The new cultural video game

Under Acts adopted under the EC Treaty/Euratom Treaty whose publication is not obligatory, the European Commission published, on the 6th of May, its Commission Decision of 11 December 2007 on State Aid C 47/06 (ex N 648/05) Tax credit introduced by France for the creation of video games (notified under document number C(2007) 6070)

The measure is a scheme, in the form of a tax credit, for supporting the creation of video games with a cultural dimension. The Commission Decision to initiate the procedure was published in the Official Journal of the European Union then called on interested parties to submit their comments. The Commission received comments from the following interested parties:

To be eligible for the tax credit, the video games must satisfy a number of criteria. Eligible games are defined as leisure software made available to the public on a physical medium or online and incorporating elements of artistic and technological creation; the latter cover not only PC and console video games but also mobile games, on-line games for one or more players, educational or edutainment software and, provided that they incorporate sufficient interactivity and creativity, cultural CD-ROMs. A threshold of EUR 150,000 for development costs has been set so as to exclude games not intended for largescale marketing.

Eligible video games must also have a cultural dimension. For this, they must satisfy one of the following two criteria:

  • Either they must adapt an existing work from Europe’s cultural heritage on the basis of a scenario written in French.
  • They must satisfy a criterion relating to the quality and originality of the concept and to their contribution to expressing Europe’s cultural diversity and creation in the field of video games. This criterion will be assessed by examining the quality and originality of the content, the scenario, playability, navigation and interactivity as well as the visual, sound and graphic elements.

Tax credit mechanism

The French authorities propose introducing a ceiling per undertaking in order to keep the tax cost of the measure under control. As things stand, they propose to set a ceiling of EUR 3 million. The annual budget expected for the scheme is put at some EUR 30 million.