The French Canadian government of Quebec is saying non to English-only video games if French versions are available.
French language rules on video games come into force on April 1, prohibiting the sale of new English-only video games in Quebec if a French version is available.
Is this a smart move to get more video games into the hands of French speakers? Or, is it misguided, xenophobic protectionism? I'm going with the latter.
One of the many reasons this is such a bad idea is that game companies can simply stop creating French versions of games to bypass this ridiculous law. I'm not sure how big a market there is for video games in French, but I suspect any kind of regulation that forces game development companies to abide such rules would quickly force their hand to decide if it was worth it to carry on with multiple languages.
One retailer profiled in the Toronto Star alluded to the fact that the delay in getting games to players (assuming the French version came out after the English version) would affect his business dramatically:
"I'm afraid it's going to cost me my business," Ronnie Rondeau said. "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."
If the issue for retailers is really the timely delivery of the French version then this suggests there is a market opportunity for cloud gaming platforms such as Steam to figure out ways to offer new games in multiple languages.
Via GamaSutra … Read more