The National Library has decided that any video game that produces the Spanish industry of the sector has as much right to its conservation and consultation as any of the books published by the publishing industry, than to the saga of the classic Commandos, for example, the same letter of respect is granted as to the complete works of Mario Vargas Llosa. It is one of the decisions that have been taken at the meeting held on Tuesday at the BNE with representatives of the national video game. “We have about 600 titles in deposit, but the novelty of this support and the fact that the Law on Legal Deposit, of 2011, did not name them, have motivated us not to have all the information. The National Library of France has about 18,000, ”BNE director Ana Santos told EL PAÍS by phone.
“Precisely, we have proposed to the Ministry of Culture a reform of the legislation so that video game producers are clear that they must deposit them in the BNE,” Santos added.
To demand this collaboration, Santos has met with the Spanish Association of Video Games (AEVI), the Association of Users of Classical Computing (AUIC) and the Spanish Association of Companies Producing and Developing Video Games and Entertainment Software (DEV), with the presence from a representative of the Ministry of Culture, which coordinates the Video Game Board. These associations have pledged to deposit from now on the BNE any game that they bring to the market. The way in which this collaboration will be articulated will be fixed in an upcoming “agreement” of collaboration, says the BNE.
Until that moment, the first task is to “identify” all the titles published so far in Spain, to determine which are already deposited in the BNE and which must be added to this list. For this, the associations of the sector will offer their databases to the BNE. “Many are digital formats, not just physical, and both need different console models to access them,” Santos said. For this, the associations have offered their collaboration for “the acquisition of equipment that allows the reproduction of current or past video games”. This does not mean that the BNE will become a space for the enjoyment of video games. “They will be available, as in the rest of the collections, for consultation and research. There are already many theses about what the videogame means, especially regarding the sociological impact. ”
This Tuesday’s meeting may serve to overcome the debate about whether video games are culture or mere entertainment. “We are aware that it is a cultural heritage,” Santos ditch. “The video game generates creation and culture and the National Library must preserve all those supports that generate it.” Also those who may have contents of extreme violence or sexism? “Of everything we receive we do not discriminate because it is what is published. Even that kind of materials can be a subject of study for researchers, ”he adds.
Special mention should be given to the data of this industry, which shows its strength. The BNE statement notes that “the videogame is the cultural industry with the best prospects for global growth and qualified job creation.” Thus, in Spain, there are 455 companies dedicated to the development and production of video games and in 2018 the national turnover of the sector exceeded 1,500 million euros, 23% more than in 2017, according to data from the last Yearbook of the AEVI. The numbers place Spain as the ninth world power in consumption, with a user community that exceeds 16 million. As for direct employment, the White Paper on Spanish videogame development, promoted by the DEV, points out that in 2017 there were 6,337 professionals, 16.5% more than in the previous year.