Six European games development trade associations have signed a ‘Video Game Manifesto’ which they hope will help government ministers understand the cultural impact of video games – and perhaps help aid the argument as to why games should get local tax credits.
The letter is signed by six member organisations of the European Game Developers Federation, which was formed a year ago.
UK’s Tiga, French association APOM, Finnish group Neogames, Benelux’s BGIn, the Danish Producers Association and German association GAME are all signatories of the letter, which is also intended to argue the case for why games should be worthy of state support and protection. It has been sent to a number of EU bodies by APOM boss, and Quantic Dream co-CEO, Guillaume de Fondaumiere.
“We believe that although video game production is a global industry, the values and talents applied to creating video games in Europe are not the same as those found in other parts of the world where these games are created, especially North America and Asia. There is a very distinct style to be seen in games created in our European countries, and it’s a style that reflects the diversity and independence of European creativity, especially in terms of its originality,” says the manifesto, pointing out that video games have captured the imagination of younger consumers especially and now sit alongside the traditional mediums of cinema, TV, the printed word and music.
It adds: “Our view is that video gaming is no longer simply a form of entertainment, but is a Europe-wide culture in itself; a culture that conveys real values and draws on a huge range of artistic talent, much of which is borrowed from other disciplines.”
The letter reiterates the view that the European development sector is under threat from those regions with government assistance, such USA, Canada and South Korea – and possibly also Australia, where strategic lobbying by the Game Developers Association of Australia is garnering attention from the government.
“The effect of this support has been to move creative centres out of Europe,” adds the letter. “The need to defend European cultural diversity and independence is now a cause for serious concern within the profession.
“Those who work in this industry fear that unless effective action is taken as quickly as possible, Europe will very soon be left on the sidelines of the digital media world restructuring process now underway.
“Emerging countries like India and China are investing heavily in gaming, as they are in all digital media, and will soon become major creative centres themselves.”
As such, the signatories are now formalising their demand for cultural acknowledgment by those in the European Parliament: “The survival of creative diversity and independence in Europe is therefore under threat, and we are launching a formal and insistent appeal to the national and European authorities, the culture ministers of every member state, the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers and the European Commission. Our immediate demand is that all these bodies join with the signatories to this appeal in treating the video gaming industry as an integral part of European culture, and that individual countries should be entitled to introduce the national governmental policies required to support independent video game production.”