Edited by Christoph Beat Graber and Mira Burri-Nenova
Chapter 7: State Aid for Digital Games and Cultural Diversity: A Critical Reflection in the Light of EU and WTO Law
7. State aid for digital games and cultural diversity: a critical reflection in the light of EU and WTO law Christoph Beat Graber* INTRODUCTION Digital games are fascinating and are rapidly becoming a major attraction for a new generation of media consumers. This is a phenomenon that public service broadcasters have also noticed. In order to tie young audiences to their programmes they are expanding into the world of interactive online games. An example is Ski Challenge 08, an interactive online game which allows the player to virtually hit the slopes of the five most spectacular downhill races of the Ski World Cup.1 The game was offered by SRG and ORF, i.e. the Swiss and the Austrian public service broadcasters. It was presented by the broadcasters and their sponsors on independent webpages,2 but the broadcasters placed advertisements for the game in their official webpages.3 For the 2008 * The author would like to thank Mira Burri-Nenova, Aphra Kerr and Sacha Wunsch-Vincent for comments on an earlier draft of this chapter, Aleksandar Rusev and Thomas Steiner for research assistance and Susan Kaplan for editorial assistance. The support of the Ecoscientia Foundation is gratefully acknowledged. 1 See ‘1000 Stürze im fiesen Brüggli-S’, Tages-Anzeiger, 9 January 2008. 2 Gamers in Switzerland and Austria registered with their national broadcaster in order to be allowed to participate online in a multiplayer competition on a national and international level. Lists on the broadcaster’s webpages showed the best performances and indicated with a national flag...
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