Quebec’s Controversial Video Game Language Laws

A recent law passed in Quebec forbids the sale of English only games if a French translation exists or will be released at some point.

Not many games are officially translated into French (or many other languages) and I doubt that gamers will want to wait for them as many games are released in English long before they are translated.

This could be the end of the road for games shops in Quebec as gamers turn to the internet to snap up the latest releases. The goal of the new law is to protect and promote the French language. It will be even harder for local game stores to compete with the internet giants such as which these laws can’t touch.

More and more companies are starting to release translated games, especially for consoles such as the Nintendo DS as many of the games have high text content unlike action games on the Sony Playstation 3 and X-box 360 for example. Although the process of translating a whole game into a different language can be expensive and after translation it must then be thoroughly tested again as code may need to be changed in line with the new text for the game to work correctly.

Games should be available in your choice of language and a professional translation company can help game companies achieve this within budget and on time.

Unfortunately for Canadian games shops the new law is bad news and it won’t be long until these small time stores die a sad and painful death and the internet giants take over.

3 replies
  1. mark
    mark says:

    I think you didn’t read the text. The law says that IF a French version of the game exists somewhere else in the world (i.e. France), it HAS to be offered at the same time as the English version in Quebec. Seems like common sense to me, given that 90% of Quebeckers are French speakers…

    • Carolyn
      Carolyn says:

      The point is that most games will NEVER be translated into French due to misconceptions about the cost and difficulty. I agree offering the game in another language is a GREAT idea!!!!! but from what I understand from the article in the Toronto Star games will only be available in French… sorry if I have got this wrong.

      My main point was game stores are struggling it is hard to keep up with the internet giants such as Amazon and this will just make things harder. Entertainment should of course be available in your first language but if you are a true gamer you will buy the game in English a good year before the translated version comes out….

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    Bella Chime says:

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