The European Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) unanimously adopted a resolution proposing the EU develop a long-term gaming strategy.
This law could fundamentally change the future of the video game and e-sports industries on the “black continent”. CULT is asking the broader European Parliament to increase the amount of video game production in Europe through more funding. In 2022, the Creative Europe program allocated 6 million euros to fund the game’s production, but CULT said this amount was not enough.
It is unclear whether the EU will consider tax breaks in exchange for companies creating or expanding gaming companies in the territory. Other countries such as Australia and Canada sponsor these incentives. However, it is clear that if the EU does not make itself more engaged with game companies, it will be difficult for those companies to thrive.
Similarly, CULT believes that the European game industry has been struggling with a shortage of manpower. They find this particularly problematic because the game industry relies on innovation. In order to develop talent for both the game industry and Europe in general the resolution emphasized that video games should be properly taught.
On an economic level, COVID has shown members of the European Parliament (MEP) the value of the video game industry. It is the only cultural and creative industry in Europe to thrive in times of crisis. This resilience and high potential for growth and innovation is why MEPs are arguing for more government support and oversight of the sector. In an uncertain global economy, MEPs are turning to video games to increase EU employment, GDP and cultural footprint.
Video games as soft power. CULT’s MEPs including France’s committee rapporteur Laurence Farreng emphasized that both video games and e-sports have the potential to “contribute to the EU’s soft power”.
The resolution supported a number of initiatives aimed at preserving, presenting and promoting European values, history and diversity. Some of these include the establishment of the European Video Game Observatory to provide coordinated data and recommendations to decision-makers, an archive to preserve games of cultural significance. European Video Games to help consumers support the European Union.
For years, esports has struggled with whether or not to define itself as a sport. The resolution will settle the argument on the continent that eSports will not be regulated as sport by the EU. MEPs point to the digital component of e-sports and the underlying commercial interests of publishers as distinguishing factors from sports. This could benefit IP owners, who will retain more control over their e-sports products than if they were regulated like sports.
Despite this difference, regulations are still being applied to the European esports industry. The resolution calls for the development of a framework that governs the employment of professional players, requires a new visa category for professional players and continues efforts to combat doping and match-fixing. This EU effort and Saudi Arabia’s $38 billion investment plan show that governments around the world are recognizing the economic, social and cultural value of the video game industry.
The full European Parliament will vote on the CULT resolution in a small session in November 2022.