Quebec Cracks Down on English-Language Video Games

Video games only in English? Non!

That's how it is in Quebec as of April 1, when new rules went into effect prohibiting stores from selling English-language video games if French-language versions are available somewhere in the world but not also on the same store's shelves.

"I'm afraid it's going to cost me my business," game-store owner Ronnie Rondeau told the Toronto Star. "If it really was going to make a difference, I'd be for it, but only a small number of people want to play in French. The rest don't care. And money-wise, it's going to hurt."

Most big video-game titles — for example, the "Halo" or "Grand Theft Auto" series — are usually published in several languages, with different editions going to different countries, including France.

However, Europe uses a different video format than North America does, so there can be a delay in porting the French version over to the North American standard.

It's during that gap that an English-language game can be sold in neighboring states and provinces, such as Ontario, New York or New Brunswick, but not in Quebec.

"Why am I going to wait for five more months when the next big game is right there in [the New York border town of] Plattsburg?" asked one Quebecker gamer in the Star.

Smaller, more obscure titles that don't get French editions can be sold legally in English (or Japanese). But if the publisher suddenly decides to put out an edition in France, Quebec retailers will have to yank it off the shelves until the French version makes it to North America.

• Click here to read more in the Toronto Star.

• Click here to read an official explanation of the video-game language rules (in French).

• Click here to visit's Video Gaming Center.