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France To Subsidize Games As Art 48

The New York Times is reporting on efforts by the French culture ministry to treat videogames as art. About time. This initiative will include giving tax breaks for game development, and national recognition of game developer achievements (like the arts award received by Shigeru Miyamoto this March). From the article: "With a total of roughly 100 video game companies, France, along with Britain, has long produced more video games than the rest of Europe combined, according to the market research firm Idate, of Montpellier, France. Of late, however, the French companies have been facing tough times. Infogrames has been struggling against high debt, and an American rival, Electronic Arts, bought 19 percent of Ubisoft's shares in 2004. And Vivendi Games earns most of its revenue from one best-selling game, World of Warcraft, said Laurent Michaud, head of the video games division at Idate. 'It is true that the French video game sector is fragile,' Mr. Michaud said. 'But this is true for companies in all markets due to the quick-changing nature of industry.'"

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