Support Fund for Videogames

The Support Fund for Videogames (FAJV) supports creation and innovation in the videogame sector. Co-funded by the French Ministry for Industry, the Economy, and the Digital Sector, and by the Centre National du Cinéma et de l'Image Animée (CNC), it is managed by the CNC. The FAJV selective aids are intended to support development companies at the stage when they are developing and making a videogame prototype or during the production phase. The fund may also support trade events.

 

Two main aids:
 

A. aid for intellectual property creation

The aid for intellectual property creation is a selective aid helping development studios take risks during the videogame production phase by supporting cultural content production. The idea is to facilitate new creations and to encourage companies to create heritage value through the videogames they produce, by keeping the intellectual property rights.
 
Eligible companies
The aid is intended for commercial companies located in France and that are not controlled, in the sense of Article L.233-3 of the Code du Commerce (French Commercial Code), by extra-European capital. Their presidents, CEOs, or managers and the majority of their directors must be French nationals or nationals of a European State, or holders of residents cards in France.

The videogame development company undertakes:
  • to comply with the social (welfare) legislation;
  • to be up to date with honoring its obligations to social protection (welfare) bodies;
  • to start developing the videogame within 3 months after the date of the decision by the commission.
 
Eligible projects

Eligible projects are projects for which the company:
  • takes responsibility for producing and making the videogame. It must take (or share jointly and severally with another company) the initiative and the financial, technical and artistic responsibility for developing and making the videogame, and guarantee proper performance thereof;
  • is full owner of the property rights: tangible items and intellectual property, up to the first version of the videogame that is accessible to the public, notwithstanding any contracts for assigning rights of use/exploitation of the videogame to a publisher or to a distributor. The company may not therefore assign ownership of the videogame during the production phase and up to the first time it is put on the market.
Projects based on commissioning or service contracts are not eligible insofar as the commissioning party or principal holds the intellectual property rights.

The project must also:
  • relate to making a videogame that is made available to the public (off-line or on-line);
  • not have the majority of its funding through public funds;
  • not have obtained an aid for pre-production.
 
Eligible expenses
For calculating the amount of the aid, the following expenses are taken into account, dedicated directly to developing (creating) the videogame:
  • financial consideration for the authors/designers;
  • pay for staff (artistic team, development and programming team, and production team);
  • subcontracting expenses;
  • capital allowance for amortization and fixed assets related to the videogame;
  • overheads (with a ceiling of 10% of the budget).
 
Nature of the aid
The aid is awarded in the form of a subsidy. It has a ceiling of 50% of the cost of the project and it may not exceed 200,000 euros pursuant to the “de minimis” aid system[1].
The aid is valid for one year as from the award decision.
The agreement between the beneficiary and the CNC must be signed within that time limit.

Implementation procedure
The aid awarded shall be the subject of an agreement entered into between the CNC and the beneficiary company. That agreement shall stipulate the rights and obligations of the company. The aid is paid in two tranches: 75% on signing of the agreement, and 25% at the end of the production of the videogame.

The time limit for making the videogame is a maximum of 24 months as from signing of the agreement.

If the company does not finish the videogame for which it obtained the aid, it is bound to reimburse all of the sums paid.

 

B. aid for videogame pre-production

This aid is intended to give videogame development studios financial support for R&D and innovation during the pre-production phase of the videogame, with a view to producing a non-marketable prototype. 

It is intended to support research work on the components necessary for putting a videogame in place, and to identify all of the technical constraints to be overcome in order to reach the development phase. In this respect, it can be deemed to be for supporting experimental development.

Eligible companies
The aid is intended for commercial companies located in France and that are not controlled, in the sense of Article L.233-3 of the Code du Commerce, by extra-European capital. Their presidents, CEOs, or managers and the majority of their directors must be French nationals or nationals of a European State, or holders of residents cards in France. 

The videogame development company undertakes:
  • to comply with the social (welfare) legislation;
  • to be up to date with honoring its obligations to social protection (welfare) bodies;
  • to start developing the prototype within 3 months after the date of the decision by the commission.

Eligible projects
The only projects that are eligible for the videogame pre-production aid are R&D and innovation projects that relate to experimental development activities. The company shall be responsible for the pre-production of the videogame. It must take (or share jointly and severally with another company) the initiative and the financial, technical and artistic responsibility for developing and making the prototype of the videogame, and guarantee proper performance of it. 

The project shall have the following characteristics:
  • it relates to making a videogame prototype (off-line or on-line):
  • it does not have the majority of its funding through public funds;
  • it has not obtained an aid for intellectual property creation.

Eligible expenses
For calculating the amount of the aid, the following are taken into account:
  • the salaries and welfare contributions for staff assigned to pre-production, and in particular the salaries and welfare contributions related to the work and spending on R&D and innovation, and the financial considerations paid to the authors/designers.
  • the costs of the instruments and equipment insofar as and as long as they are used for the pre-production. If such instruments and such equipment are not used for their entire life spans for the project, only the capital allowance for amortization corresponding to the duration of the project shall be taken into account, calculated in time-apportioned manner based on the time for which they are actually used;
  • the costs of the buildings, land, and equipment insofar as and as long as they are used for the pre-production. For buildings, only the capital allowance for amortization that corresponds to the duration of the project shall be taken into account, calculated in time-apportioned manner based on the time for which they are actually used. For land, only the commercial sale costs or the investment costs actually incurred are taken into account;
  • the costs of consultancy and equivalent services used exclusively for the pre-production, including research, technical knowledge, and patents purchased or licensed from sources external to the company;
  • the additional overheads borne directly by the company due to the R&D and innovation work related to the project;
  • the other operating costs, including the costs of materials, supplies and similar products that are borne directly by the company due to the R&D and innovation work related to the project.
 
Nature of the aid
The amount of the aid is subject to a ceiling of 25% of the R&D spending, understood to be all of the pre-production expenses for the videogame up to making a non-marketable prototype. SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) enjoy an aid ceiling that is raised to 35%.
50% of the aid is awarded in the form an advance to be paid back. The aid is valid for one year as from the award decision. 
The agreement between the beneficiary and the CNS must be signed within that time limit.

Implementation procedure
The aid awarded shall be the subject of an agreement entered into between the CNC and the beneficiary company. That agreement shall stipulate the rights and obligations of the company. The time limit for making the prototype is 12 months as from signing of the agreement. The aid is paid in two tranches: 75% on signing of the agreement, and 25% when the playable prototype is finalized.
Paying back the advance shall begin 30 days after signing of the agreement and shall take place in three-monthly installments specified in the agreement. It shall continue until 50% of the amount of the aid has been paid back. 

If the company does not finish the prototype for which it obtained the aid, it is bound to reimburse all of the sums paid.
 
Project selection procedure
For examining the aid applications, the President of the CNC calls upon a commission of experts. That commission is made up of thirteen members, including a Chairperson, appointed by the CNC, and by the French Ministry for the Economy, Industry, and the Digital Sector. A quorum of 7 members is required for the commission to be able to deliberate validly. Decisions are adopted by a majority of the votes cast. If the voting is equal, the Chairperson shall have a casting vote.
The aids are granted by the President of the CNC, after hearing the opinion of the commission of experts, and after approval by the French Ministry for the Economy, Industry, and the Digital Sector. 

Code of professional conduct

Whenever a member of the commission is concerned personally, directly or indirectly, by an application on the agenda, that member shall so inform the Chairperson, who shall ask the member to leave the room while the application is being debated and examined. On the member’s return, he or she shall refrain from making any reference to the application. 


The members of the commission are bound to comply with a confidentiality obligation whereby they keep all of the information of which they become aware during their term of office confidential. More precisely, the required confidentiality applies to: all of the information contained in the aid applications, all of the debates and deliberations of the sessions of the commission, and all of the amounts proposed as a result of the sessions. 

Where applicable, a member of the commission who has been contacted directly by an applicant shall inform the commission of that contact at the time at which the application is being examined.

Assessment criteria
  • originality and consistency of the project and its contribution to creation diversity;
  • originality and quality of the game design and of the gameplay;
  • originality and quality of the graphics and sound;
  • financial and technical capacity of the company to see the project through to a successful conclusion;
  • commercial potential of the project.


[1] Pursuant to EU Regulation No. 1407/2013 on the application of Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to de minimis aid, aids for which the total amount paid over three fiscal (tax) years does not exceed the ceiling of 200,000 euros may be implemented without having to notify them to the European Commission.