New rules on video games in Quebec come into force, banning English-only games if French is available

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Dans cet épisode, l'aventure n'est plus menée par un des descendants de la famille Belmont comme il est de coutume dans les autres épisodes, mais par Alucard, le fils de Dracula et d'une humaine, Lisa, morte sur un bucher pour avoir aimé le vampire. Il désire rester plongé dans un long sommeil qui lui permettrait d'échapper à sa nature vampirique. Pourtant, quand le mal renaît et que les Belmont ne sont pas là pour protéger le monde de Dracula, Alucard se réveille pour défier son père.

Interesting. I'm actually a fan (most of the time) of Quebec's draconian language laws because as they're completely understandable considering its geographic situation. These new measures also seem to have been remarkably effective:
In 1977, the Charter of the French Language, also known as Bill 101, defined French as the only official language of Quebec and framing fundamental language rights of all Quebecers. In 1997, this law was amended so that every product sold in Quebec must include packaging, instructions and warranty certificates in French. Since then, all computer software, including game software and operating systems, whether installed or uninstalled, must be available in French unless no French version exists. Video games publishers were given a six-year grace period to comply. Since 2003, video games are now available with French packaging/booklets/warranties.

In 2007, the Quebec government finalized a deal with the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, to increase the number of video games available in French in Quebec. Activision Blizzard, Disney Interactive Studios, Electronic Arts, Microsoft Canada, Nintendo of Canada, Sony Computer Entertainment Canada, Take2 Interactive, THQ and Ubisoft Canada, who are all members of the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, agreed that they would be able to offer their next-generation games with French content before April 1, 2009, if such a version exists elsewhere in the world.

After this deal was announced in 2007, the number of bilingual games raised significantly. For example, in 2007, only 17 percent of Xbox 360 games were available in French in Quebec. Today, half of the Xbox 360 library (about 190 titles out of 380) is available in French in Quebec. Almost every new AAA release is now bilingual or multilingual. Games that are only available in English, that don't exist in French, still can be sold in Quebec. Out of the thousand games released each year, almost every one of them made their way in Quebec. Retailers complaining about possible delays or higher pricing are not truthful.
So as long as the government is working together with companies to make it easy as possible to adapt to the laws, there really isn't a problem.

Another article here from the Star has some interesting comments below. A lot of people are actually grateful to the new law because game distributors have been lazy for quite some time about providing the French version of a game to customers.


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