According to Mehr News, this year’s budget bill in the field of ICT, includes 10% import duty for non-Iranian or foreign video games. Mahdi Faghihi, the head of Information Technology Development, Communication and Cyberspace headquarters says: “Although this clause of the bill had lots of opposing members and many believe that it will harm domestic businesses and will lead the users to purchase video games from foreign app stores, the Compilation Commission approved it, and so from the New Year this decision will be put to action.
Ever since this controversial suggestion was proposed, different and often opposing perspectives were reflected in its efficiency. According to Donya-e-Eghtesad, which had a number of interviews with important and involved figures in this matter such as the CEO of Iran Computer and Video Games Foundation and Public Relations Manager of Café Bazaar, different outcomes of this law in several aspects were expressed.
The first issue raised by most Iranian app stores was that this 10% will cause the games’ prices to go higher leading users to easily switch to official or non-official foreign stores in order to get their games. Also some of the Iranian game distributors sign official contracts for importing and presenting the games officially. This leads to transferring the knowledge for making video games inside the country.
In response Hassan Karimi Ghodoosi, the CEO of Iran Computer and Video Games Foundation stated that: “the import duties are only 10%, and this amount is proposed to cause no harm neither to the consumer nor the supplier. He also mentioned that this 10% will be applied on government’s fixed exchange rates which is much lower than the markets flexible rates, thus game purchases will still be cheaper from Iranian app stores compared to official app stores like Google Play Store.
Later Karimi explained two main purposes for this 10%. He believes the important goal is the development of businesses in the country, meaning that producing should be more profitable than importing. Also the risk of production in the country at the moment is very high, and with this situation, domestic investors will move towards importing foreign games. The second purpose that Karimi mentioned is supporting Iranian game designers. He says that with these resources a lot could be done for supporting game designers.
In the end, Karimi pointed that the sole purpose of this Foundation is not only to provide money, rather creating an atmosphere that domestic investors would invest in local companies. In other words, the risk of domestic investment should not be higher than foreign investment.