By the decision of the Polish government, as of next school year (2020/2021), the canon of optional school reading will be supplemented with a new unusual item – the video game “This War of Mine” by 11 bit studios. This is a pilot action which, if successful, will allow for the inclusion of more game titles in the programme.
Government pilot programme: video games in the canon of school reading
The Prime Minister’s Office has announced the inclusion of the 11 bit studios video game “This War of Mine” in the canon of Polish optional school reading. This is the beginning of an innovative pilot program on a global scale, which, as it grows, is to cover subsequent productions of Polish GameDev, but it is possible that foreign titles will also be included. The program will also include the provision of appropriate infrastructure to allow schools free access to selected games.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki comments that the introduction of games to the canon of Polish reading will allow young Poles to deepen their knowledge established in the productions of the gaming industry.
“By including games in the education system, we will broaden our imagination and bring something new to culture – not only Polish, but also to the whole world,” says the Prime Minister.
The game “This War of Mine” itself tells the story of the city during the war from the perspective of civilians struggling with the difficulties of reality.
“This War of Mine will be added to the list of school reading for secondary school students from next school year (2020/2021). The game will be a reading for adults only. The game released in 2014 is one of the most famous titles of the 11 bit studios in Krakow, whose monetization has so far remained at a high level.
Polish gaming industry is growing in strength
The gaming industry is one of the fastest growing areas in the Polish entertainment industry. At the same time, its strength on the international arena is growing. Apart from its traditional understanding of selling video games and their use by a multitude of players, it has other dimensions. Particular attention should be paid to the stock market valuation of the largest Polish gaming companies, which at present already exceeds PLN 40bn. Within a few months it grew by over PLN 10bn. The revenues of Polish gaming companies listed on the WSE alone (including Techland) are much lower and amount to PLN 1bn. Nearly all revenues, as 97% is allocated to foreign markets.
The largest Polish video game developer is CD Projekt, with a capitalization of PLN 39.2bn. The aforementioned 11-bit studios is also a listed company from the main floor, and its value is PLN 1.3bn.
Government support and promotion of Polish GameDev
It can be considered that the pilot programme gradually introducing new games to the canon of Polish reading is an action of the Polish government aimed also at promoting the domestic gaming industry. Since 2016, the GameINN sector programme has also been operating to subsidise the gaming industry with EU funds (the budget is about PLN 500m). Its aim is to increase the competitiveness of the domestic sector of video game producers on the global market in the perspective until 2023. The government is also working on a draft law assuming tax breaks for video game producers. The main condition for applying for the tax credit is to present projects that make use of Polish or European cultural heritage and are culturally creative or innovative.