This initiative was promoted by local IT companies, Mail.ru Group and Yandex. Its main goal is to support games that popularize Russian history and culture. However, some industry experts are against it.
Politics and business newspaper Kommersant reported the news on April 23. The initiative has been included in the latest revision of the second package of measures to support the local IT industry.
Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Culture, and Ministry of Digital Development should submit their proposals for the creation of this fund by November. The latter department said that Russian IT companies pitched this idea to the government. According to Kommersant, it was promoted by Mail.ru Group and Yandex, one of the country’s biggest companies.
It’s still unknown how the fund will select games. One of the sources noted that the mechanism is now “being worked out.” Experts compare this initiative with the Russian Cinema Foundation, which funds the production of local films on a return basis.
Some industry experts are skeptical about the whole idea. They claim that the Russian games industry doesn’t need to be funded by the government. Others are also afraid that this fund could be used as an instrument of propaganda.
WN Media Group CEO Pavel Räikkönen notes that there are problems that should be solved first, like the amount of VAT that developers should pay for buying ads on foreign platforms. “The cost of attracting a foreign audience is increased by this VAT, and the Russian jurisdiction, unlike some others, has no mechanism to avoid paying this tax,” he said.
The idea of creating the fund was first reported last month. It was supposed to support creators of online content, including TV series and video games. However, the new document only mentions games.