Other Articles

Playstation News, Articles, Reviews and Cheats

Sony, Nintendo comply with French language charter

Round one goes to the Quebec government in its bid to have all video games sold in the province feature French packaging, manuals and warranties.

Last year, the Quebec government threatened to pull Sony and Nintendo video games off the shelves for failing to comply with the Charter of the French Language, which stipulates all gaming products must be packaged in French as well as include French warranties and instructions. As of January 1, all Sony and Nintendo video games sold in Quebec were to come with French language manuals and warranties.

"Madame Beaudoin is actually happy with this step," said Martin Roy, press secretary for Louise Beaudoin, Quebec minister responsible for the Charter of the French Language. "The first step is the warranties and the instructions. We considered it not normal for the parents to always explain to their children what it (the game) was all about."

According to Roy, there are still two more steps to go. "We're confident that, based on the experience that we had, that they will accept to work with us on these issues," said Roy, referring to the Charter, which states that the game contents must also be in French. For instance, Sony and Nintendo provide France with French games and packaging.

Distributors such as Beamscope Canada Inc. are also greatly affected by Quebec's laws as well as Sony and Nintendo's recent concessions. However, Beamscope's ability to comply to the Charter is said to be more difficult than that of Sony or Nintendo.

According to Harvey Knightingale, executive director for the Canadian Interactive Digital Software Association (CIDSA), which is representing Beamscope, Sony and Nintendo, third-party distributors are faced with licensing agreements, which they are now going to have to renegotiate. These agreements, more often than not, stipulate packages cannot be broken open for any reason. These products are also manufactured elsewhere, which means French language packing could be costly and difficult, said Knightingale.

These groups have until April 1 to submit a compliance proposal to the Quebec government.

This also marks the deadline for Sony and Nintendo to provide Beaudoin's office with proposals regarding the games' packaging as well as providing the province with French games.

"What we're trying to do, and they are as well, is (have) a very cordial type of negotiation where we're all trying to find a solution that meets the basic elements of the legislation without putting us out of business," said Knightingale.

Although Sega has not been a part of the initial discussions, Roy said the Quebec government is in the process of approaching the company about its failure to comply with the Charter.

"(Of) the (original) complaints we had at the commission, 400 complaints were concerning Sony and Nintendo mostly I don't say that there weren't any on Sega, but Nintendo and Sony have 75 per cent of the market," continued Roy "Based on equity, we'll not accept that Sega is not complying to what Sony and Nintendo do. Sega will be approached."