The French government has set aside €4 million (AUD$6.95 million) this year to fund the development of video games to try to boost its standing in the world gaming industry.
French companies have until Sept. 1 to submit proposals for games under development, which will be judged for innovation, commercial viability and other criteria. Those selected will receive up to 40 percent of the cost of developing their games and bringing them to market, the French Ministry of Culture said in a statement.
The goal is to support an industry in which France believes it has talent but which is struggling under tough economic conditions, the ministry said. France boasts several gaming enterprises including Ubi Soft Entertainment SA, which puts out Splinter Cell, and Infogrames Entertainment SA, owner of the Atari brand.
The funding is being offered for all types of games including those played online, offline and on mobile devices. The ministry said it won't back games that depict violent characters or pornography.
The effort is being co-funded by France's National Center of Cinematography and Ministry of Industry. Grants received must be repaid within a year of when a company signs a publishing contract for its game. Recipients whose games don't reach publication can apply to be excluded from repayment, the ministry said.