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Henrieta | 6. October 2022

Great times ahead for Europe’s gaming and esports?

The European esports and gaming industry might be looking forward to a boost of development as the European Union (EU) is one vote away from recognizing the cultural value of video games and esports and supporting its growth via increased funding. 

Earlier this week, the European Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) adopted a resolution that requests the wider European Parliament to vote on whether the EU should develop a long-term strategy for the gaming sector. 

What is CULT asking? 

By adopting this resolution, CULT is asking the EU Parliament to acknowledge the value of video games and esports and increase the videogame production in Europe. CULT argues that the €6 million allocated via the Creative Europe Programme to fund video game productions in 2022 is not sufficient, and calls for better funding. 

The proposal by the CULT committee also includes the call for the use of video games and esports in schools and for creating an archive of the most culturally important games. Furthermore, the resolution suggests the formation of a European Video Game Observatory to provide stakeholders and decision-makers with relevant data and the creation of a European Video Game label to help consumers support the European games industry.

Lastly, the text also highlights the importance of addressing issues such as doping and match-fixing in esports, or the ‘health risks’ posed by intensive gaming; and emphasizes the need for EU values in games and esports, including fair play, non-discrimination, solidarity and social inclusion. 

Laurence Farreng, Member of European Parliament for the Renew Europe Group, commented: 

“Although half of Europeans are gamers, the sector does not benefit from a dedicated strategy at EU level, whether it is to protect intellectual property, channel investment, or promote our know-how.

Video games and esports have great potential in terms of economy, soft power, education and intergenerational connection. Moreover, the European Union is the appropriate level to develop e-sports, with a charter, a mapping, and dedicated infrastructures.”

What does this mean for the industry? 

If the EU Parliament decides to vote in favor of the resolution, the following legislation might fundamentally change the future of the video games and esports industries on the Old continent. With a long-term strategy and better funding, the gaming and esports market is likely looking at a substantial growth and an increase in production, which translates to an increase in opportunities on all levels and a creation of a more complex ecosystem.  

Not only this would vastly increase the amount of jobs available in the industry, but the use of gaming and esports in education could build a stable pipeline of new talent and workforce. Furthermore, it could potentially bring new forms of teaching and refine approaches to education. 

While it’s not yet clear whether EU will also consider tax breaks in exchange for companies creating or moving their operations to Europe, it is certainly something that would help the region become more hospitable for game developers and esports businesses that would otherwise seek to settle in other parts of the world.

Lastly,  the resolution might finally help to settle the question of whether esports can be defined as sports and whether it can be regulated in ways similar to traditional sports.  This means a better support structure, more regional involvement, more regulations protecting players, and most importantly, better access to funding for various actors in the sector.

Header: Son Tung Tran / Pexels