What does the French election mean for the games industry in France?
Francois Hollande beat Nicolas Sarkozy on May 6, 2012 to become France’s President. Hollande is a Socialist. The only other French Socialist president I can think of in recent times was François Mitterrand. So what does this mean for France’s games industry? Well – let’s think about what Hollande represents. Hollande represents making the retirement age younger, increased vacation time, and lowering the number of hours one has to work. On first blush, you are all thinking this sounds great – I am moving to France! Also, how perfect is the timing? This allows you to spend even more time playing DiabloIII.
Now when you sit back and think about this, it is not nearly as great as it seems. I have know some amazing developers from France. If you work in games it does not matter where you were born, or where you currently live. The single truth is that you work very hard. When you are in a crunch, all you do is work. Since your job is probably highly technical and/or specialized, you get paid well compared with the rest of the population.
The French and Greek elections have all but screamed austerity be damned. Somebody is going to have to pay for all of this new found free time for French citizens in the form of taxes. Well, congratulations, you are now the one who is going to foot the bill. Why you ask? Well, the people earning the most will now be taxed at 75%, and that is not going to make up the gap. Where does the rest come from?
The best and brightest are not going to want to work for the government for up to three quarters of the year, and themselves for a quarter. Even those at lower tax levels are not going to put up with higher taxation, so they will move. If you make a killer game, you should be rewarded for your efforts. Boarders in the Eurozone are quite fluid, so neighboring countries benefit by gaining talented artists, programmers and designers. France loses because game entrepreneurs will be exiled to neighboring countries where they can profit from their efforts. Thoughts?