"All games are cultural" - Quantic Dream
CEO Guillaume de Fondaumière on why the EC tax break definition doesn't yet go far enough
Late last year the European Commission approved a request from the French government to apply film-style tax breaks, worth up to 20 per cent, to the domestic videogames industry - but only so long as the games in question had "quality, originality and contribute[d] to cultural diversity."
But according to Quantic Dream CEO Guillaume de Fondaumière, who was instrumental in persuading the EC to adopt the ruling, the agreement will exclude "30-40 per cent of the games that are produced," despite his belief that "all games are cultural".
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz ahead of this year's Game Connection event in Lyon, de Fondaumière explained that it was important to see the positive side of the ruling, but that work should continue to persuade people further on this point.
"I think all games are cultural," he said. "Unfortunately we weren't able, during our discussions with the European Commission to make them understand that all games are culture.
"With 18 months of tough negotiations, we've been able to come to an agreement that a definition that unfortunately excludes 30-40 per cent of games that are produced.
"But I prefer to see the glass half full, rather than half empty, and I think it's a step in the right direction. I think that this measure is going to prove beneficial to the French videogames sector, and I think that we have to continue, at the European level, to educate people as to what games are, why it's important to have a lively European videogames sector, and hopefully in the future we will be able to obtain from the European Union a far wider recognition of videogames as a form of cultural expression.
"My aim is that all games be recognised as a form of cultural expression in the way that all movies are recognised as a form of cultural recognition."
He pointed to people's own experiences of games, with age being a factor.
"Of course, I think that the generation gap is an important factor, although when we started our discussions the culturally recognised games were the exception," he said. "Here I think today, if you take the definition that has been accepted by the European Commission, a good majority of games fall into this category.
"In only 18 months - and I must say almost alone - we've been able to, if not change their minds, then at least alter their judgement. So I think that if all countries adopt a similar approach and go one-by-one to the EU, explain what the sector is, what their games are, why this is culture to them and culture in general, then I think it will help to change their minds."
The full interview with Guillaume de Fondaumière is available now.