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France strengthens video game tax credits to combat talent drain
France strengthens video game tax credits to combat talent drain
December 13, 2013 | By Christian Nutt




In the last five years, France has lost 50 percent of its game development jobs, according to website Tax-News. These troubling stats have caused the country to vote to reform its video game tax credit.

French developers have fled to the U.S. and Canada -- and the French government wants to stem that tide.

As a first step, the country has extended the period for which expenses incurred during the development of a game are eligible for the tax credit, from 36 to 72 months, to allow for the extended development period of today's games.

Moreover, currently under debate is a bill that includes language abolishing the requirement that game development projects exceed 10 million Euros ($13.7 million) to be eligible for that extension.

According to Tax-News, the National Assembly has also backed amendments to the bill that would allow PEGI 18+ games -- which are currently excluded -- to apply for tax breaks, as well as lowering the minimum budget for eligible games to 100,000 Euros ($137,340) from 150,000 Euros ($206,010).


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Comments


Sebastien Valente
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Video Games in France.... getting into the industry is somewhat like hell...

Nathan Mates
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How about reforming the laws that cap out the standard work week at 35 hours: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/35-hour_workweek

Crunch time stinks. But, if you more or less forbid it, employers will go elsewhere. Tax credits or no.

Sebastien Valente
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It's always a complex matter... For companies, putting out those 35 hours workweek will help them to restrain number of employees at a lower price.

Now there's already a lot of unemployment here, so this isn't really a good idea I think.

Sebastien Valente
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Anyway, I can add to this that many companys don't pay extra hours above 35, too...

thomas minet
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It's certainly not forbidden to work more than 35 hours per week. You just have to compensate your employees with overtime, or time off at a later date.

The real problem is that the senior employees have a serious incentive to go to Canada currently, with the average salary being almost twice what can be made in France.

Christiaan Moleman
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If you think no one ever does crunch or overtime in France you have been misinformed. And more hours does not equal greater productivity, in fact the opposite.

Sebastien Valente
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Oh no, not what I meant: crunchtime and overtime is a reality here too, and yes of course, more working hours doesn't mean more productivity.

My previous comments were dealing with all jobs in general in this country, not only the video game industry (which is quite unrepresentative compared to USA for instance).

Nathan Mates
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If -- as many posit -- sane working hours produces better results, then games coming out of France ought to be masterpieces. I can't search Metacritic by country-of-developer to prove that, though.

Kevin Sultan
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There are a lot a small studios in France which work either on social games or serious games. Most of these games suffer a low visibility. However, we can note among the most recent ones (including AAA games):

Heavy Rain (87 metacritic score)
Dishonored (91 metacritic score)
Rayman Legends (91 metacritic score)
Trackmania 2 Canyon (81 metacritic score)
Criminal Case (26 MAU)
Dofus (40 MAU)
...

Ubisoft studios also co-develop a lot of games with foreign studios, especially the Just Dance, Ghost Recon and Assassin Creed games.

The main problem is that the best talents leave the country to be paid twice more and/or to work on larger projects (only a few of companies work on AAA but a lot of people here would like to work on this kind of projects).

Regarding the 35-hour system. Companies can ask authorities to let the employees working longer during crunch times (up to 50 hours I think, TBC).

[User Banned]
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Christiaan Moleman
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@Sebastien: yeah I was more responding to Nathan than to you.

@Nathan and Andrew: That's not my opinion. That's science backed by a century of research. Crunch is only effective as a last resort when there is no longer time to plan, and only in the very short term. Extended crunch is useless and damaging. Any manager who says otherwise is incompetent.

[User Banned]
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Leszek Szczepanski
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Surprisingly the 35 hour work week does not make French workers less effective, at least according to the studies I've seen.

Christiaan Moleman
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Nathan suggests above that "employers go elsewhere" because crunch is forbidden (it is not) and implies that standard hours should be higher. My initial comment was a response to that. As Leszek points out research suggests the French are in fact no less productive for working fewer hours (it's almost like a healthy work/life balance makes people more effective at their jobs!). My second assertion about crunch was mainly a response to your vague comment that (paraphrased) "just because you don't like long hours doesn't mean they don't work" and "more equals better up to a point" which you neglect to place in context by stating what you consider an optimal baseline... then you end with the circular logic that "if more hours never helped anything, nobody would ever stay later". Let's not argue semantics.

Simon Dean
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So will there be an EU block on this while they investigate, just as they did when the UK announced the Creative Industry Tax Credit?

[User Banned]
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Troy Walker
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it's ok, they'll get their money one way or another.. perhaps increasing property tax or food/ sale tax (higher VAT?)

Christopher Enderle
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Are you saying all industries should be taxed equally?

[User Banned]
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Christiaan Moleman
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Maybe you shouldn't try to project American economics onto a completely different system.

Christiaan Moleman
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[edit: meant to reply to another comment, please delete]


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