Ubisoft and Heavy Rain developer Quantic Dream consider a move to Canada if the ban is upheld.
The European Union has a law stating individual countries cannot place discounts for certain industries within its borders, ostensibly so that nations couldn’t try to poach companies from each other by offering sweet deals. Back in 2007, the French videogame industry was given a pass on this ban because it keeps game companies in Europe instead of overseas. The exception expires in 2012, and game companies like Ubisoft are scrambling to make sure it gets an extension. If it doesn’t go through, you might see more studios relocate to Canada, where the tax breaks flow like maple syrup.
“The abandonment of this flagship measure, which brings hope to a large number of European studios and which has demonstrated its effectiveness in France, would be an historic mistake,” said Guillaume de Fondaumiere, CEO of Quantic Dream, makers of Heavy Rain.
“We would like to point out that this French measure has not caused any distortion in competition within the EU,” he continued before pointing out that if the tax breaks ceased, France could see its videogame developer workforce shrink considerably.
All current game deals in France are still in place – most of them offering a 20 percent refund on production costs – but no company would be able to apply for new credits if the scheme isn’t upheld by the EU. Apparently, the decision rests in the hands of Wouter Pieke, the European Commission Directorate General for Competition, in Brussels, Belgium.
Here’s an idea: Someone send Wouter a few waffles and chocolate. Belgians love that stuff. Maybe he’ll look kindly upon videogame development if he was in a better mood.