Why France Just Banned Esports, Streaming And Other Popular English Gaming Terms

eiffel tower france
Parlez-vous anglais? Not among French government workers. France has banned certain English gaming terms such as “esports” and “streaming” among government officials. The changes have been published in the French government journal and therefore apply to all government workers.

Why has the French government banned these seemingly harmless English terms? French officials contended that English gaming terminology could create a “barrier to understanding” for those uninterested or unknowledgeable in gaming. There may also be another motive for altering the words. Organizations such as the l'Académie française have insisted in the past that common English terms are leading to the “degradation” of French language and culture. However, l'Académie française and other institutions are hopeful they can create a “veritable linguistic revolution” and get rid of English lingo altogether. They argue that French is a “living and dynamic language.”

The French government worked alongside the Ministry of Culture to make recommendations that would be more self-explanatory. What terms should government officials use now? According to The Guardian, a streamer will now be referred to as “joueur-animateur en direct,” while cloud gaming will be called “jeu video en nuage.” Esports will simply be called “jeu video de competition” and pro-gamers “joueur professionnel.”

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This is not the first time the French government has attempted to eliminate English words from everyday use. Most of their ventures have been unsuccessful. For example, the government tried to replace “le wifi” with “l’access sans fil à internet,” but the new term never caught on. Many therefore suspect that the government’s current attempt to curb English gaming terms will also be a failure, especially as so many of the suggested terms are wordier than the words or phrases currently in use.

The French video game industry is one of the largest in Europe. It is estimated that there are over 36 million gamers and over 300 video game companies that employ more than 5,000 people in France. The industry made over €5.65 billion in 2021 ($6.05 billion USD), a 40% increase from the previous year. It is believed that the industry will continue to rapidly grow and many gaming terms are therefore likely both quite common and necessary in France.