Lobbyists from ACCORD, representing Canada’s music industry, have pushed for regulation of video games under the Online Streaming Act, but are now facing pushback from the gaming industry.

The Entertainment Software Association Canada’s (ESAC) VP of policy and government affairs Paul Fogolin told True North that the CRTC should not be seeking to regulate video games as an audio-video broadcast in the same vein as a show on television or Netflix, strongly disagreeing with ACCORD’s proposal.

Fogolin told True North that the federal government should not be in the business of submitting video game publishers and developers to broadcasting regulations.

“Video game publishers do not fit the description of broadcasters, and we disagree strongly with any suggestions that the interactive experiences offered within video games should be further and arbitrarily broken down into individual audio or audio-visual elements,” said Fogolin.

ESAC had proposed to the CRTC that “broadcasting undertakings in respect to video games.” be exempted from the proposed Online Undertakings Registration Regulations 

Fogolin expressed confidence that, ultimately, the government will not impose any regulatory requirements on video games.

“This [ESAC’s] view was shared by the overwhelming majority of stakeholders who provided input to the government on this topic. Most respondents agreed that online undertakings providing video games services should be exempt from the proposed Online Undertakings Registration Regulations,” said Fogolin.

“We agree with the Commission’s proposal to specifically exempt video games services from the Online Undertakings Registration Regulations, which is aligned with the federal government’s intention to not impose regulatory requirements on video games.”

While the CRTC’s draft regulations have excluded video games from the Commission’s purview, a spokesperson at Canada Heritage told True North that the regulations have not been finalized as consultations will continue until made public at a later date.

“The public consultation closed on July 25, 2023. Work associated with the consultation is ongoing as the Department is reviewing representations,” said the spokesperson.

“The Government’s position with respect to regulation, including regarding video games, will be made public when the finalized policy directions to the CRTC will be published in Canada Gazette, Part II.”

ACCORD has pushed the CRTC to delete paragraphs in the draft directive excluding video games from the CRTC’s purview with the justification that video games have become an important facet of broadcasting in recent years.

“Given the intersection between video games and broadcasting, and in particular the existence of live concerts in what could be interpreted as video games, it is prudent to let the CRTC determine whether obligations should apply,” reads ACCORD’s submission to the CRTC.