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Video Games: Officially Art, In Europe


January 29, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 2 of 3 Next
 

While the text of the law was already agreed by the French Parliament in January 2007, a new vote must take place at the Senate to amend the law and take into account conditions demanded by the European Commission.

"Hopefully all will be wrapped up during the first quarter of 2008 and we're asking for a retroactive process for 2007," de Fondaumière responded.

"They are many rules to have access to this tax credits", explained Guillemot, which must be fully explored and measured. For a studio, criteria to obtain the tax credits range from obligatory narration driven, artistic expenses, sociological and political issues relevant to European citizens, to the obvious requirement of non-pornographic product, to the doubtful celebration of the country heritage, and blurry, to say the least, "violence that could mentally, morally or physically hurt end users".

Now, if this tax credit is implemented to help independent studios build their projects, what is a big international corporation like Ubisoft courting the government for?

"The good thing is, it does concern all sorts of companies", explained Guillemot. "Developers with 100 team members, as well as a bigger creator such as ourselves. We don't have one mega studio in France."

"Ubisoft has several development studios, here in Montreuil, another one in Annecy, two at Montpellier, and each one of them create games that have the ambition to sell worldwide. And we work with many other French studios like Darkworks (Cold Fear), Lexis Numerique (In Memoriam) which develop their own exceptional products."

"These tax credits will allow them to be more competitive with other international projects, especially against American studios, while the dollar is losing 15% with the euro exchange, like last year."

Quantic Dream's upcoming adventure game, Heavy Rain

Over the past several years, it is well known that Ubisoft has enrolled many French talents for its international studios, especially at its Canadian studio in Montreal. While France lost a big chunk of its workforce in the beginning of the 2000s,

"Montreal went from 90 professionals to 8000-9000 nowadays," de Fondaumière reminded us. Electronic Arts has a big share too. "French video game students have taken the habit of leaving France to get a job, to the point where we have difficulties recruiting. I hope that beyond the financial aspects, there will be a psychological one that would stop the bleeding."


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