Quebec enforces bilingual game law

Canadian province puts into effect decade-old measure prohibiting sale of English-only games when French version is available.


Rock Band
Rock Band: Track Pack - Volume 1
Rock Band 2

In the past, governments have tried to ban games for being too violent or too sexy, but now the Canadian province of Quebec is coming down on games for being too English. As reported by The Toronto Star, new rules take effect this week that prohibit the sale of English-only games in Quebec when there's a French version available.

Anglais? Non!
Anglais? Non!

One Quebecois retailer told the paper that the move could put him out of business, as gamers wanting the latest titles on day one would rather buy online or from another province than wait for a French edition of a game to arrive. He cited Rock Band as a game that would have been impacted by the law, saying that only the English version made it out in time for the 2007 Christmas rush, with a French version lagging six weeks behind.

While the law went into effect April 1, it has been on the books for more than a decade. Quebec actually added the game restriction to its Charter of the French Language in 1997 but chose not to enforce it.

While French and English are shared as the official languages of Canada, Quebec claims French as its proper tongue. To enforce the use of its official language, the province has the Office Quebecois de la Langue Francaise. According to the Office's charter, its duty is to ensure "that French is the normal and everyday language of work, communication, commerce and business in the civil administration and in enterprises. The Office may, among other things, take any appropriate measure to promote French."

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