It’s no secret that Canada’s gaming industry is one of the most influential forces in the global gaming market. With hundreds of new startups cropping up across the country in the last few years alone, should you be considering setting up shop here? Here are 13 reasons why Canada is the best place for gaming startups to make their mark.
13. An abundance of highly skilled talent.
Canada is home to many world-renowned engineering programs, including University of Toronto, Queens University, McGill University, and University of Waterloo. Animation talent is also well-fostered here, with Sheridan College being recognized as one of the top schools in the world in this field.
12. Tax incentives for startups.
Many government programs are in place to assist new startup companies. In Ontario, for example, 35-40 percent of funds invested on developers, artists, and marketing costs—a huge number in terms of the gaming industry—is given back to companies from Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC).
11. Grants for interactive media.
The OMDC created the Interactive Digital Media fund, which grants up to $150,000 up to 50 percent of a project’s budget. In 2014 over 23 companies received this grant to produce a game.
10. Grants for innovative tech companies.
The Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) and the Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Incentive Program (SR&ED) offer grants ranging from $50,000 to over $500,000 to assist with developmental costs for innovative tech companies.
9. Rapid industry growth.
143 new companies emerged in the Canadian gaming scene in the last two years alone, representing a growth factor of over 25 percent. Analysts are predicting 40 percent of Canadian gaming companies will grow by another 25 percent in terms of employment levels over the next two years.
8. Reasonable immigration policies.
It is relatively easy to obtain a Canadian citizenship, with immigration policies expected to become even more lax over the coming years. A third of temporary foreign workers in the video game industry end up becoming residents, with a further eight percent earning their full Canadian citizenship later on.
7. A friendly, pleasant community.
Canadians are famous for their easy-going cordiality. The people in its tech sector are no different, constantly fostering a sense of community in the midst of friendly competition.
6. An ongoing track record of best-selling titles.
Some of the most popular game series in the past decade, including Assassin’s Creed and FIFA Soccer were made in Canada. It is one of the most successful video game industries in the world for good reason.
5. A large, diverse industry.
Canada has the third-largest video game industry in the world. There are currently 472 video game companies operating in Canada, employing over 20,000 people. 72 percent of these hires are recruited locally, while 28 percent are hired abroad. Most of these companies are split evenly among three provinces: Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia.
4. A rising mobile sector.
While 84 percent of project expenditures across the industry are based on multi-million-dollar console titles, revenue has significantly been rising for companies developing titles for mobile platforms. Many of these are start-up companies, as budgets are only about $500,000 per project.
3. A country of gamers.
19 million people in Canada play video games. That’s over half of the entire population. There is virtually no significant difference between the ratio of male to females, and the average age of the Canadian gamer is 33 years.
2. As big as film and TV.
The industry is quickly catching up to film and TV production in terms of its contribution to the Canadian economy. According to the Entertainment Software Association of Canada spent $2.36 billion in production in 2014, compared to the $2.67 billion spent on film production the same year.
1. It’s Canada!
If the booming video game industry still has you on the fence, just take a look around. The air is clean, the views are beautiful, and the culture is amazing. Living in any of the three major gaming towns—Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver—will expose you to great food, art and entertainment. What’s not to like?
The last few years have shown nothing but promise for the Canadian gaming industry, and analysts are predicting that these patterns aren’t likely to be slowing down any time soon.
Small developers are starting to compete with larger firms, with creativity and innovation being thoroughly rewarded in the wake of the new competition. It may just be a good idea to head up here sooner rather than later, while the action is still hot.