Quebec law tramples English-only subtitles

April 3, 2009 // 4:13 p.m.

Tags: #game-politics #quebec #retail #subtitles #video-games

A new agreement between the Quebec government and the Entertainment Software Association of Canada now prevents the sale of games which have English but not French subtitles if a French localisation is available.

From today gamers in Quebec who wish to purchase games that do not contain French text or voice may be in for a very, very long wait as French subtitles are added to all games with a French language option. According to The Toronto Star, the new law is designed to "promote and protect the French language."

But the demand from the Quebec government is being met with strong hostility and resentment, as many believe that the goal carries to high a price. "I'm afraid its going to cost me my business." Said Ronnie Rondeau who owns eight Game Buzz stores in Montreal. "If it really was going to make a difference, I'd be for it, but only a small number of people want to play in French."

Danielle Parr, head of the Entertainment Software Association of Canada admitted that French language games (designed for release in France) are likely not to make it to the Province. And with Quebec's relatively small gaming market, the general consensus is that some games will never be released there as the sector of the market demanding French subtitles is actually quite small.

Do you feel for gamers in Quebec? Let your thoughts be heard in the forums.

Update: In response to some emails about this, we'd like to quickly clarify that this only effects games that are available elsewhere in the world in French, exempting some smaller publishers who only create games in one language. If a French localisation is available elsewhere in the world then this agreement between the ESAC and Quebec government demands that French subtitles must be included with the game, but not if no French localisation is available elsewhere in the world.
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