Canada Likes Video Games

Hello everyone! I had a 7:30AM final this morning… who schedules that on a Saturday!? So yeah, I’m a bit fried today. Let’s see if I still have enough brain function to write an article.

I was doing some research this week for The College Gamers Podcast and I noticed that two game developers, the Internets sweetheart Bethesda and Gearbox of Borderlands fame, have both opened new game studios in Canada?

Why Canada? I doubt game devs specifically love maple syrup and Canadian bacon THAT much.

So I did some digging and what I found was pretty interesting and I’m slightly jealous of Canada.

Mike, is there REALLY a large number of video game studios in Canada?

Would I lie to you dear reader? Yes. There is.

Before I dig into why Canada seems to be a popular spot for game developers lets talk about who is there already.

I’ll name a few that I recognize… here we go:

BioWare, CapCom, EA has THREE studios, RockStar has two studios, Disney and Warner Brothers both have studios, and Ubisoft has FOUR studios!

That’s just to name a few. In fact, Canada has a website dedicated to Canadian indie developers and there is a LOT of them!

On top of that Bethesda has announced that they are opening a new studio with a core team of 40 devs! (I’m hoping it’s an Elder Scrolls 6 team.)

While Gearbox’s website shows 16 open positions in their new Quebec studio! No word of the full team size.

Canada is one of the biggest video game industries in the world if not the fastest growing. Having over 329 game companies who employ over 16,500 people. For comparison, the United States has about 680 gaming companies but it is still nothing to sneeze at.

Okay Mike. I get it. So why is Canada so popular for game developers?

Canada has several incentives and support programs for game development start ups.

Ontario is one of the more popular cities to start a game company. In fact, through the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC), game companies get back 35% to 40% of money the invest in devs, artists, and even marketing cost. Through the Interactive Digital Media (IDM) fund, the OMDC supports new game studios by providing grants that give new studios $150,000 that can cover up to 50% of development costs. That’s a sweet deal!

Would I build a new computer if someone offered to cover up to 50% of the cost? Hell yeah I would!

But wait, there’s more! Everything I’ve talked about up until now has only been though the city of Ontario. The Canadian federal government also gives incentives and support to game studios! Gosh Canada, i’m starting to really love you…

The Canadian government has the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) and the Science Research and Experimental Development Tax Incentive Program (SR&ED) who both offer new tech companies $50,000 to $5000,000 each year to supplement development costs. You have to admit, that’s a pretty sweet deal!

Canada also gives Quebec game studios a tax credit of 37.5% percent.

Forty percent of game companies within Canada are projecting a growth of at least 25% in the next two years.

So, it comes down to money huh?

The monetary incentives are a strong magnet for people. However, they are not the only reason why people like Canada so much.

Canada has several world famous engineering programs for several Universities including Toronto, Waterloo, Queens University and many more. Sheridan College is thought of as one of the top animation schools in the world!

So yeah, Canadians got the skills to pay the pills as the kids say.

Well, I think that covers everything?

You can find me every weekend behind my microphone on The College Gamers Podcast! Check it out sometime!

Feedback? Email us at collegegamersshow@gmail.com

Later people!

~Mike

Bethesda’s new studio

New Gearbox Studio

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