France launches Join the Game push to attract games companies

France launches Join the Game push to attract games companies

The French government has launched a new campaign to entice games companies to relocate to France.

The Join the Game push is designed to show off the country's local games industry, with plans to support companies that want to make the leap across the Channel. The French government is promising tax breaks of 30 per cent on games production - to a maximum of €6m ($6.8m) in addition to up to €2m in equity loans. The site also breaks down French labour law - something that Blizzard is likely starting to regret tussling with - legal structure, mobility and the country's tax system.

Active partners in Join the Game include Business France, CNC (National Center for Cinema and the Moving Image), DGE (Directorate General for Enterprise), games trade body SELL and games union SNJV.

"Proud of its history and dedicated to becoming the leading country in this industry, France has aimed, over the years, to remain an important hub for game development," Join the Game's website said.

"Having doubts about why setting up in France? Join the Game illustrates the French government’s commitment to offer foreign publishers and developers – studios and independents – opportunities to discover the optimal environment to excel."

Though the campaign doesn't mention Brexit by name, Join the Game launching at a time when the UK's position as a top place to make video games is up for grabs due to Brexit uncertainty is likely not a coincidence. 

The future of the British games industry is still uncertain and largely depends on what the country's exit from the European Union looks like. One large factor is the free movement of people, due to the fact that computer science education in the UK was well below the standard set by other countries for many years. Though the island nation boasts video games talent arguably disproportionate to its size, much of the workforce is from other countries.

There is some irony to Join the Game showing off Ubisoft as a national success story. Though the firm is French, much of its development is centred in Canada, namely Montréal, which is where blockbuster IP like Assassin's Creed and Watch Dogs were born.

Brexit is an on-going concern for international publishers, too. Under United States Securities and Exchange Commission law, publicly-traded companies have to list potential risks to their businesses. Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts and Take-Two all list the UK leaving the EU as potentially damaging to their businesses.

"the terms of the United Kingdom's withdrawal and its consequences could potentially cause adverse disruptions to our operations, including our workforce, or the workforce of our suppliers, business partners, lenders or financial counterparties, in the United Kingdom or the E.U. as a result of potential changes to applicable employment or immigration rules, and our systems and information technology infrastructure or that of our suppliers, business partners, lenders or financial counterparties as a result of potential changes to regulations for data security or other data protection rules," Activision Blizzard said.

"Given our extensive global operations, the potential widespread impacts triggered through Brexit could adversely affect our business."

Meanwhile, Electronic Arts is uncertain about Brexit - even though it has taken precautions to safeguard its business.

"Brexit has caused economic and legal uncertainty in the region and may result in macroeconomic conditions that adversely affect our business," the FIFA giant wrote.

"In addition, evolving immigration rules and trade regimes could negatively impact our business. We have taken precautionary measures with respect to these matters, in relation to Brexit and otherwise, but given the significant uncertainty our precautions may not be adequate."

And finally, Take-Two said: "The effects of Brexit will depend on any agreements the U.K. makes to retain access to the E.U. markets either during a transitional period or more permanently. The measures could potentially disrupt the markets we serve and may cause us to lose customers, distributors and employees. If the U.K. loses access to the single E.U. market and the global trade deals negotiated by the E.U., it could have a detrimental impact on our U.K. growth. Such a decline could also make our doing business in Europe more difficult, which could negatively affect sales to consumers of our products. Without access to the single E.U. market, it may be more challenging and costly to distribute our products in Europe. In addition, Brexit could lead to legal uncertainty and potentially divergent national laws and regulations as the U.K. determines which E.U. laws to replace and replicate. If there are changes to U.K. immigration policy as a result of Brexit, this could affect our employees and their ability to move freely between the E.U. member states for work related matters."

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.