Legal aspects of the video game industry


The video game development sector has grown rapidly in recent years. With the spread of smartphones, new business models, and distribution platforms, the market for video games has taken off, becoming a key sector of the creative industry. Its growth stirs the imagination and appetite not only of game producers and publishers, but also of the biggest companies in sectors like IT and film, who are increasingly oriented toward the game market. It is also a promising field for investors, particularly from Asia. The industry’s growth has not even been slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic. To the contrary, the industry has taken advantage of this time to reinforce its position and achieve new growth.

The competitiveness of the video game market is also growing, and smaller producers and publishers must compete with global giants. This is not discouraging Polish producers and publishers. In addition to the largest studios, smaller but equally ambitious ones continue to spring up in Poland, with backing from various programmes and accelerators.

The picture of the Polish game industry is diverse and hard to summarise, but it can certainly be said that its value is growing year on year, as is the quality of native productions. In the upcoming years, Poland has a chance to become the biggest centre for production of video games in Central & Eastern Europe.

We are aware that the video game industry is struggling with various legal issues peculiar to the sector. We plan to devote a series of articles on the game development industry to some of these legal issues. We will address issues of intellectual property law, employment law, tax law, and also less-obvious regulatory aspects. In the first article we discuss whether video games can copy items from the real world, such as tanks from the Second World War.

The articles will be published on the In Principle portal and the newtech.law blog. The next article will come out in one week.

Jakub Barański, Monika A. Górska, Lena Marcinoska, Krzysztof Wojdyło