec Blocks English-Only Games When French Version Exists
April 3, 2009 | By David Jenkins, Staff

April 3, 2009 | By David Jenkins, Staff
Comments
    51 comments
More: Console/PC



Canadian province Quebec has made it illegal to sell only English language versions of new video games, if a French version of the same title is also available somewhere else in the world.

As reported by newspaper The Toronto Star and French-language site Jouez.com, the new law came into force on April 1st and has caused worries on the part of retailers that it could lead to delays in the release of new games.

If a French version of a game is available -- for example, in France or other French-speaking countries -- then Quebec retailers must soon carry a French or bilingual version of the title to continue being able to sell the game.

The deal was signed by l'Office quebecois de la langue francaise and the Entertainment Software Association of Canada in September 2007. At the time, publishers and retailers were given over 18 months of time to prepare for the changeover, which occurred April 1, 2009.

Despite its overall support for the bill, the ESA Canada has claimed that some publishers may decide not to release games at all in the region, given the cost of preparing a French version even when one is already available or planned for France.

Previously, such rules applied only to game manuals, but not to in-game text. This new restriction applies to all current major home and portable game consoles and PC -- but not to the last-generation PlayStation 2.

Game store chain co-owner Ronnie Rondeau is quoted by The Star as saying that delays of French language versions can last up to five months -- with the English language version easily available in other provinces.

"I'm afraid it's going to cost me my business," said Rondeau. "If it really was going to make a difference, I'd be for it, but only a small number of people want to play in French. The rest don't care."

[UPDATE: Additional information from Jouez.com added explaining specific terms of the law, when it was signed, and its implications - headline clarified.]


Related Jobs

Raven Software / Activision
Raven Software / Activision — Madison, Wisconsin, United States
[09.23.14]

Sr. Gameplay Engineer - Raven
Cloud Imperium Games
Cloud Imperium Games — Santa Monica, California, United States
[09.22.14]

Technical Animator
CCP
CCP — Reykjavik, Iceland
[09.22.14]

Director, Performance Marketing
Nintendo of America Inc.
Nintendo of America Inc. — Redmond, Washington, United States
[09.22.14]

Software Business Development Manager, Licensing










Comments


Bruno Dion
profile image
Haaaaaa crap. Thank you Partie Québécois cause I'm pretty sure you are the ones behind that law. Guess if a game is delayed because of that I'll have to get it on Amazon.

Tom Newman
profile image
This is pretty rediculous. They want to screw their retailers for this strange provincial pride some people in Quebec have, when the vast majority of people in the province speak english. I live 15 miles from Ontario, and there seems to be this rivalry between Quebec and the rest of Canada. I have many Canadian friends who rag on Quebec all the time the same way someone from New York may rag on some of the "Bible Belt" states in the south-east US. Not that it's right, but it's moves like this that fuel that.

Simon Prefontaine
profile image
Looks like I'll be driving down to Ottawa to buy my games.

Kees Rijnen
profile image
Wouldn't it help Quebec-kids to improve their English if they choose to play English video games?



In most parts of the world a lot of time, effort and money is spend trying to teach kids proper English next to their native language, but of course, Quebec does it reverse.



Ah well, the world moves on :)

Ceri Young
profile image
The headline doesn't match the article text. Quebec hasn't banned english-only video games. They are requiring that a french version ALSO be available if there is one. There is no ban on english-language games.



So I don't understand why you would have to "wait five months for the translation" in order to stock a game. If it's not available on release, it would seem you can sell the english version with no french version, unless the explanation in the article itself is wrong or misleading. I think it's telling that they don't even have a quote in the Toronto Star article from anyone in the government explaining the law. Did they not call to clarify?



Also, please note that the Liberal Party of Quebec is the current governing party and has been since April of 2003. If this is a new law, it had to pass through a Liberal assembly.

Bob McIntyre
profile image
One nice thing about the USA is that we don't have an official language, so people can use any language they want. Most people use English, but the government publishes information in multiple languages based on (I assume) census data. Of course, that doesn't stop people from complaining that they have to "press 1 for English," but those people are easy to ignore.

Marc Andre Parizeau
profile image
Ceri, you are right on this one. The thing to be noted, For the Liberal party of Quebec to get elected, they all of a sudden became nationalist. Anyways, it's things like this that make me ashamed of being from Quebec. for People to "outlaw" English only products in order to preserve their culture says a lot of them. What tiny people we are... pathetic. I buy my games in English and English only but our dear government decided that I was not mentally fit to make that decision it seems...

Chris Lucas
profile image
While the law doesn't seem to expressly forbid the sale of English games before the French version is released, I seriously doubt retailers in Quebec will buy much stock if it's going to become illegal after a few months. Regardless, this law only hurts the businesses and citizens of Quebec. I imagine there will be a number of legal battles over this in the coming months.

Adam Bishop
profile image
I agree with Ceri, some of the content here (and moreso in the Star article) is misleading. What appears to be the case is this:



1. If there is no French language version available, selling the English-only version is still perfectly legal.



2. Both articles state that this only matters if a French language version is *available*, so the concerns about translations being delayed seems completely irrelevant. If the translated version isn't out yet, keep selling the English one.



3. The goal isn't to get retailers selling French only versions; the goal is to get them selling bilingual versions. As in, games that have both French AND English. I've bought plenty of bilingual games here in Ontario, and I've never had any problems with them. They play identically to the English-only games I've got.



I still think it's a bad law, but I also think the ESAC and the game store owner quoted are inventing issues that don't actually exist.

Marc Andre Parizeau
profile image
Basically the law state that if a French version of the game is available anywhere in the world, it needs to be in store at the same as the English version otherwise the English version will not be made available to consumers. So if there's no French version, you can sell your English only version in Quebec. Whether or not it affects us, it still sucks to have a government dictate what's good for us...

Ceri Young
profile image
Chris - according to the article it's not going to "become illegal in a few months". They're just going to have to buy a copy of the french version of the game when it's released. They can still sell the english version, they just have to have the french version available as well (much like computer stores must have display laptops with french keyboards, but you can usually get an english keyboard by asking for one when you purchase.)



Marc-Andre - do you have the text of the law, or a more in-depth article than the one in the Star? I'd love more detail on this.

Marc Andre Parizeau
profile image
I will look into it...

Michel McBride-Charpentier
profile image
I think the issue is that a French version could exist as part of the EFIGS (English/French/Italian/german/Spanish) translation being sold in Europe, while the North American version is English only. Only large publishers create English/French bilingual games specifically for Canada. So if a French localization exists in Europe, it will be illegal to sell an English-only North American version. Since studios often work with different publishers for European and North American distribution, this creates problems. Can the NA publisher take the European publisher's translation? It creates a lot of headaches.

Marc Andre Parizeau
profile image
The article is in French, but explain entirely what the new deal between the ESA and the Office de la langue Française signed. http://jouez.branchez-vous.com/2007/09/plus_de_jeux_en_francais_a
u_qu.html

(I will try to find an English one)





Basically, and it seems that the major players in the gaming industry signed this, Before, the Publishers only needed to include a French instructional booklet with the game in order to sell it in Quebec. That will no longer be sufficient. If the game is in English ONLY, it will available for sale in Quebec. If the game as a French version anywhere in the world, that version has to be available in Quebec as well. It either need to come out at the same time as the English version or within a reasonable delay of it's original launch. This is only for the Next-gen consoles and PC. The PS2 is exempt of this agreement.

Joseph Cassano
profile image
Region codes will make this a hassle. Even if there is a French version in the world somewhere, it would also need to be made compatible for the North American region.



As far as I know, PS3 games are region-free, but I'm unsure about other consoles. I may even be wrong about the PS3. Someone feel free to elaborate/correct me.

Ceri Young
profile image
Thanks for the article Marc-Andre! I'd try my hand at a translation, but I don't have the time (or the skill, really!) so I'll just quote a few relevant points...



Basically the article is is, as Marc-André says, an overview of a new deal between the Quebec government and the ESA Canada, and about 30 major players in the industry signed onto it.



(The article is dated September 10, 2007)



"Depuis juillet 2007, les nouveaux jeux vidéo lancés au Québec sont offerts dans un emballage bilingue ou multilingue, et la documentation, qui les accompagne, comporte également une version française. A partir du 1er octobre 2007, les produits développés pour ordinateur, lorsqu'ils sont offerts en vente au Québec, seront disponibles en français, si la version française de ce produit est disponible ailleurs dans le monde. La francisation des jeux vidéo se poursuivra progressivement jusqu'au 1er avril 2009, alors que tous les nouveaux produits vendus au Québec, autant les jeux pour console de nouvelle génération et pour console portable que ceux pour ordinateur, devront répondre à ces exigences."



roughly...(I am not a translator, nor do I play one on TV. Please somebody correct me if I make an error)



"Since July of 2007, video games released in Quebec have had a bilingual or multilingual packaging and the accompanying documentation also includes a french version. Beginning on October 1, 2007, products developed for a computer which are available in Quebec will be available in French if the french version of this product is available elsewhere in the world. The francisation* of video games will follow progressively until April 1, 2009, when all new products sold in Quebec, including games for the next-gen consoles and handheld consoles, will have to follow these requirements."



*Or frenchification, if I'm understanding right. I'm sure there's a more elegant term.



And then later, under "Update #2"



"Ensuite, afin de calmer les esprits, sachez que les versions anglaises des jeux vidéo continueront d'être disponibles au Québec. Si une version française d'un jeu PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, PSP et DS est produite pour la France (au format PAL), celle-ci sera désormais offerte au Québec (au format NTSC), soit en même temps que la version anglaise, soit un peu plus tard, pour diverses raisons techniques (localisation, transfert, etc.)."



"To calm concerns, know that the english versions of video games will continue to be available in Quebec. If the french version of a PC, Xbox 360, Wii, PSP or DS game is made for France (in PAL format), this will be offered at that time in Quebec (in NTSC format) whether at the same time as the english version, or slightly later, for technical reasons (localisation, shipping, etc.)"



So there you have it. No ban on english games, just an extension of an existing law that covered packaging. And it's also something that game companies and stores have known about for at least a year and a half.

Logan Foster
profile image
Man I love all these hair-brained "we have to protect our culture" laws that the Quebec government makes and passes. I really do fail to see how this will benefit the people of Quebec at all except to punish them for enjoying the entertainment that they seek.



Let's face the facts here, no publisher with even less than half a brain will spend the extra money needed to follow this law in order to release a copy of the game in Quebec on the main world-wide release date (as people have said, there are things like region controls and localization needed) simply because the Quebec-french market only makes up at best 1.7% of the total sales of North America. What is far more likely is that a game either will not be released in Quebec at all if there is a french version, or the french language version of the game will be released 5 months later after the game has made its lions share of cash and they can outsource the port to some 3rd party.



So the bitter irony of it all is that people in Quebec will end up paying tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks and incentives every year to companies to operate and make games in Quebec, but will more than likely never see any of these games released into their territory to play and enjoy. Its flawed logic... but then again no one ever said the Quebec governments have ever been logical.

Joseph Cassano
profile image
@Ceri Young: The end answers my region question then. Thanks for posting.

[User Banned]
profile image
This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Marc Andre Parizeau
profile image
Dave,



First of all It's not American, it's English. Second, don't put all of them in the same basket. Because that's just being ignorant doing so! It's a minority and unfortunately, the majority suffers for it.



Ceri,



You've got it pretty much nailed down. Félicitation.

Ceri Young
profile image
@L Foz - actually, I see a distinct benefit, in that it will offer more gaming options to people in Quebec whose first language is French, or whose English skills are shaky. I think the aim is to encourage companies who are already making a french version of their game to release that version in Quebec as well as Europe. And for game companies to stock those games once they're released. More people playing games in a language they can understand might well inspire them to become involved the game industry, particularly at a Montreal company where it's possible to work primarily in french.



And as to it meaning less games are available, while that may be true in the short term (and I emphasize the *may*), long-term I think it will sort itself out. Many people said that no one would make games for Quebec when the bilingual packaging laws came into effect. I've only had trouble finding a game once (quite a while ago, and I think the game is now available in Quebec with the bilingual packaging.)

Francois Taddei
profile image
Hi everyone!



I'm the editor of JOUEZ.com and JOUEZenfrancais.ca (which means Play in French). Thanks for quoting the extensive articles I wrote about this. Here's a quick resume I wrote down:



In 1977, the Charter of the French Language, also know as Bill 101, defined French as the only official language of Quebec and framing fundamental language rights of all Quebecers. In 1997, this law was amended so that every product sold in Quebec must include packaging, instructions and warranty certificates in French. Since then, all computer software, including game software and operating systems, whether installed or uninstalled, must be available in French unless no French version exists. Video games publishers were given a six year grace period to comply. Since 2003, video games are now available with french packaging/booklets/warranties.



In 2007, the Quebec government finalized a deal with the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, to increase the number of video games available in French in Quebec. Activision Blizzard, Disney Interactive Studios, Electronic Arts, Microsoft Canada, Nintendo of Canada, Sony Computer Entertainment Canada, Take2 Interactive, THQ and Ubisoft Canada, who are all members of the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, agreed that they would be able to offer their next generation games with French content before April 1st, 2009, if such a version exists elsewhere in the world.



After this deal was announced in 2007, the number of bilingual games raised significantly. For example, in 2007, only 17% of Xbox 360 games were available in French in Quebec. Today, half of the Xbox 360 library (about 190 titles out of 380) is available in French in Quebec. Almost every new AAA release is now bilingual or multilingual. Games that are only available in English, that don't exist in French, still can be sold in Quebec. Out of the thousand games released each year, almost every one of them made their way in Quebec. Retailers complaining about possible delays or higher pricing are not truthful.



That's about it, so there's nothing new here from my point of view.

Mark Harris
profile image
What you are ignoring are the intangible negatives of such laws. These laws create increased costs for developers and publishers that are not necessarily tied to increased monetary gain, thereby either diminishing the profit of the developer or increasing the cost to consumer (pass-through). So, thanks for contributing to an increase in development costs and ultimately an increase in consumer cost.



Another intangible negative is the artificial market conditions caused by such laws and the precedent created thereby. When a government mandates market costs they manipulate the fluidity and organic nature of a market. If a company thought return on investment was sufficient than they would do this on their own. By mandating artificial market conditions in this area you open up the door for legislators to push into other markets (i.e. housing in the US over the last few decades). See how that works out for your economic growth and stability.



As someone mentioned earlier, these policies are in direct opposition (philosophically) to the use of tax breaks to entice game developers to do business in Quebec. It seems as though your legislative body is confused as to their priorities.

Haig James Toutikian
profile image
Maybe we will see a rise in the number of games bought online (PC - Steam, Impulse, etc.) in this region? I know I will be buying my games from Steam, if this gets out of hand.

Logan Foster
profile image
@Ceri



I am not saying this to be a dick or bash any language or group, but a solid grasp of the English language is fundemental if you really want to make games regardless if you wish to design, program or make art. Its the language of business (at this time) and it is the language that all code is written in, so its pretty much a must know skill if you want to make games/entertainment software (I am sure we have all worked with enough outsourced work to know what problems you can get if deal with people that do not know this skill). I am not saying people should learn whatever the native tongue/dialect is of their region, but I doubt that a localized language version of a hit game is going to inspire someone to get into this industry so lets just call this law what it is a rediculously dumb act that will do nothing to forward the development of games or even the Quebecois culture.

Lance Rund
profile image
http://www.immigrationwatchcanada.org/index.php?module=pagemaster
&PAGE_user_op=view_page&PAGE_id=2123&MMN_position=92:90



Increasing linguistic and cultural Balkanization isn't helping Quebec's employment situation at all. Quebec has historically had a significantly higher unemployment rate than the rest of Canada, and language-purity laws and increased expenses/hassle/harassment due to these laws is undeniably a major factor.



Doing business in Quebec is also more difficult for non-francophones. If a company which is seeking to expand into Canada is selecting a site, and that company does business in English elsewhere, why in the world would they want to locate in Quebec? What reason would someone select Montreal over Toronto? The only reason I can think of is a very unfortunate one: higher unemployment means that lower wages could be paid, assuming that unskilled labor is part of the business in question. For high-tech companies like gaming, "unskilled" is generally nowhere in the business vocabulary.



So Quebec perpetuates itself as a place in which low-paying jobs are de facto supported over high-paying jobs. It's a ghettoization, and this is not a good thing. However, unlike many other ghettoizations, Quebec is doing it to itself. Nationalistic pride is coming at the direct price of standards of living, opportunities to its citizens, and a desire to avoid doing business in Quebec because the potential gains are outweighed by cultural and legal hassles.



I'm not pulling this out of the air. I have numerous Canadian friends in the industry, and the ones who are primarily Anglophone Quebecers (i.e. come from a portion of Quebec other than Montreal proper) are, to a man, EX-Quebecers. The Torontoans are happy where they are.



I really have to wonder if moves like this have had their consequences thought through, or if it's simply a cynical nationalistic PR move to enhance a politician's chance at reelection by appealing to harmful nationalism.

Logan Margulies
profile image
Off of what Lance is saying, the whole thing will likely work itself out. A few people have offered different interpretations of what the bill will or will not do. There's really no way to know, at this stage, what will happen. What is the enforcement mechanism for the bill? Are we talking self-reporting (read, nonexistent), or does responsibility for regulation fall to some provincial arm of government? What are the penalties in the statute, and what are the more realistic penalties to be handed down by a court or regulatory agency (which would be acting is also unclear from what I read). This may be just another toothless bill that's meant to score points with Partie Québécois' base. Or they may actually be intending to assign the resources in manpower and money (which seem misappropriated in this economic climate) to enforce it. If enforcement is strict, then it really comes down to the contours of the bill:



- If enforcement is interpreted in a way that results in delays between release of an English and French title so that players have the option to get the English title via buying outside the province or on digital distribution, local retailers will suffer and the ends of the bill will be frustrated.



- If enforcement is loopholed to effectively allow no gap in release between French and English versions, then the bill is essentially pointless, and just a waste of implementation costs, but likely an effective political boondoggle for Francophones.



Either way, the ultimate outcome's likely not going to change the face of gaming options in Quebec all that much. Still, it'd be nice if they could just keep politics out of it.

Ceri Young
profile image
L Foz: I have to disagree. While a solid grasp of the English language is definitely a must for some positions (if you're trying to write a game script, for example), I work in a company where many employees - be they designers, programmers, or artists - have english skills that are shaky or practically nonexistent (others are fluently bilingual. It really varies). That doesn't make them bad at their jobs or difficult to work with at all. You're right in that it would present a lot of challenges if they were working outside a city like Montreal, where many (if not most) people speak at least some degree of both English and French, but here it can definitely work.



Outsourcing is not something I've ever had to deal with, so I can only say I expect it's much different, particularly as you're not only communicating with someone in their second language, you're also generally doing it at a distance, which introduces its own problems.



Getting back to the video games being made available in french, my point above was mainly that I can understand people's wish to play a game in a language they're most comfortable with (I know I prefer reading books and watching TV in english!), and the government's wish to encourage/facilitate that - keeping in mind, they're requiring that games be available in french in Quebec ONLY if a french-localized version already exists elsewhere. Presented as such, it doesn't seem like a cost-intensive, useless or ultimately unprofitable gesture. (And evidently some major players in the game industry agree, since they signed onto the deal.)

David Delanty
profile image
I hate it when ridiculous legislation that gets passed April 1st. I always think silly things like this are just an April Fool's joke. I mean, this is very stereotypically French-Canadian, it just reeks pranksters on the rumor mill, so the fact that it's true makes it...quite disorienting.

Evan Combs
profile image
@Marc-André Parizeau



Since I am a language nut, and because you obviously didn't catch the humor in what he said, I just wanted to let you know that American is a dialect of English. If you live in the Americas and speak English you are probably speaking the American dialect of English, not 100% pure English. Also he was just trying to make a joke, you don't need to get all pc on him.



Anyways on subject now. This just may be because I'm an American, but I don't see a point to this law or why any body of government should waste its time with such a law.

Frederic Laporte
profile image
Evan, you don't see the point in protecting one's culture?

Ning Wang
profile image
Wouldn't it help Quebec-kids to improve their English if they choose to play English video games?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



that is exactly what QC goverment doesn't like to see. :)

Frederic Laporte
profile image
Wouldn't it completely make French disappear if everything was in English?



That is exactly what QC government doesn't like to see ;)

Jon Boon
profile image
It's too bad that we have lews like this in Canada. I absolutely loathe the fact that I am from Canada when things like this come up, that Quebec gets special treatment from our government. You can protect your culture all you want, just like the Brazilians who immigrate here, the Mexicans, the Irish, whoever have you. As long as it doesn't cost my taxpayer money to save your culture, I have no issue with it. However, that never happens, and the rest of Canada has to suffer for Quebec's special issues.



You know what? You are part of Canada, so act like Canadians, or else get out.

francois emery
profile image
I don't understand why everyone is shocked by this law. It's very logical, if this law didn't exist, the retailers wouldn't bother to import the french version of a game and the language would die sooner or later. It's the only way to protect french in Quebec.



But the funniest thing is that american people do the exact same thing in californie to protect English from Spanish influence. So i ask you this question guys? Force english in Californie is a non sense for you???after all their should be no law to protect a language.

francois emery
profile image
actually jon boon, canada is supposed to be bilingual and French and English should be equal to equal, if you act canadian you should support this law or get out and go to a place where French is not an official language in your constitution.

So jon, act like a canadian and support French or get out.

Jon Boon
profile image
@francois



If Canada is "bilingual" as you say, why is French superior to English in every way, shape, or form in Quebec, as opposed to nearly every part of the rest of the country? Quebec is unilingual (it is French and has "support" for English) much the same way that parts of Winnipeg have support for Chinese with Royal Bank machines using Chinese lettering and such.



They want "equality" until they are ahead. Until the Bloc Quebecois is no longer an official party that is allowed in any form of government positions, I will not be a supporter of French Canada. It seems Quebecers don't want to support it themselves...



On topic, I did read more on the law, and I do understand that it doesn't block the sale, per se. However, with localization issues, as well as Censoring problems, Quebec may fail to see games that have both versions available (the other language version will just come "later") in a timely fasion. Which means it simply becomes an inconvenience to every gamer, as they will simply buy elsewhere, rather than locally in order to get the game on release.

francois emery
profile image
I don't have an edit function, but just to say that my last sentence wasnot meant to be rude toward jon, but to show that aggressivity was not necessary in this topic. We should be more constructive and discuss instead of saying you are with us or against us.

francois emery
profile image
@jon

effectively French is superior to English in Quebec because this is where most of the french speaking canadians concentrate. Why is it a problem? they just want that in quebec you have services in their own native language. It seems logical to me. I don't understand why it bothers english speaking canadians?

Philippe Fournier
profile image
@ Lance Rund:

Where did you get your information that unemployment rates are historically higher in Quebec than elsewhere ? This article clearly shows the opposite:



http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fpposted/archive/2009/03
/13/february-unemployment-rates-by-province.aspx



Furthermore, if you recall, Bioware, a game studio owned by EA and originally from Edmonton, Alberta, chose to expand its business in Montreal, even if they are used to doing business in English. Why? Because of Quebec's talent pool, not its "unskilled labor". Quebec is doing some great things for game development with great tax incentives for companies and good schools that form people who work at Ubisoft (Assassin's Creed, Splinter Cell, Rainbow Six), EA, Eidos, A2M just to name a few. And high paying jobs are definitely respected with tech companies like Bell, Bombardier and CAE again to name a few.



Frankly, I don't see the "ghettoization" of Quebec you talk about. Lower salaries are in accordance to lower costs of living. Of course the salaries are higher in BC, but if you look closely at the cost of living (housing, food, insurance), you will clearly realize that its necessary to have higher salaries for people to have the same quality of life as people in .. Quebec. I'm from Quebec and never have been unhappy and I know a couple of people that moved from Vancouver to Montreal and would never go back. Quebec is a place where you need to be open minded and accept other people's rights to their culture, and not just immigrants, but people who helped build this country the way it is now.



@ Jon

French is not superior in a way that English is not respected, it is trying to be equal to the other official language of Canada, and Quebec is sadly the only province to try and do so. Like Francois said, Canada's native languages are English and French. It's been like that since 400 years, since the first town of Canada has been founded, Quebec's capital city. Quebec people are trying to protect their culture and I don't see where this is a bad thing. Canada is the only country with 2 official languages, if the other provinces don't want to support it, it's fine with me, but Quebec is respecting this and giving equal opportunities to both languages.



This discussion has really gotten out of hand. To get back to the law itself, I don't see how this is different from movies that need to be translated in French. Yes, there is a little more work to do, but it's nothing compared to a full game development cycle. And I'm pretty sure this will be used this to include Spanish translations in US releases, like they did with the instruction booklets.

Frederic Laporte
profile image
@ Jon

Talk about ignorance. You obviously have either never been in Quebec or spent very little time here.

In a city like Montreal, it's a lot easier to get by with only English than only French. Once you get out of the city, it indeed becomes harder to get with just English but it's already a lot better than trying to get service in French anywhere else in Canada.



As far as tax dollars go, I pay just as much crap for other provinces than you do for Quebec.

If you're unhappy about the government system, it's not Quebec's fault but rather Ottawa. ;)

Mark Harris
profile image
The point is that if you make laws to protect your culture than it's no longer culture, it is institutionalized government mandate. Culture stems from the collective history of the province, passed down among families and communities. Laws enacted by governments shouldn't promote one culture over another, period. They also shouldn't burden an entire populace with laws meant to "protect" cultural identity. That is out of the scope of government control.... or it should be.

Adam Bishop
profile image
Wow, Jon. How exactly would one "act like a Canadian" anyway? What makes an English speaker more Canadian than a French speaker? The fact of the matter is that we pass laws that promote one language over others all the time, like the requirement for immigrants to speak either English or French. How do you think people in English Canada would feel if all the stores in their cities stopped selling products in English and only sold products in Mandarin or Hindi? People in English Canada would be in an uproar. But for some reason when French people in Quebec act in the same way, suddenly it's a huge issue.

Adam Piotuch
profile image
I do not see how this law got passed. This discriminates against English speaking citizens of Quebec. Not everyone in Quebec is fluent in French. Are movies treated the same way? Music? Books? How will the retailers be able to compete against online stores that are not restricted to this nonsensical law? This is a prime example of how government hurts businesses instead of helping them.

Mark Harris
profile image
It's not discriminatory, but it is asinine.

Philippe Fournier
profile image
Once again, this law is not to prohibit the sale of video games in English, but to offer French speaking Canadians the possibility of enjoying their favorite video games. Games will still be sold in English and possibly in French versions.



Movies and books are treated the same way, French and English versions are always available, unless there is no translation. Unlike somebody said, the vast majority of Quebec's population speaks French, not English, and I think it is fair to offer this majority the choice to play video games in their native language if it is available already.



And no, this law is not asinine, but filled with common sense.

Mark Harris
profile image
Common sense only if you believe in government control of game distribution. If the situation in Quebec warrants a French version of a game, then the French version will be available. If not, then this law forces an artificial constraint on the market, increasing cost to developers/publishers/distributors without adequate return on the investment. That's a rather slippery slope, friend, and an asinine one at that.

Yannick Boucher
profile image
Sigh. EEEEEverytime there's a law regarding french language in Quebec, eeeeveryone goes up in arms and exagerates the issue.



Are you guys even game developers? Are you telling me NONE of you have ever done EFIGS versions ? It's practically a matter-of-fact for most publishers nowadays, because it has to be done for the EU anyways !



Mark, this is about the fact that the game versions EXIST already. It's just a matter of publishing them in the proper language in Quebec, what is the problem there ? 90% of games published in North America already have a french (and spanish) localization in them, try setting your console to french and you'll see.



Furthermore, if a French version doesn't exist, the English-only version is allowed ! WHERE is the problem? WHERE is the extra cost to devs/pubs ??



It's been like this for movies for DECADES, and nobody's saying a thing anymore. And it's like this for games in the EU, and nobody's saying a word there too.



Why is it always so hard to accept when it comes to Quebec, why is it always so "scandalous"? The official language there is French, and it's normal to want to protect that when you live next to the most influential english-language culture in the world !



Mark you seem to have a problem with government intervention, and if you're American, I can see where you're coming from. But most governments around the world have laws that protect their culture and languages, and that is both perfectly understandable, and necessary, considering the ubiquity of the english language. Of course, if you're born and raised in an english-speaking culture, where you never really need to pick up another language because well, you don't really need to, it could be harder to understand. But dozens and dozens (including the whole of the EU) of governments and nations can't be wrong.

Robin Gazaille
profile image
I read a lot of comments about people who seems to complain that it will increase costs for game companies...



The misleading article states that the policy was drafted WITH the ESA. Anyone doing a little digging will also see that specifically, 30 game companies joined the drafting effort!



And for game developers in general, it's a big plus. As someone mentioned already, it will mean that the vast majority of Quebecers with limited English language skills will be able to fully understand and appreciate the games as the developers intended.



It's a win situation for everyone.

Mark Harris
profile image
@Yannick



I have no problem with French games being released in Quebec. In fact, I have no problem with every digitized or printed word in Quebec being in French. I don't find it controversial that French Canadians want their goods in French. The only part of this bill I have a problem with is (as you noticed) that the government is telling companies that they HAVE to ship a French version.



Most of your arguments are based on the fact that there is already French localization in the game or that a French version is being developed for the EU regardless. While I respect your arguments, they paint a picture in which the law doesn't even need to exist. If these conditions you describe are real, then this law is nothing more than posturing and is a waste of government resources and taxpayer money.



I do, in fact, know that these dozens and dozens of governments, including the EU and the US can be wrong. I know for a fact that, at times, they WILL be wrong. I believe that the government is there to protect the citizens, and it is the citizens' responsibility to protect and foster their culture. I know for a fact that if the market is there for a French version of a game in Quebec (which it obviously is) then French language games will be sold in Quebec, with or without a government mandate. For those reasons I think the law is unnecessary and a ridiculous waste of time. I have no problem with the people of Quebec or their chosen language, only with government interference where none is needed, which you picked up on anyway.



For the record : yes, I'm from the US. My only foreign language experience is a hefty dose of Latin and a couple college classes in Spanish. Although, the Latin does help me derive some limited meaning from French, Italian, etc.

Raymond Grier
profile image
Too many people are responding to the article headline without getting clarification first or reading the well thought out comments that have been posted.

Firstly, the game companies agreed to this, they signed an agreement to do this..that makes them willing accomplices which means they must feel it is more profitable to do so than not to do so.

Secondly it is not an outright ban on English.

The problem here is so many people have heard about older language laws in Quebec that they are treating this like one of them even though it is an agreement that the companies have agreed to. But then those who didn;t read enough to figure that out probably won't read this either.


none
 
Comment: